Stellar stories haunted by death: Winnipeg Free Press


The October 22, 2022 edition of the Winnipeg Free Press has this to say about Not the Apocalypse I Was Hoping For:

“Alberta writer Leslie Greentree won an award for her first collection of short stories. Considering the excellence of this second collection, that’s no surprise … It is a world haunted by death, and the resonances from the dead gripping the living.

“Most people in the middle-class society she depicts are now in the grip of social media, the cellphone as master of their lives — their reality mediated by being seen on a screen, indeed created for the screen. Take the powerful title story, Not the apocalypse I was hoping for. Its protagonist charts, via social media, his activity as he goes through a fire engulfing a city. He wants to be seen as a hero, but his arrogance matches his recklessness. His main concern is how he is viewed by those watching in real time, and he doesn’t come off well in the end to his equally unlikable “subscribers.” He does free a dog, who promptly deserts him, leaving him alone to wander back to the relentless fire and his angry, disappointed self.

“Even stronger in showing social media’s creepy dominance is Mystery barista. Told expertly in the second person, which is often tried with less success by many writers, the story tells of a barista who notices she has become the obsession of a patron. He tweets his version of her life at work, this mystery barista, as followers grow online. Rather than being upset by such obvious creepy behaviour, she quietly embraces it, and starts to control it through changes of behaviour. Who controls whom? Does it matter? What counts is the following on social media. If the story is not about death, it at least postulates a death of personality.

“The dead haunting the living is rivetingly seen in the collection’s best story, The room of pickled foods. 

“This collection reveals an already major writer in command of her craft.”

You can read the full review here by creating a free account with the Winnipeg Free Press.