Crazy Water Boys


141 pages
ISBN 0-920493-14-9
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Thomas M.F. Gerry

Thomas M.F. Gerry is a professor of English at Laurentian University.


This collection of 25 linked stories (the author’s third) features
Elliott’s trademark humor and alertness to fierce ironies but extends
his range on the technical front. The innovative and highly effective
narrative viewpoint is that of the crazy water boys, though not of any
one of them in particular. (“In our usual Sunday morning coma, we sat
there waiting for the other guy to go in and get the coffee pot,”
begins one story.) These subjects are elderly men, mostly recovering
alcoholics, who live at a rest home called the Centre for Well-Being. As
one of them explains, Well-Being is “one of those brilliant
upside-down euphemisms for incurable.”

The narrative moves between past and pre-sent, and our sympathy for the
crazy water boys grows as we discover the reasons for their eccentric
behavior. These stories constantly surprise with their unusual blend of
social satire and poignancy.


Elliott, George., “Crazy Water Boys,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024,