This Cake Is for the Party

This Cake Is for the Party


Book - 2010
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Finalist for the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize and longlisted for the 2010 Frank O'Connor Award

Sarah Selecky's first book takes dead aim at a young generation of men and women who often set out with the best of intentions, only to have plans thwarted or hopes betrayed.

These are stories about friendships and relationships confused by unsettling tensions bubbling beneath the surface. A woman who plans to conceive ends up in the arms of her husband's best friend; a man who baby-sits a neglected four-year-old ends up questioning his own dysfunctional relationship; a chance encounter at a gala event causes a woman to remember when she volunteered for a nightmarish drug-testing clinic; another woman discovers that her best friend who is about to get married has just had an affair; a young teenager tries to escape from her controlling father and finds an unexpected lover on a bus ride home; a wife tries to overcome her dying mother-in-law's resistance to her marriage by revealing to her own strange aural stigmata; a friend tries to talk another friend out of dating her cheating ex-boyfriend; and a superstitious candle-maker confesses to a tempestuous relationship that implodes spectacularly.

Sarah Selecky is a talented young writer who evokes a generation teetering on the shoals of consumerism and ambiguous mores. Reminiscent of early Atwood, with echoes of Lisa Moore and Barbara Gowdy, these absorbing stories are about love and longing, stories that touch us in a myriad of subtle and affecting ways.

Publisher: Toronto : T. Allen Publishers, c2010.
ISBN: 9780887625251
Branch Call Number: FICTION SEL


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Sep 18, 2015

Interesting collection of short stories. I didn't quite like it at the beginning but the book grew on me and I was really sorry when I finished.

Aug 02, 2012

These short stories are about young, lower middle-class people of the margin (e.g., candlemakers). Wry. I enjoyed almost all of these stories.

ksoles May 19, 2011

Sarah Selecky’s debut fiction collection explores the themes of lack, destruction and nostalgia. But, even though her stories depict profound emotional and physical volatility, Selecky looks beyond sorrow and regret and finds joyful beauty in the midst of crisis. Ultimately, each selection in This Cake is For The Party shows that vision requires the ability and willingness to look again, to find the cake among the crumbs and scattered shards of shattered porcelain.

Apr 29, 2011

Another collection of short stories from the 2010 Giller Prize shortlist, except that I wouldn’t call them “stories” so much as “writing exercises”. Each piece was more like a lovely little vignette or a small slice of life than a contained story. My main complaint is that I was disappointed these scenes weren’t part of something larger.

Apr 13, 2011

I was surpsrised that this book was a Giller finalist - OK but definitely not great. The stories were real, as another comments says it is both a plus and a minus that the characters are so human. But all the stories are sad so I didn't find anything uplifting or even revolutionary in this.

Apr 08, 2011

sleek and modern;very enjoyable collection of short stories. My favourite was Yard Sale.

debwalker Feb 26, 2011

"The Bookie for Best New Writer goes to... Sarah Selecky

"Sarah Selecky was one of four new writers to capture this country's hearts when she was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize for her short story collection, This Cake is for the Party. While she didn't take home the Giller, she established herself as one of Canada's most promising new writers. Chatelaine said she "could easily be the next Alice Munro." Voters agreed, and awarded her the Bookie for Best New Writer."

falsedichotomy Oct 27, 2010

The good thing about this collection of short stories is that the characters are convincingly written, realistic, and human.

The bad thing is - well - they are devastatingly human.

I found these stories to be almost unbearably bleak, depressing, and hopeless. Some may claim to see beauty in the horribly sad existences of the people that populate the stories, but I did not.

These lives are smashed-up, burned-up, nearing meltdown, 'oh why don't you just off yourself already' stories.

Perhaps I'm too thick skinned, but instead of sympathizing with these characters (is that what I'm supposed to be doing?) I was wondering why the heck they were so....flaky....

kind of felt like reality T.V.

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