The Montreal Fiores

November 7, 2009

plan-metroDavid Fiore

We’re not usually in the habit of reviewing unpublished works, but David Fiore’s online short story collection is a veritable diamond in the rough that might not make its way to you soon enough. Besides, after publishing a flippant review of his novella Chimera Lucida, we owe him one. But that’s not the only reason to check out his WordPress site.

The Montreal Fiores is a collection of charmingly skewed recollections that take the reader everywhere from the sordid depths of Verdun to the West Island. They lovingly recreate the down-and-out, shoestring adventures of our quiet hero, a snarky intellectual with a penchant for the unexpected and at times ridiculous. Make no mistake, the Montreal Fiores are not about David Fiore, nor are they memoires proper. These are stories about Montreal, with its beautiful losers, and the threat of genius slipping through the cracks alongside the riffraff. Fiore is not an I but an eye, and a damned good one at that.

Anyone who’s visited the Faubourg will laugh at Le Fuckedbourg’s dry account of the wasteland that spans between Guy-Concordia and Atwater’s mecca for the pathetic and forlorn, and perhaps even shed a tear, depending on the sharpness of their nostalgia. Le charme discret de Madame Bourgeois is a bitter ode to slumlords everywhere, with its tenant wars and Régie du logement ending. Ever wonder about the kind of louts who read pornography in public? Red Planet Funnies has got a tale for you. Something for everyone indeed – this is the real underbelly of our claustrophobic little island. And I for one appreciate the gift of sampling it from a safe distance. We’re talking track marks, hell-holes, clowns, and hookers. Fiore has seen it all.

Anti-intellectuals and those overwhelmed by the cryptic verbosity of Chimera Lucida will be relieved to learn that The Montreal Fiores takes on a much more natural, candid voice. Fans of word-play and Fiore’s wit will be relieved to find healthy doses of it punctuating the oft acerbic tone. When it comes to sharp, punchy dialogue Fiore succeeds – “This is a conversation with balls!” – and the never boring witticisms hit the mark and reel you in for more.

Still, Fiore does at times lose sight of the uninitiated: Le Marquee du stade could be about the mating habits of the Yuktun for all I know, and every so often an establishment creeps in whose nature I can’t quite decipher. In an unusual way however, the flaws add to the charm, and make these stories all the more genuine and heart-felt. What better way to examine the undulations of weirdos and dead-beats than through the yarns of a tender critic? Get thee to the internet O- philiac, this is an endeavour with balls. Reviewed by Marianne Perron, 2009.