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Gordon’s dead

I recently finished reading a book which I bought for my mother’s birthday in August. When I gave it to her, I told her that I’d have to borrow it when she was done. My mother, a former English teacher, is one of those people with a list of books to read as long as her arm, so it did take some time to get to it.

The book, Heaven is Small by Emily Schultz, begins with:

Moments after his death, an event he had failed to notice, Gordon Small sought new employment.

That first sentence immediately captures the audience, and the story of Gordon, a recently deceased writer whospent the better part of his life working dead-end jobs, now in death has found a job in publishing as a proofreader for Heaven, a romance novel publishing house. The dead 30-something is bombarded by images of his ex-wife, who’s new novel once again overshadows him. Eventually Small puts two and two together and finds a means to contact his ex from the grave.

It sounded interesting, and that’s why I chose it for my mother. It’s hard to buy literature for someone, as it’s always a wonder if they’ll like it, but I figured a novel by a Toronto writer could perhaps peak my mother’s interest in the local literary community, something I know nothing about. I went with the idea that I was interested in reading it, and hopefully that was good enough. Now that I’ve read it, I’ll talk more in depth with my mother about her thoughts on it, beyond “weird.”

My thoughts, however, are that it’s great. It’s an interesting situation that Small finds himself in, and he’s surrounded by a very interesting cast of characters. It’s a very quick read, and a great way to spend a Saturday. Schultz’s narrative is witty and compelling. I suggest you read it. Did you know there was this great tool called the Toronto Public Library? You can borrow a copy from there, FOR FREE! There’s a bit of a line, but here’s the link.

Next up: Overqualified by Joey Comeau & Fear of Fighting by Stacey May Fowles. Stacey’s awesome.

1 thought on “Gordon’s dead”

  1. Here are my notes that I wrote on Heaven is Small.

    Strange novel. Not surprising since it was a gift (for Mother’s Day) from my son Adam.
    Gordon Small unknowingly dies and takes the subway to his new job at Heaven Publishing, a satire on Harlequin-type romance novels and office politics/relationships, and the corporate grind. The characters have bodies, but no body fluids. This is a good thing, IMHO. Gordon realizes early on that he hasn’t peed or pooed in a long time. That’s when he finally understands that he’s dead.
    I liked Schultz’s insights and I enjoyed her wit. She uses “whilst” I word that is often found in romances and that turns my stomach over and over again. I’m hoping that its use is satirical. I wondered if Gordon was really in purgatory or if he, like Dante, was our guide to purgatory. Or are we living in purgatory now?

    Thanks for the novel. Even weird reading can be enlightening and enjoyable.


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