How Insensitive

Stephen Osborne

Prurience or Voyeurism? One of the other anyway (more thematic convergence): this time it was How Insensitive, Russell Smith’s first novel (Porcupine’s Quill) the cover of which is emblazoned with black and white photographs of three young women in varying states of undress, or possibly just dress, or even dis-dress—who knows how Gen-Xers carry on in the big city? (You've got to read the book, after all.) For this is the Big City novel, Toronto-style, and it's getting good reviews in Toronto, the city that loves to be hated, or at least bashed, and I wanted to read it in that spirit—that is, to revel in Toronto-bashing. But of bashing there was none, and of salaciousness there was very nearly none. So I fell to trying to distinguish one character from another, but there were no distinguishing aspects upon which I might exercise my discernment, so I fell in the end to flipping ever onward through its pages, until I got to the end.

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Stephen Osborne

Stephen Osborne is a co-founder and contributing publisher of Geist. He is the award-winning writer of Ice & Fire: Dispatches from the New World and dozens of shorter works, many of which can be read at



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