Out of Cleveland.


136 pages
ISBN 978-155065-221-5
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.


Out of Cleveland is a collection of wondrous yarns, at turns delightful and disturbing, and often both. Lolette Kuby is already well-known as a poet, and she has turned her poet’s eye to the creation of tales to woo a wider audience; her stories taking on the air of fable and fantasy as well as the more mundane. For example, the collection has two stories that are composed of the thoughts of the characters. In “Ninety East,” two drivers communicate through assumption and driving styles, creating a bond without words. In “Significant Others,” a young woman at a party contemplates why she came and why she should leave, while sitting in a corner.


Kuby writes equally well in the more traditional third person. In the story “Poison,” she examines a roommate relationship and its hazards. “The Ice Mother” revisits the roommate theme, while adding a complexity that is worthy of a novella instead of simply a short story. She becomes even more imaginative with ‘Mysterious Infestations,” which addresses the question of what happens when you can’t undo the reading of a disturbing story.


In a book of strong stories, the strongest are those written as fables. “Body Image: A Fable” uses that genre to delve into the world of a large woman whose husband leaves her for “a toothpick.” Kuby further warps the genre to a new level with “The Mama Stories,” a collection of stories written in the point of view of a child, recounting the mythology of her distant mother. The parables “Mama and the Change in Careers” and “Mama and the Ship Coming In” begin with the words “It's about how ...”, and are an effective conceit, the grammar, word choice, and story structure consistent with our expectations of a 10-year-old’s style.


Lolette Kuby's prose style exhibits many of the features of poetry, such as sentence fragments, powerful word choices, and creative flights of fancy. These elements translated effortlessly into prose and the short story format.


Kuby, Lolette., “Out of Cleveland.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 19, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/27538.