In Stories From the Vinyl Café, Stuart McLean has presented a picture of Canadian life, culture and values that will recall Garrison Keillor's successful portrayal of life in small town America in "Lake Wobegon Days".
There's no thread or plot to speak of - only a randomly collected grouping of fictional short stories that are brilliantly distilled from McLean's singularly astute observations of Canadian people as a skilled journalist. There's a father struggling to cope with his teenage daughter who wants to get a tattoo; the wife who can't figure out how to tell her husband that she was collared for shop-lifting; the difficulties of buying a jock strap; the lighter side of blood pressure machines in the local pharmacy; the man who works his knickers into a frenzied knot over a neighbour he fancies stole his favourite shirt off their clothesline; the young boys wrestling with the moral dilemma of finding $2300 in an envelope in front of the local bank machine; and many more.
If these sound inane, I can't help but agree! But what better way to reflect the realities of our daily lives?
McLean's mastery of story-telling and dialogue hits the Canadian nail right on the head with a writing style that is at once witty, quirky, heart-warming, earnest, humorous, compelling and utterly charming! I should have read this years ago.