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This Cake is for the Party

In this collection of short stories, Sarah Selecky explores the nuances and hidden tensions within all human relationships.

Sarah Selecky

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. (From Dundurn Press)

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From the book

This past New Year's Eve, sitting on the loveseat in front of our little tabletop Christmas tree, I poured us both a glass of sparkling wine and told Sanderson: I think I'm ready to do it. He kissed the top of my head and asked, Are you sure? This is my last drink, I told him. I am officially preparing the womb. Now it's the May long weekend. Sanderson and I have driven four hours north to Keewadin Lake, a cottage that we've rented every long weekend in May since we were at Trent together. We share it with our friends: Shona and Flip, who have been married even longer than we have, and Janine, who found the cottage for all of us almost ten years ago. I have a stack of first-year composition papers that still have to be marked, but I left them at home so this could be a real holiday. I have a strong feeling about this weekend. I think this might be the weekend we conceive. I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but my instincts are usually good. We get to the cottage late, nine o'clock. It's already past dark and we're all very hungry. I can smell tension between Flip and Sanderson like something electric is burning. They both retreat to the living room. It's always been my job to sort the linens out when we arrive. But I feel particularly irritated that neither of our husbands has offered to help in the kitchen. These are progressive men. They know better than that.


From This Cake is for the Party by Sarah Selecky ©2010. Published by Dundurn Press.

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