Home > Book Reviews, Books, Review > taking the stairs – john stiles

taking the stairs – john stiles

Taking the stairs

I have been incredibly slack updating my book reviews recently – but intend to rememdy that!

I was asked to read this book by the author who lives locally (Leytonstone) but is originally from Nova Scotia (not much of a culture difference there then!)

I have had very mixed feelings about the book, which may be what has prevented me from reviewing (and then my pedantic nature hasn’t allowed me to review books that I have read SINCE before I have reviewed this one!)

The book follows Jarod, a thirty-something aspiring writer living in Toronto.  He’s a bit of a loser, hasn’t managed to get anything published yet but is sure of his abilities (even if noone else is!).  He has a Spanish girlfriend who he is in constant danger of losing and is incapable of holding down a proper job, so seems to have many ‘temp’ jobs.

However, the book starts as a short story, which is meant to be the start of Jarod’s incomplete novel, although obviously you don’t know that at the time.  It’s about ‘Lana Banana’ (she of the cover image) and I really, really enjoyed it.

However, once that was ‘over’ and I was on to the main chunk of story, the Lana Banana annoyed me a little.  Jarod supposedly hadn’t completed the novel, but it really did feel like a fully complete short story – I couldn’t see where it could have gone from where it ended – so it didn’t feel believeable as Jarod’s novel.

There were other short stories that were included in the book – stories that Jarod had supposedly written – and I felt that perhaps the rather wishy-washy story of Jarod’s loser life was actually being used as a vehicle for some really quite strong short stories.

Perhaps Mr Stiles should write a book of short stories, as he is obviously VERY talented in this area!

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  1. December 26, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Hi Sonia,

    Thanks for the post and the review. Also glad you like the short stories and the Lana Bana part. Glad the cats are doing well. If you are looking for a good movie to review recommend Bent Keltoum or Keltoum’s Daughter. It is an Algerian Movie, I think. Best John Stiles

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