Nowhere Fast


170 pages
ISBN 1-55022-645-2
DDC C813'.6





Reviewed by Douglas Ivison

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


Nowhere Fast is an uneven collection of short stories. The author’s
conversational prose style and loose plotting is sometimes effective in
describing the lives of his characters, frequently teens or
20-somethings struggling for a sense of belonging and purpose; more
often, however, the stories are sloppily written and underdeveloped
anecdotes that have little impact on the reader.

The three-story sequence, Battle at Sea, although at times engagingly
written, exemplifies the problems of Nowhere Fast. The three stories
that make up the sequence relate anecdotes in the life the narrator: in
the first story, “Midway,” he’s an 11-year-old obsessed with the
Battle of Midway; in the second, “Press Ganged,” he and his high
school disrupt the Battle of the Bands by performing Slayer’s
“Captor of Sin”; in the third, “Juno Beach,” he (now an adult)
is competing in a triathalon and flashes back to a childhood moment that
led to his interest in swimming. The three stories share a narrator and
relate different incidents in his life, but there is very little
thematically to link them.

Moreover, although “Press Ganged” is an engagingly recounted tale
of high-school life, it provides little insight into the narrator and
has little thematic resonance. Similarly, in “Juno Beach” the link
between the narrator’s childhood memory of his father’s swimming
prowess and his own participation in a triathlon is underdeveloped and
unclear, as is the significance of the title. “Midway,” like many of
the other stories in the collection, is too short, reading more like a
sketch than a fully developed story, and the symbolism hinted at by the
title is undeveloped.

Some of the stories in this collection are entertaining to read, but
they’re ultimately too slight to be rewarding.


Blake, Yashin., “Nowhere Fast,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 17, 2024,