The Slow Fix.


152 pages
ISBN 978-1-55152-247-0
DDC C813'.6





Ronald Charles Epstein is a Toronto-based freelance writer and published poet.


Sometimes you can’t tell a book by its author. A short story collection that is credited to an “Ivan E. Coyote” might be expected to contain a series of rowdy macho tales. This book may appeal to traditional masculine tastes, but any ruggedness may be due to the fact that its creator is from Whitehorse, Yukon. Coyote is really both writer and fictional narrator, a lesbian storyteller who brings an autobiographical honesty into work that her publisher certifies is fiction. Her mentality is ambivalent because she adopts her hometown’s hardy culture, but rejects its homophobia. Sexual politics are complicated by her decision to adopt a male name, outfit, and hairstyle. Inevitably, this leads to strange situations.


In Squamish, B.C., a redneck neighbour informs her that he “thought you were a fucking faggot until I met your girlfriend. She’s hot.” Not surprisingly, this amusing encounter scares her into realizing that her otherwise friendly locale was hostile to gays. Her keen sense of irony prompts her to remember that her Yukon sensibilities also created problems when she lived in Vancouver. A plan to shoot some squirrels in her roof is stymied by a neighbour who threatens to pillory her as a “‘squirrel murderer’” in the lesbian/vegetarian community. Coyote skewers such attitudes by pointing out that those humanized pests are really rodents—“Rat Bastards.” She displays an intelligent empathy in “The Future of Francis” by noting that her young friend must repress his transvestite tendencies in a conservative community that includes First Nations survivors of homosexual residential school abuse.

            Less controversial subjects are also cleverly assessed. The author states that a gas station attendant ignored a juvenile condom thief because he “was stealing responsibly.” In the end, in The Slow Fix the author has fashioned a literary persona that expresses her unique personality.


Coyote, Ivan E., “The Slow Fix.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 26, 2024,