My Broken Hero


190 pages
ISBN 0-921556-24-1
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by R. Gordon Moyles

R.G. Moyles is a professor of English at the University of Alberta and
co-author of Imperial Dreams and Colonial Realities: British Views of
Canada, 1880-1914.


It is refreshing to read some modern short stories in which the
“story” is not obscured by the “telling.” Michael Hennessey’s
are stories first and artistic creations second. This is not to say that
he pays no attention to style, or is not aesthetically pleasing; rather,
he does not allow wordplay and rhetorical flourishes or forced symbolism
to impede his storytelling. The stories are masterfully told; there is a
unity of tone and action, a succinctness, that satisfies completely.

All 17 stories in the collection celebrate the latent, flawed, and
often unfulfilled heroism in ordinary people. They take place in
familiar settings—the corner grocery store, the farm, the local boxing
arena, the church, the bedroom—and they depict the realities of our
everyday existence with truth and dignity and humor. “From young men
on the verge of knowledge and loss before they go to war, to modern
struggles with alcohol and patronage, Hennessey breathes life into his
‘broken heroes’ and treats us to a rare vision of the Island.” So
reads the book’s blurb, with unusual accuracy. What needs to be
corrected is that last phrase, for although Prince Edward Island may be
the specific setting, the stories themselves are universal in their
depiction of the human condition. This accessible, enjoyable, and
vibrant book deserves to be widely read.


Hennessey, Michael., “My Broken Hero,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 19, 2024,