Silent Cruise

Overview

"Before he dazzled American readers with his best-selling novel Stanley Park, Timothy Taylor was already acclaimed in Canada as one of the finest writers of stories working today. Silent Cruise brings us this new voice in short fiction - a voice by turns compassionate and cutting, plainspoken and subtle, but always pitch-perfect." Here are nine variations on Taylor's abiding themes of art, work, desire and loss. In the title story, a mathematical prodigy, his mind an engine for crunching probabilities, applies his genius to the logic of the ...
See more details below
Paperback (1ST US)
$17.50
BN.com price
(Save 12%)$19.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (30) from $1.99   
  • New (11) from $1.99   
  • Used (19) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

"Before he dazzled American readers with his best-selling novel Stanley Park, Timothy Taylor was already acclaimed in Canada as one of the finest writers of stories working today. Silent Cruise brings us this new voice in short fiction - a voice by turns compassionate and cutting, plainspoken and subtle, but always pitch-perfect." Here are nine variations on Taylor's abiding themes of art, work, desire and loss. In the title story, a mathematical prodigy, his mind an engine for crunching probabilities, applies his genius to the logic of the racing form and discovers the workings of chance. In "Pope's Own," a Vancouver cheese importer risks her all on a pearl of great price - a dairy farm in County Cork whose exquisite cheese has been tasted only rarely beyond the walls of the Vatican. And in "Doves of Townsend" - a story chosen by Canadian critics as the best of the year 2000 - a young antiques dealer grieving her father's suicide finds solace in a most unlikely place: a field guide to butterflies.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

John Bemrose
After Alice Munro, [Best Canadian Stories'] most impressive contributor is Timothy Taylor...There is something unique and utterly convincing about Taylor's fiction: it's muscular without being overbearing, witty without going for easy laughs. Such qualities make [him] the undisputed star of another annual collection, Coming Attractions...Taylor doesn't belong in a collection called Coming Attractions. He's already here.
Globe and Mail
Sandra Martin
This year's Journey Prize Anthology could have been retitled The Timothy Taylor Anthology since [he] contributed three of the twelve stories in the collection. [The] anthology editors...who read the stories blind...read eighty-one submissions from Canadian literary journals and then gave Taylor the $10,000 nod for the best.
Globe and Mail
Publishers Weekly
Award-winning Canadian author Taylor (Stanley Park) turns his attention to short fiction; the result is an absorbing novella and an uneven series of short stories. "NewStart 2.0" is a fascinating look at creativity and fraud in the art world that begins when painter Shane Donald meets idiosyncratic fellow student Dennis Kopak while studying at an art college. Donald goes on to become the editor of an art magazine and his quest to interview a reclusive Italian painter leads him on a labyrinthine path back to Kopak, who has become the painter's agent after a long interlude in which he developed a unique software product. While this piece deftly probes the tenuous nature of artistic success, many of the short stories don't fare as well. Taylor is an elegant craftsman, but he doesn't always link his well-drawn characters with the objects and endeavors that fascinate them: the title story is a compelling account of a dark horse that breaks the back of a gambling operation, but "Doves of Townsend" is a murky effort in which an antiques dealer focuses on a butterfly collection to keep herself together after her father's suicide. "Smoke's Fortune," meanwhile, is a brutish, gut-wrenching affair about the struggle of two men to kill a dangerous dog, while "Prayers to Buxtehude" is a graceful yarn about a man who loses his fiancee after confessing how an unrequited passion for his childhood piano teacher ended in disaster. Taylor has his share of ups and downs here, but his polished prose makes for a generally rewarding read. (Nov.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A debut collection of Canadian fiction and an early novella from the northland’s chirpy hybrid of Bret Easton Ellis and Ethan Canin. Novelist Taylor (Stanley Park, 2002) has won the Journey Prize, O. Henry awards, and Best Canadian Short Story awards. Here, the standouts are "Doves of Townsend," about a woman who inherits a junkshop and discovers the unlikely truth about both being and buying an Object of Desire, and "Silent Cruise," about a cockamamie scheme to recruit an idiot savant from the racetrack to the Vancouver stock exchange--with predictable results. But the bulk of the volume is the novella, "Newstart 2.0," where we follow a high-school art student named Shane as he meets Dennis Kopak, one of those zany kids who wears a word that means "horseradish" on his clothes and talks mysteriously into a telephone that isn’t plugged in but somehow rings. Years later, after Shane tells us how he’s transcended nerd status to lay lots of international girls, we launch into the world of Phrate magazine, where Shane covers the art beat and blesses us with ideas like "What’s an original idea? Does it merely lack resemblance to any idea that has come before?" After all kinds of inconsequential travel writing and details about the Internet, Shane hits on a hot story about an artist who unsuccessfully tried to burn his life’s work and who is now represented by a guy with an agency named for horseradish. Kopak reappears but doesn’t recognize Shane, which is good for plot but bad for believability. Etcetera. Taylor’s stories in general are set in worlds that we’re led (by TV) to believe are possible, but aren’t. Taylor’s is a variety of hyperrealism, delivered with smartboy smarminess anddecorated with product placement that will convince future archaeologists we lacked all aesthetic sophistication. Watch out: the invader from the north is just run-of-the-mill enough to be a smash.
From the Publisher
“The stories collected in Silent Cruise crackle with intellectual energy and symbols and feature an impressive range of characters in up-to-the-moment settings.” -- Quill & Quire, Best Books of 2002, February 2003

“Timothy Taylor exploded onto the literary scene in Canada last year with his novel, Stanley Park, but his real strengths lie in short fiction. Silent Cruise, a collection of eight previously published short stories and one new novella, demonstrates Taylor’s diversity of subject and ease with language…. If you’ve already read all eight stories in the various literary journals, then you may think it’s not worth buying the collection. Wrong. The book is worth it simply for the novella, “Newstart 2.0 ™”…. Silent Cruise is a chunky collection, packed with dense and complicated stories. Flaws are minimal, and they are the result of trying something big. The rarified narrative level that Taylor inhabits is a delight to explore in this collection.” -- Monday Magazine, May 2002

“An intriguing collection of short fiction [from] a master stylist…. Taylor’s use of language is exact. He has a gift for choosing exactly the right word to express an idea or an emotion, giving his writing a feeling of strength and precision. Each character rings true, enabling the reader to become engrossed in the stories. Silent Cruise is excellent writing and enjoyably hypnotic.” -- Hamilton Spectator, May 2002

“There can be little doubt that Taylor is one of Canada’s best short-story writers…. Taylor rises to the challenge Northrop Frye set for the poet: he shows us the world completely absorbed and possessed by the human mind.” -- Quill & Quire, March 2002

“Seeking solace, people turn to self-help gurus and superficial notions of God. Some of us, though, have discovered something akin to hope and meaning via art and intellect…. Silent Cruise. It’s a good thing for those of us who appreciate well-crafted, perfectly pitched, intellectually mature, quietly poetic, and frequently funny stories that Timothy Taylor … came to his sense and quit his day job to write…. Taylor writes with the wonder and joy of a kid who has had his nose pressed to the candy-store window and all of a sudden finds himself inside, with one cautious eye glancing back over his shoulder.” -- The Georgia Straight, May 2002

“Intelligen[t] and rich…. A work of baroque elegance and inventiveness … Timothy Taylor [is] a writer to seek and savour.” -- Annabel Lyon, National Post

" ... few demonstrate the density, intellectual range and originality that Timothy Taylor does in Silent Cruise.... sharply honed brilliance.... Overarching questions of consumption and pleasure, loss and hunger, marble these stories with intricate flavour.... Demanding and complex, the passions unveiled in these explorations are inescapable. Timothy Taylor is the only writer ever to have three stories published in The Journey Prize Anthology in one year. It is easy to understand why. This is a dazzling collection.” -- Aritha van Herk, The Ottawa Citizen, May 2002

“… Timothy Taylor is a gifted writer who successfully catches the neurotic (and creative) zeitgeist of our times…. both amusing and thought provoking…. In Silent Cruise, Taylor treads the subtle border territory separating outright parody from the strange truths and beauty of our time¯this is a fine collection, and Timothy Taylor is a major talent who continues to make his mark on the Canadaina literary scene.” -- Times Colonist, May 2002

“An eclectic collection….” The Edmonton Journal, June 2002

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582432168
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 9/26/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST US
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Timothy Taylor is the recent recipient of a National Magazine Award Gold Medal and the only writer ever to have three stories selected and published simultaneously in the Journey Prize Anthology. His short fiction has appeared in Canada’s leading literary magazines and has been anthologized in such publications as Best Canadian Stories, Coming Attractions and Islands West. His novel, Stanley Park, was a national bestseller and a finalist for The Giller Prize. He lives in Vancouver.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

DOVES OF TOWNSEND

“Doves of Townsend, good morning.”

This is me, answering the phone at the shop. After which I frequently end up explaining the inherited family name. Sometimes (I admit) tired of telling the real story, I’ll make something up. “There’s a flock of doves found in Townsend, my Dad’s hometown,” I’ll start. Then I finish the story by saying the birds hunt as a pack and kill cats, or that they bring good luck if you catch one and pull out a tail feather. The mood of the story rides up and down on the sine wave of my menstrual cycle.

The truth is plain. My father came from Townsend and he was a fanatical collector. Knives, as it happens, but it could have been anything. Magpie, hoarder, packrat, whatever you want to call him, I had long understood him to be obsessive-compulsive within certain categories. His suicide note read: I fear I have covered the full length of this blade. But at auctions, where he lived the happy parts of his life, he held up his wooden paddle and said his last name so the auctioneer would know who was bidding. “Dove,” he’d say, eyes never leaving whatever dagger, cleaver, oiseau or machete had captivated him. And then -- in case there was another Dove in the room -- he’d say it again, louder: “Doves of Townsend.”

So, here I am: “Doves of Townsend?”

It was two months ago, Alexander Galbraithe calling. He wanted a set of chrome 1940s ashtrays, the ones with the DC-3 doing the flypast over the cigar butts. I’ve known Mr Galbraithe since I was a child. When my father started Doves of Townsend as an extension of his own collecting (a very bad idea I came to think), Mr Galbraithe was one of his first steady buyers. I assume he stayed with me out of allegiance or sympathy, since after Dad’s death I sold off the knife collection quickly and resolved never to replace it.

“Clare?” he said. “Are you familiar with the airplane ones?”

I knew he was talking about the famous deco ashtray since none of the other things he collects – coach clocks, cigar cutters, Iranian block-print textiles, even knives as far as I know – come in an aeroplane model.

“Pedestal or tabletop?” I asked him. “Illuminated?”

We began to work out the specs.

“Real?” I asked, breathing a little into the phone. “Or fake?”

Mr Galbraithe didn’t laugh often, although he found many things funny. What he did, instead, was roll his massive balding head back an inch or two, squint slightly and crinkle his cheeks. When he was done, he’d roll his head back to its normal position and resume where he left off.

This is what he did now. I could tell over the phone. And when he had returned he said, “Clare. My dear. Really.”

It pays to be straight on this real-fake question. There’s no point looking for something real, something authentic and old and possibly rare, if the client has no preference. My former-sometimes-boyfriend Tiko used to send art directors my way from time to time, and all they cared about was that an object look good on camera. Some collectors, on the other hand, collect fakes. So go figure.

What’s bad, clearly, is to get fake when you’re after real. Most dealers will learn this the hard way even if they resist being obsessive collectors themselves. Me, for example. I was just starting out. Dad had been gone a year, and I overcame all the good sense I had and bought a set of les Freres locking steak knifes. I literally saw them in a shop window, stopped on the sidewalk – reconsidering everything I had resolved after my father slipped somewhere beyond reach, after he did what he did – then went in and bought them. Of course, I knew the famous French maker produced knives that were rare and beautiful, knives with a four-inch hand-forged blade folding into black pear-wood handle with silver inlay and locking in place with a tiny gold clasp in the shape of a dove. I knew the les Freres dove had meant something special to my father, among all his knives. These were the first I had seen since his death and, for that instant, I was host to a perfectly synchronous collector’s impulse.

What this lapse taught me was never to buy a thing merely because it is rare and beautiful and you are able to construe some tangled family significance. What I didn’t know then was the number of les Freres reproduction steak knives that had been made over the years by Spanish, Korean and other manufacturers. When I learned this, which was soon enough, I sold my Taiwanese fakes for about one-twentieth what I paid for them. To Mr Galbraithe, in fact, who rescued me. Tried to pay much more than they were worth, but I wouldn’t let him.

“You see the clasp here, Clare?” he explained very kindly. “The reproduction clasps are stamped flat from stainless steel, then gold-plated. A real les Freres has a hammered dove figurine, sculpted in three dimensions, in 18-karat gold.”

“Fake,” I said, shaking my head. “I should have known.”

“But now you have seen it,” he said, putting a large hand weightlessly on my shoulder. “I am quite sure you won’t miss it again.”

He was a huge presence, six-and-a-half feet tall; God knows how many pounds. In his other hand, the knife looked like an antique folding toothpick I’d once seen at auction. Mr Galbraithe always leaned a little forward when we spoke, canted just so, careful to hear and understand everything that I said. He wore dark, heavy double-breasted suits and two-tone black and white shoes. Tiko met him once and referred to him thereafter as Sidney Greenstreet, although he looked nothing like that. He brought to mind the force of gravity, yes, but not the crushing pressure of it. Instead, he made me think of the way some large things elegantly defy it. I’ve looked at suspension bridges the way I looked at Mr Galbraithe.

He folded the fake les Freres into his palm, first popping the gold-plated clasp with his thumb, then clicking shut the blade with his fingers. Then he wrote me a cheque using a large black fountain pen. In the nineteenth century, I thought on occasion, with my father gone and no family remaining, I would have married the widowed Mr Galbraithe, friend of my father and life long presence. The thirty-year age difference would have seemed, I think, to be much less.

“You have an eye for the fine line,” Mr Galbraithe said to me another time, admiring a more successful purchase. I thought the words left unsaid were something like: but be careful, so did your father.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Doves of Townsend 1
Francisco's Watch 37
Smoke's Fortune 69
Pope's Own 83
Prayers to Buxtehude 115
The Resurrection Plant 149
The Boar's Head Easter 171
Silent Cruise 215
NewStart 2.0 251
Acknowledgments 403
Read More Show Less

First Chapter

DOVES OF TOWNSEND

"Doves of Townsend, good morning."

This is me, answering the phone at the shop. After which I frequently end up explaining the inherited family name. Sometimes (I admit) tired of telling the real story, I'll make something up. "There's a flock of doves found in Townsend, my Dad's hometown," I'll start. Then I finish the story by saying the birds hunt as a pack and kill cats, or that they bring good luck if you catch one and pull out a tail feather. The mood of the story rides up and down on the sine wave of my menstrual cycle.

The truth is plain. My father came from Townsend and he was a fanatical collector. Knives, as it happens, but it could have been anything. Magpie, hoarder, packrat, whatever you want to call him, I had long understood him to be obsessive-compulsive within certain categories. His suicide note read: I fear I have covered the full length of this blade. But at auctions, where he lived the happy parts of his life, he held up his wooden paddle and said his last name so the auctioneer would know who was bidding. "Dove," he'd say, eyes never leaving whatever dagger, cleaver, oiseau or machete had captivated him. And then -- in case there was another Dove in the room -- he'd say it again, louder: "Doves of Townsend."

So, here I am: "Doves of Townsend?"

It was two months ago, Alexander Galbraithe calling. He wanted a set of chrome 1940s ashtrays, the ones with the DC-3 doing the flypast over the cigar butts. I've known Mr Galbraithe since I was a child. When my father started Doves of Townsend as an extension of his own collecting (a very bad idea I came to think), Mr Galbraithe was one of his first steadybuyers. I assume he stayed with me out of allegiance or sympathy, since after Dad's death I sold off the knife collection quickly and resolved never to replace it.

"Clare?" he said. "Are you familiar with the airplane ones?"

I knew he was talking about the famous deco ashtray since none of the other things he collects – coach clocks, cigar cutters, Iranian block-print textiles, even knives as far as I know – come in an aeroplane model.

"Pedestal or tabletop?" I asked him. "Illuminated?"

We began to work out the specs.

"Real?" I asked, breathing a little into the phone. "Or fake?"

Mr Galbraithe didn't laugh often, although he found many things funny. What he did, instead, was roll his massive balding head back an inch or two, squint slightly and crinkle his cheeks. When he was done, he'd roll his head back to its normal position and resume where he left off.

This is what he did now. I could tell over the phone. And when he had returned he said, "Clare. My dear. Really."

It pays to be straight on this real-fake question. There's no point looking for something real, something authentic and old and possibly rare, if the client has no preference. My former-sometimes-boyfriend Tiko used to send art directors my way from time to time, and all they cared about was that an object look good on camera. Some collectors, on the other hand, collect fakes. So go figure.

What's bad, clearly, is to get fake when you're after real. Most dealers will learn this the hard way even if they resist being obsessive collectors themselves. Me, for example. I was just starting out. Dad had been gone a year, and I overcame all the good sense I had and bought a set of les Freres locking steak knifes. I literally saw them in a shop window, stopped on the sidewalk – reconsidering everything I had resolved after my father slipped somewhere beyond reach, after he did what he did – then went in and bought them. Of course, I knew the famous French maker produced knives that were rare and beautiful, knives with a four-inch hand-forged blade folding into black pear-wood handle with silver inlay and locking in place with a tiny gold clasp in the shape of a dove. I knew the les Freres dove had meant something special to my father, among all his knives. These were the first I had seen since his death and, for that instant, I was host to a perfectly synchronous collector's impulse.

What this lapse taught me was never to buy a thing merely because it is rare and beautiful and you are able to construe some tangled family significance. What I didn't know then was the number of les Freres reproduction steak knives that had been made over the years by Spanish, Korean and other manufacturers. When I learned this, which was soon enough, I sold my Taiwanese fakes for about one-twentieth what I paid for them. To Mr Galbraithe, in fact, who rescued me. Tried to pay much more than they were worth, but I wouldn't let him.

"You see the clasp here, Clare?" he explained very kindly. "The reproduction clasps are stamped flat from stainless steel, then gold-plated. A real les Freres has a hammered dove figurine, sculpted in three dimensions, in 18-karat gold."

"Fake," I said, shaking my head. "I should have known."

"But now you have seen it," he said, putting a large hand weightlessly on my shoulder. "I am quite sure you won't miss it again."

He was a huge presence, six-and-a-half feet tall; God knows how many pounds. In his other hand, the knife looked like an antique folding toothpick I'd once seen at auction. Mr Galbraithe always leaned a little forward when we spoke, canted just so, careful to hear and understand everything that I said. He wore dark, heavy double-breasted suits and two-tone black and white shoes. Tiko met him once and referred to him thereafter as Sidney Greenstreet, although he looked nothing like that. He brought to mind the force of gravity, yes, but not the crushing pressure of it. Instead, he made me think of the way some large things elegantly defy it. I've looked at suspension bridges the way I looked at Mr Galbraithe.

He folded the fake les Freres into his palm, first popping the gold-plated clasp with his thumb, then clicking shut the blade with his fingers. Then he wrote me a cheque using a large black fountain pen. In the nineteenth century, I thought on occasion, with my father gone and no family remaining, I would have married the widowed Mr Galbraithe, friend of my father and life long presence. The thirty-year age difference would have seemed, I think, to be much less.

"You have an eye for the fine line," Mr Galbraithe said to me another time, admiring a more successful purchase. I thought the words left unsaid were something like: but be careful, so did your father.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)