Loose End.


176 pages
ISBN 978-1-55152-192-X
DDC C813'.6





Reviewed by Britta Santowski

Britta Santowski is a freelance writer in Victoria, B.C.


“Loose End” is the name of a column written by Ivan (Elizabeth) Coyote for Vancouver’s Xtra West newspaper (Vancouver’s gay and lesbian biweekly). As such, the content of most of her stories reflect a day in the life in the lesbian mecca of the Commercial Drive area in Vancouver. Coyote has authored this column since 2001. This is a collection of some of these columns.


While her stories are short, they are not “short stories,” which imply a short fictional narrative; rather, these stories are accounts of incidences or events. (Their shortness may be attributable to the word-count restrictions imposed on all columnists, but readers of her earlier works will know that Coyote tends to be brief and succinct.) There’s the story of how she and her friends started the tradition of street hockey, founded in honour of the memory of Johnny Cash (“Game On”). There’s the team-building one where transgendered Brenda and Ivan come together to support seven-year-old Francis, “I’m a boy, but I have a little girl in me too” (“I Like To Wear Dresses”). There’s the letter to her mom on Mother’s Day that succinctly recaptures the bliss and the pain of mother-daughter relationships, where both are intensely compounded by the daughter’s coming-out (“Dear Mom”). Her central message: Don’t be afraid of who you are.


Ivan E. Coyote has an incredible talent for letting her readers into her life and allowing us to experience life through her eyes, through the eyes of one who was born a female but has a whole lot of male in her as well. Her words are honest and reflective, and her dialogue and descriptions skilfully capture the flavour of the people in her life.


Ivan E. Coyote wrote two previous story collections, Close to Spider Man, (shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Short Fiction Prize) and One Man’s Trash. Loose End, her third collection, was a finalist for the Ferro-Grumley Women’s Award for Best Fiction.


Besides writing, Ivan E. Coyote has also participated with and appeared on numerous television and radio productions, performed in numerous stage productions, produced numerous spoken-word CDs, and won numerous awards. She also teaches post-secondary experimental short fiction. She’s prolific, personal, and engaging. Definitely someone to watch for.


Coyte, Ivan E., “Loose End.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 26, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/28645.