Cobalt Blue.


210 pages
ISBN 978-0-88762-276-2
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Lori A. Dunn

Lori A. Dunn is a ESL teacher, instructional designer, and freelance
writer in New Westminster, B.C.


This collection of stories by Mary Borsky tap into into the grey areas of relationships, where love is absent, unsure, or just awkward. Each one probes a sore spot in the human tapestry of emotions, leaving the reader with a strong sense of recognition.


In “The Ukrainian Shirt,” a woman sees her husband through the filter of her family’s eyes, where his failings are displayed starkly in the fluorescent light of her mother’s kitchen. The story “Wedding Pictures,” depicts a woman as she navigates the rough waters of a relationship with a man after her divorce, her child and other baggage in tow. The title character of the story “Myna” is a young woman in a small town, whose average teen hopes of clothes from the Bay and a move to the city are put into an unexpected limbo due to an unplanned pregnancy.


Borsky hits us with the awkwardness of these relationships. The feeling is most palpable in “People Like Us,” where the bewildered mother of a young man returned from overseas is beset by his misplaced resentment. She attempts to appeal to his distant father, who takes no responsibility. The reader is as off balance as the mother, wondering as she does, “Weren't fathers supposed to model restraint and consideration?” In the story “Ragtime,” the reader is tossed into the sea of uncertainty and ambivalence of a woman deciding to give a man another chance, despite the failed expectations of the relationship.


The stories in Cobalt Blue are tightly written and compelling. Mary Borsky has a clear eye for the intricacies of human relationships, and a prose style that is sharp and clear.


Borsky, Mary., “Cobalt Blue.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 19, 2024,