American Innovations

Rivka Galchen

American Innovations
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Toronto-born writer Rivka Galchen's short story collection American Innovations is a quirky, charming and extremely imaginative series of tales involving everything from time travel to walking furniture to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Known for her dry wit and playful whimsy, Galchen's work has drawn comparisons to Haruki Murakami, Franz Kafka, and Helen DeWitt.


"I was at home, not making spaghetti. I was trying to eat a little less often, it's true. A yogurt in the morning, a yogurt at lunchtime, ginger candies in between, and a normal dinner. I don't think of myself as someone with a 'weight issue,' but I had somehow put on a number of pounds just four months into my unemployment, and when I realized that this had happened--I never weigh myself; my brother just said to me, on a visit, 'I don't recognize your legs'--I wasn't happy about it. Although maybe I was happy about it. Because at least I had something that I knew it wouldn't be a mistake to really dedicate myself to. I could be like those people who by trying to quit smoking or drinking manage to fit an accomplishment, or at least an attempt at an accomplishment, into every day. Just by aiming to not do something."

From American Inventions by Rivka Galchen. Copyright © Rivka Galchen, 2014. Published by HarperCollins Canada.