Zoe Whittall's latest novel, The Best Kind of People, spent 26 consecutive weeks on the Globe bestseller list, was shortlisted for the Giller Prize, was Indigo Best Book of the Year, Heather's Pick, Globe and Mail Best Book, Toronto Life Best Book of 2016, Walrus Magazine Best Book of 2016 . The film/TV rights have been optioned by Sarah Polley who will write and direct. She has two previous novels and three collections of poetry, and has written for the televisions shows Degrassi, Schitt's Creek, and The Baroness Von Sketch Show. She won the KM Hunter award for literature, and a Lamda Literary award for her second novel, Holding Still for as Long as Possible. Her debut, Bottle Rocket Hearts, was named one of the top ten novels of the decade by CBC Canada Reads, and one of the Best Books of 2007 by The Globe and Mail and Quill & Quire magazine. She has published three books of poetry, Precordial Thump, (exile, 08) The Best Ten Minutes of Your Life (McGilligan Books, 01) and The Emily Valentine Poems (Snare Books, 06.) The Globe and Mail called her "the cockiest, brashest, funniest, toughest, most life-affirming, elegant, scruffy, no-holds-barred writer to emerge from Montreal since Mordecai Richler…”. She was born in South Durham, Quebec, resided in Montreal during the early 1990s and has lived in Toronto since 1997.
There are some really gorgeous stories in this collection. Some voices I really connect with that tug at my gut and leave me needing to take a deep breath at the end and let myself drift back to the present. A couple stories left me unsettled though, and somewhat disturbed. "Floods" stands out as one such story; it left me with an oily film on my mind and I couldn't quite shake the characters out of the corner of my eye. A mark of a good storyteller, for sure, but the subject matter was tough to swallow and the inclusion of this particular piece in this collection felt a little jarring and out of place. I also think I would have felt more satisfied by the book if it had a wider scope. As a queer mid 20sish Canadian girl who's a hippie at heart and can identify with punk and anarchist communities, I found I could easily identify with a lot of the authors represented here, likely because many of them are (or represent through their characters) queer folks in their mid-20s living on the fringes in Toronto and Montreal. A different name, or a more specific one, could have tied it together and made it feel more complete. As an anthology about geeks, misfits, and outlaws, it's a little lacking in its breadth.