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Short Stories by Kenneth Radu
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A woman wins a fabulous lottery; a frustrated middle-age man waits for his wealthy father to die; an unemployed father and widower struggles to earn a living wage; an older man of means has an affair with a much younger woman; a privileged but harassed suburban woman and a homeless man meet in a subway station: each story, built upon familiar motifs, leads into the core of the characters’ sense of who they are. The narrative drama arises from what they face and how they live during their present circumstances. For the readers, the stories transform the ordinary, which many have felt themselves, into a new dimension of experience.
As a writer of short fiction whose very first collection The Cost of Living was nominated for the Governor General’s Award, Radu evinces a sure voice and deft hand. Of his previous book Earthbound, also published by DC Books, a reviewer in The Fiddlehead states “the variety is dazzling and somewhat daunting because Radu writes convincingly in all of these voices.” Anatanas Sileika confirms in The Toronto Star that Radu’s earlier book of stories, A Private Performance, is a “collection of sparkling gems.” Years of crafting the art of the short story has led to Radu’s mastery of effect and style, not to mention an undercurrent of humour and wit, which enables him to handle emotionally charged and complex dramas. In the words of Prairie Fire reviewing Radu’s collection, Sex in Russia “displays the necessary empathy to reveal his protagonists’ natures, while his morally centered prose provides perspective.”
Net Worth continues Radu’s tradition of well-crafted and necessary stories.
"Several of the stories in Net Worth are very effective. The first one in the book, ‘Lottery,’ is about a woman, Annie, who wins $42 million from Loto-Québec. But she has reservations. What would it do to her life? Is all that money worth it? Radu gets into Annie’s doubts and confusion very well, dissecting the virtues and pitfalls of sudden wealth, how it seeps into to every aspect of your life, your behaviour, your relationships.
All the stories are thought-provoking and reflective, each in its own way, using money as a vehicle to explore such diverse subjects as a spouse’s early death, old age, leaving an inheritance, waiting for an inheritance, divorce, and coming early into the personal independence of adulthood. The varied meanings of having, keeping, and losing money come up frequently in each of these contexts.
....These stories are a wonderful exploration into what money does to us all."
— The Ottawa Review of Books, September 2018
“As someone who has labored throughout his career at the ‘sullen art’ of writing, he knows the loneliness of the human soul and dissects this in his prose with humor, irony, and bitterness, but, above all, with warmth and compassion.
He tells us that there is truly no price one can place on the soul and that our true ‘net worth’ is so much more than a bank balance. For this timely reminder, we the readers should be grateful. For any lover of good writing, Radu’s book is a must-read.”
— Rampage, Montreal, December 2018
“Net Worth by Kenneth Radu is certainly one of the most unique reads I have come across in the 2018 publishing season. The language is simple yet the concepts it brings forward are thought-provoking and enlightening. In short, this book is a great piece of literature.”
—Stephen Buechler,Library of Pacific Tranquillity, Fall 2018
“Like a well-honed knife, Kenneth Radu’s prose cuts through the gamut of circumstances depicted in this collection. Through his deft and brilliant use of simile and metaphor, and an appropriate sprinkling of the various vernaculars heard in the Canadian mosaic, together with his empathy for human fragilities, Kenneth Radu captures the attention of the reader as he depicts ‘ordinary people in unusual, sometimes extraordinary situations.’”
—Annie Vigna,Freefall, Fall 2014
“Kenneth Radu has a unique talent for capturing critical emotive moments of his characters’ lives with subtle irony, sharply honed insight, and empathy.”
—Mark McCawley, Urban Graffiti
Author Kenneth Radu
Kenneth Radu has published books of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, including The Cost of Living, shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award. His collection of stories A Private Performance and his novel Distant Relations both received the Quebec Writers’ Federation Award for best English language fiction. His last novel is The Purest of Human Pleasures (Penguin). He is also the author of Sex in Russia: New & Selected Stories, Earthbound, and Butterfly in Amber (DC Books Canada). Born in Windsor, Ontario, he taught for many years at John Abbott College near Montreal and now writes full time.
Net Worth, Kenneth Radu, 192 pp., 5.5 x 8.5, Short Stories, April, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-927599-45-7 (paper) . . . $21.95
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Also by the Author
Butterfly in Amber, 240 pp., 5.5 x 8.5, April 2014, Novel — ISBN: 978-1-927599-24-2 (paper) ... $21.95 ISBN: 978-1-927599-25-9 (Hard Cover) ... $36.95
Earthbound, 192 pp., 5.5 x 8.5, November 2012, Short Stories — ISBN: 978-1-897190-87-6 (paper) ... $18.95 ISBN: 978-1-897190-88-3 (Hard Cover) ... $32.95
Sex in Russia, 192 pp., 5.5 x 8.5, April 2010, Short Stories — ISBN: 978-1-897190-65-4 (paper) ... $18.95 ISBN: 978-1-897190-66-1 (Hard Cover) ... $32.95