In his second collection of stories, author and filmmaker R.W. Gray (Crisp) once again finds the place where the beautiful, the strange, and the surreal all meet—sometimes meshing harmoniously, sometimes colliding with terrible violence, launching his characters into a redefined reality. A lovestruck man discovers the secret editing room where his girlfriend erases all her flaws; a massage artist finds that she can alleviate her clients’ pain in more ways than one; a beautiful man invites those who want him to do whatever they wish with his unconscious body; and a gay couple meets what appear to be the younger versions of themselves, and learns that history can indeed repeat itself.
Praise for Entropic
"[w]hen Gray is good he's very good, his modern parables peeling off layers of convention to get at subconscious truths, submerged archetypes, and emotions."
~ Alex Good, Quill and Quire
"[R.W. Gray] treads a fascinating line between realities ... a tender, globetrotting, strongly visual collection."
~ Publishers Weekly
"Entropic is executed with Cronenbergian deviance, raising tingly questions about the ways lack and absence manifest."
~ Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Canadian Literature
"Gray's world is populated with unique characters. Although their circumstances are strange, their emotional experiences are completely understandable."
~ Bruce Cinnamon, Alberta Views
|Publisher:||NeWest Publishers, Limited|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||693 KB|
About the Author
R.W. Gray is a writer and filmmaker. He is the winner of the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Canadian Fiction Award for his second short story collection Entropic (2015) which was also shortlisted for the NB Book Awards. His first short story collection, Crisp (2010) was shortlisted for the Writers’ Union of Canada’s Danuta Gleed Award.
He has directed six short films including the award winning films "Choke Hold" (2015) and "zack&luc" (2013), and his films have been featured in festivals around the world. Along with filmmakers Jon Dewar and Matt Rogers he runs Frictive Pictures Inc. He has had over ten short scripts produced including the award-winning shorts “alice&huck” executive produced and starring actress Allison Mack (Smallville) and “Blink” starring actor Mark Hildreth (V, Ressurection). He was one of the creators of the Screenwriting program at Vancouver Film School where he was head of that program for five years.
He is the co-producer/organizer with the NB Film Co-op of the popular 48 Hour Filmmaking Competition. He is a senior editor of numerocinqmagazine.com, and is chiefly responsible for “Numero Cinq at the Movies,” the weekly film column.
He is professor of film and screenwriting in the Department of English at the University of New Brunswick.
Read an Excerpt
Do the melancholy candle vendor, the grim Belgian chocolatier, the slow grazing market goers feel this way around her? Redundant. Untethered, wanting to hold her hand so as to not float away.
Lost. I've lost sight of her.
The market air shudders. Oceans lie down on me. A flock of wingless, cawless birds fling themselves over the buildings, the Saturday shoppers motionless, paper thin and oblivious. Lost. She turns then and I see her in profile, eating caramelized ginger delicately from a paper bag like it's a secret between her and the ginger. Not lost.
Silly. I think, silly. Like a child. My mother must have used this word once. Many times. Don't be silly.
I mention this to my therapist, how I lose her. It's not the first time. He, predictably, asks how it makes me feel. Silly, I say. He, predictably, looks concerned.
I don't tell him how I am braced for this pain now, braced waiting for the next sinkhole, for the sound to suck out of the room, and the deep, sea-floor silence to press in.
She'll turn then, colour gushing back in, and see my furrowed forehead, throw me a subtle lift of her eyebrows to ask what's up, as if nothing. Silly.
Back at our apartment, in the moment before I throw my keys on the hall table I look out over the catalogue-photoready living room, the sofa, the cushions, the blinds, and see the apartment is a reflection of her; I am redundant even here. How long would I have to be gone, out of these rooms, out in the streets with the other strangers before she would forget me entirely. She might find one of my baseball caps in the closet, my slippers on the bathroom floor, and wonder where they came from or who they belonged to. A guest from her last birthday party maybe. A small mystery that would leave her only slightly uneasy.
I am no different from anyone else though. No one could make her turn and see them more than I do. If she's going to forget someone, why not me?
She stands in the kitchen doorway resting on one leg, crisply eating sugar snap peas, smiling wider to say hello. Lost. Cut from the air, the room suddenly musty, dust motes hanging where her breath was a moment ago.
Maybe, I say to my therapist, maybe I am afraid. Maybe the silence is my fear she'll leave.
The therapist nods, slow and deliberate, like he knew I would say this.
"And you've had your hearing checked?"
This question makes me pause. I was willing to concede that I was imagining her there and then gone, the lost time, that it was just my anxious mind. A therapist resorting to literal, physical possibilities rather than all the possible figurative ones makes me pause.
"Yes," I lie.
She calls out from the kitchen, "Honey you're home!" as I put my keys on the hall table. I find her there and kiss her on the back of her neck as she cuts carrots. We ask about our days.
After dinner, I watch the news on a couch full of too many pillows, peripherally aware of the clink of her stacking dishes in the kitchen, running water in the bathroom sink, opening and closing the bureau drawers in the bedroom, then the fridge opening in the kitchen. A local news story reports that a dog tried to swim across the river and got stuck on a sandbar where he's been waiting to be rescued for they suspect a week, boating on the river at a minimum due to the rains. The rescued dog looks happy but skeletal.
I want a snack and expect to find her in the kitchen but she's not. Room by room I look for her, but I am alone in the apartment. I stand in the middle of the living room caught between two breaths. Like wondering why the key doesn't fit, then realizing you're at the apartment door one floor directly below yours and the horror, even if it's a mistake and for only a moment, the horror of being shut out of one's own life.
Like the sea floor falling away.