Heaven is Small

book review:

Heaven is Small

Emily Schultz’s second novel tells the story of Gordon Small, a man who wakes up dead one morning (unbeknownst, at first, to him) and then goes on to get a job as a proofreader for a publisher of romance novels called Heaven Book Co. It’s a clev­er conceit, and the metaphor works well throughout (Heaven is Small, after all), and when Gordon begins to figure out what his co-workers seems to be oblivious to–that they’re all deceased–his investigations and experiments to determine that nature and cosmology of this incorporeal corpo­ration take the form of minor disruptions of protocol which threaten to spread chaos. Schultz takes her gift for authentic intro­spection, astute observation and meticu­lous description and (surpassing her first novel, Joyland), injects it with an urbanity and ironic humour that makes every scene interesting and fresh. In addition to the physical book made of dead trees, the novel is also available in digital form from Book­shorts.com (I downloaded and read it on an iPod Touch and it looks surprisingly great), which certainly helped it get the sort of at­tention it’s been getting–and deserves.

Heaven is Small is sharp as papercuts, and cynically fun to a surprising degree. (Richard Rosenbaum)

by Emily Schultz, Hardcover Fiction or Digital Download, $29.95 or $18.49 respectively, 256 pages, House of Anansi Press 110 Spadina Ave., Suite 801 Toronto, ON, M5V 2K4, anansi.ca

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