Postcard Fictions


144 pages
ISBN 1-55263-335-7
DDC C813'.54





Illustrations by Paintings by Andrew Valko
Reviewed by Thomas M.F. Gerry

Thomas M.F. Gerry is a professor of English at Laurentian University and
the editor of Arachne, Laurentian University’s bilingual
interdisciplinary journal of language and literature.


Robert Enright’s foreword to this beautifully produced book helpfully
explains some of the characteristic themes of Andrew Valko’s
photographically realistic paintings, which are expressed in words in
Michelle Berry’s “postcard fictions.” Valko’s paintings and
drawings, Enright notes, are “episodes in an ongoing, fragmentary
narrative in which we are obliged, as viewers, to fill in the details of
a story that he only hints at.”

Berry rises to the challenge of verbally illustrating Valko’s
paintings. She begins with Knock, Knock, which shows a young woman in
her underwear looking out through the peephole of a motel room door. The
blank television screen reflects a young man, also undressed, sitting on
the messed-up bed. As conceived by Berry, the woman has basically tuned
out the man, saying only that she wants to do “it” her way this time
(it is left to the reader to decide what “it” is), while the man is
wondering what his mother would think if she knew where he was (his lie
to his mother is one of the “fictions” that permeate the story).
This collaboration between writer and artist is a tour de force.


Berry, Michelle., “Postcard Fictions,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024,