16 February 2012

The Maladjusted by Derek Hayes

Derek Hayes is a Canadian author living in Toronto who has put together a riveting collection of short stories revolving around those who just don't quite fit. The Maladjusted, published by Thistledown Press in Saskatoon (my home town, no less) is a book for every short story lover out there.

The first thing I have to say about this little book has to do with the cover. As soon as I saw it I started to itch, just a little. There's nothing sinister about it; just a line of ants crawling up the page. It's the one that has strayed that bothers me. For some reason (one I don't want to spend too much time thinking about) it is that straying ant that makes my scalp itch. I don't like that it has deviated.

That's what the stories inside the cover are like as well. There is something just a little off about the characters; their stories, that makes me slightly uncomfortable. Don't get me wrong - the stories are fantastic and it's not that they are creepy or scary - they just deal with people that don't fit with society's definition of 'normal'. Or perhaps it is that they are just so normal and not what you expect to find in a work of fiction. There were occasions I was, not really forced, maybe asked? to take a look at what goes on in my life and/or thoughts. There are sixteen short stories in this collection and I can see myself re-reading them often. Each story made me happy because they challenged my reality and drew me into the possible realities of people I pass in the street each day.

Character Development          5
Editing                                      5
Sex                                            0
Violence                                  0
Romance                                 0
Readability/Flow                     5

A Taste from page 170 Inertia:
I'm sweeping up decayed food particles from around the sofa on a Tuesday morning. When I open the door to dump the filth on the tile floor in the hallway, Joseph's sitting in his spot, cradling an Apple iPod. "Hi Ben," he says. He strokes the dials. He delicately stuffs the plastic wrapping into the open box. He sniffs the headphones, and I can't be sure but it looks like he's kissing the iPod itself. "My dad helped me by it. He gave me half the money for it. I was hoping to get the iPod Hi-Fi, but this is almost as good."


  1. Hi Dana. I know exactly what you means by the involuntary self reflection and things being off. That's how I felt for days after reading J.L's don't get mad get even. Have a fab weekend.

  2. I am not a fan of creepy and scary so I am glad to hear that they are not that :)

  3. Sounds like an interesting collection. The cover does makes me feel a bit funny though! Fab review.


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