If I Knew I'd Tell You


142 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 1-55128-003-5
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Helen Hacksel

Helen Hacksel is a Toronto-based freelance writer.


In this slender novel, set in Toronto, there are few events, just
disjointed memories and obsessive ponderings. Susan has begun to come to
terms with her husband’s death a year earlier, when she discovers he
had kept a secret from her, and that his death may even have been
suicide. She moves with Angela, her teenage daughter, to an old house
with gaps between the floor boards and walls, and missing wood trim.
Angela complains of noises at night, and looks to Susan to solve the

Susan begins to recognize the gaps and spaces in her own life,
“disturbances” that demand attention. Communication with her
daughter has dwindled to an exchange of notes on the fridge door. Men
have disappeared from her world. Alone at weekends, she decides to write
a novel and begins to haunt the local café. The “novel” ponders the
fabric of Susan’s life, but it offers no insights and becomes an echo
of the main work, written in the same minimalist style.

The novel has a quirky, often comic air as Susan wrestles with her
demons and moves further and further away from conventional wisdom. The
misreadings, gaps, and missed connections that haunt human relationships
are at the core of this book.

Carol Malyon’s book of short fiction, The Edge of the World, was
nominated for the 1992 Commonwealth Writers Prize. This is her first


Malyon, Carol., “If I Knew I'd Tell You,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/14066.