Concrete Forest


296 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations
ISBN 0-7710-6815-8
DDC C813'.5408




Edited by Hal Niedzviecki
Reviewed by David E. Kemp

David E. Kemp, a former drama professor at Queen’s University, is the
author of The Pleasures and Treasures of the United Kingdom.


In this collection of stories, the “concrete forest” is a metaphor
for the urban experience, with its decaying inner cities, tedious
suburbs, labyrinthine subways, and straight-ahead highways. While not
all the stories are set in the city, they do share a distinctly urban
sensibility in their explorations of boredom, sexuality, energy,
obsession, and juvenile delight.

Uncertainty and diminishing opportunity are recurring themes. In
Richard Van Camp’s “Bash,” an account of a house party in a small
town in the Northwest Territories, a boy faces an uncertain future. As a
group, the authors reject the “Canadian Dream” (defined as good job,
gorgeous mate, perfect family, and fancy car). Cordelia Strube’s
“Rescue” is one among several stories that illustrate the jaded
sensibilities of the TV generation. Cutting-edge prose and marginalized
characters are hallmarks of this unflinching, invigorating collection.


“Concrete Forest,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 23, 2024,