A Demon in My View


168 pages
ISBN 1-55071-179-2
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Douglas Ivison

Douglas Ivison is an assistant professor of English at Lakehead
University in Thunder Bay.


Gasparini is the author of 10 volumes of poetry. A Demon in My View is
his second work of short fiction. Although occasionally interesting and
entertaining, the collection as a whole is uneven and unmemorable. The
back cover blurb claims that the book “grapples with the dark
paradoxes of truth and morality.” Unfortunately, the darkness that the
stories reach for often seems forced, purposeless, and unconvincing.

“Bet I Can Scare You,” for example, is a rambling portrayal of an
adolescent bully and budding psychopath, Randy, that fails to shock and
provides psychological insight into neither Randy nor the narrator, who
must come to grips with his friend’s true nature. “Amy Crissum,” a
story of the revenge that a cuckolded tattoo artist takes on his
promiscuous lover, seems to have little purpose other than to build up
to a cheap twist, and a misogynistic and even racist one at that.
Another “shocking” twist is found in “Cross of Flesh,” which
begins as a story of unrealized puppy love and develops into a tale of
priestly pedophilia that fails to illustrate the impact of the abuse on
the victim.

The most engaging piece is probably “Wild Pitch,” an insightful and
seemingly autobiographical tale of a middle-aged poet who joins a
Toronto senior men’s league in an effort to experience what might have
been if he had pursued a career in baseball rather than poetry. More
pieces like that, and fewer like “Off-Off-Broadway,” a homophobic
story of homosexual rape, would have made this a much more appealing


Gasparini, Len., “A Demon in My View,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 19, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/15457.