The Sound of All Flesh (2005) --
Winner 2005 Relit Award;
Finalist for the Hugh MacLennan Prize
The Sound of All Flesh is a volume of
apocalyptic stories full of loud sounds and bright colors. Daily life
becomes infused with a hallucinatory brightness and Rabelaisian energy and
excess. In Barry Webster's unique stories, earthquakes happen when people go
too long without sex, a grand piano becomes a sailboat crossing the ocean
and clowns hiding in the Canadian Shield suddenly invade the suburbs of
Toronto. We meet a sexually-impotent gay fashionista, a travel writer
terrified of being photographed, a suddenly hydrophobic competitive swimmer
and an opera singer who finds inspiration by bathing in tubs of margarine.
These stories, which meander from Switzerland's imaginary avenues of cash to
the streets of Toronto and Berlin, are musical scores, full of unexpected
crescendos and sudden fortissimos.
Webster humanizes his bizarre tales with humor and and unexpected moments of
pathos. Readers will find unforgettable characters among the sound and fury
of Webster's language, characters who struggle to overthrow their
The Sound of All Flesh brings us into another world, at once
hilarious, disturbing and poignant. Stories in the collection have been
short listed for the National Magazine Award and the CBC-Quebec prize.
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