Blind Spot


128 pages
ISBN 0-7780-1155-0
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by John Walker

John Walker is a professor of Spanish at Queen’s University.


The Toronto-based writer Len Gasparini, best-known as a prize-winning
poet, was born and raised in working-class district of Windsor, Ontario.
It is no coincidence that almost all of the 12 stories in this
collection are about growing up in that area.

His best efforts are straightforward, uncomplicated slice-of life
stories told by a narrator who recalls people and events from his youth,
in particular school experiences informed by the Catholic Church and the
teaching nuns. In “Miss Brockman’s Ring,” the 11-year-old narrator
describes the only lay teacher, who uses her giant ring to prod and
punish the pupils. In “Comic Books,” the narrator recalls with shame
his mistreatment of girl with Down syndrome.

Race relations is an important theme in such stories as “The Blacker
the Better,” which tells of the 12-year-old narrator’s friendship
with a black boy visiting from Detroit, and “Oscar, as in Wilde,” in
which the adolescent narrator recalls his hilarious adventures with a
black gay friend. The title piece describes the breakup of a marriage
and the incipient blindness of the husband. One of the collection’s
least successful stories concerns a Canadian teacher who returns to
Canada after experiencing a drug-induced mental and physical crisis in
Peru. As these stories reveal, Gasparini does not view life through
rose-colored glasses.


Gasparini, Len., “Blind Spot,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 28, 2024,