Despair and Other Stories of Ottawa


229 pages
ISBN 0-88910-478-6
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Kenrick E.A. Mose

Kenrick E.A. Mose is an associate professor of Spanish Studies at the
University of Guelph.


Ottawa is released from its stodgy, bureaucratic self in this collection
by André Alexis, a young Canadian writer of Trinidadian descent. The
stories provide a constant stream of strange characters and events: a
man eats flesh and wills people to death; a plant invented to end world
hunger goes awry and kills the poor families who consume it; a plague of
worms inflicts the gift of poetry on people; bizarre experiments are
conducted by a doctor against a backdrop of pornography. Alexis has a
gift for pointed social comment and a humor that deflates the ridiculous
postures and habits of human beings. His is a brilliant talent
reminiscent of the Latin American magical realists.


Alexis, André., “Despair and Other Stories of Ottawa,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 25, 2024,