The Mud Game


80 pages
ISBN 1-55128-027-2
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Matt Hartman

Matt Hartman is a freelance editor and cataloguer, running Hartman Cataloguing, Editing and Indexing Services.


Barwin and Ross’s latest work is accessible only to readers willing to
slough off expectations of a linear storyline. What “plot” there is
revolves around a philosopher who’s missing his lawn; a decapitated
dog who speaks a kind of television gibberish; and a girl whose
pronouncement that “everything on television is good, everything in
real life is bad” causes her teacher to dive through the window of an
appliance store and smash a dozen television sets. The setting includes
a doghouse at the bottom of a public pool, and cactus spines and blades
of grass (sometimes growing in school lockers) that prick the skin in
not unpleasant ways. The authors do succeed in bringing to their
esoteric novel sensory images—grass-blade strokings, peaty smells,
voices scarcely understood. For those willing to work a bit, these are
rewards not to be taken lightly.


Barwin, Gary, and Stuart Ross., “The Mud Game,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 25, 2024,