. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . where ImagInatIon comes to play

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

The Withdrawal Method
By Pasha Malla
House of Anansi Press/May

Reviewed by Marjolaine Hébert

It is free, requires no artificial devices, and has no physical side effects. It may, however, leave you feeling unsatisfied. Even so, reports state that most North-American women have had a partner use it. I’m talking about the withdrawal method, of course, though not necessarily Pasha Malla’s first collection of short stories by the same name.

With a title as provocative as this one, I dare you not to open the book to page one. But readers beware – it only gets stranger from here. Below its title, the book’s cover dons a technical looking picture of one male figure in a box. This much seems appropriate, since Pasha presents his characters from a definite male point of view. Reading his stories felt a bit like peeking into the author’s psyche, his female characters sharing very similar connective tissue.

There are thirteen stories in this collection, most of them delving into the male – female relationship. Evocative, imaginative, and at times haunting, Pasha presents his readers with wonderfully wacky plot lines. And despite his primarily passive characters, the endings do surprise. With honest storylines and at times somewhat pragmatic situations, the author guides us one step beyond the expected into his world of suspended disbelief. I had to look over my shoulder and behind the words some thirteen times.

As a forty-something woman, it is clear to me that Pasha Malla is a young man writing for his peers. What maintains a timeless flavour, however, are his boy-meets-girl scenarios, which at any age, it would seem, remains a conundrum. As for The Methods of Withdrawal? They were less difficult to unravel.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, Madame! Adding Reviewer to your list of talents! And I definitely think you've got the knack!

Look forward to reading more of your thoughts in this arena!