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A balance struck between the wild comedy of Famous Players and the psychological realism of White Buick. Its focus is the strangeness and improbability of our relationships, their potent effects upon us, the strange and improbable ways we seek to be free and to be bound, and the stranger and more improbable ways we succeed at both.

Twelve stories, about a tenant who commits suicide in the garage, a housewife who inadvertently gives away a box of medical supplies intended for Sudan, a feckless young man’s relationship with a stroke victim, a boy’s obsession with his parents’ female boarder, a confessional dinner party, a property appraiser who believes the end of the world is near, a young man who returns home to find his parents have given away his room, a man who discovers the meaning of life on the roof of his house….

Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Fiction, 1996
Governor General’s Award for Fiction, 1995

praise for The Roaring Girl

“Here are tiny, fiery worlds that make you roar with laughter in the first paragraph, cry in the last. A magical, unmissable, crazily perfect book.”
—Julie Myerson, The Mail on Sunday

“Hollingshead has a way of making the ordinary buckle and twist into something quite bizarre….”
—London Observer

“Wild, weird, and wonderful: Hollingshead has perfectly fitted his voice to his subject and crafted these tales with astonishing skill.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Like the characters themselves, Hollingshead’s crisp, energetic prose offers surprising pleasures — expressions unique enough to press the narratives forward, but not so odd that they are halting. These lean narratives never feel forced and are frequently funny. Perhaps most impressively, the humor seems completely natural, as human as grief or ecstasy.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Hollingshead’s language…is spare and convincing and sweetly compatible with its world.”
—The Stranger Literary Supplement

“Life is an adventure for the characters in these relaxed yet meticulously observed stories…. No deviation from the norm is so minor that it slips beneath their radar.”
—Boston Sunday Globe

“The stories…are all delightful, shimmering jewels…. Truly worth buying.”
—Library Journal

“Readers who return to the book time and again will find plenty of occasion to celebrate Hollingshead’s eerily original, powerfully distinctive voice.”
—Time Out New York

“With [Flannery O’Connor] Hollingshead shares an eagle-eyed ability to evoke the secret madnesses, the memories of past abuse, and the conflicts over guilt that seethe under the surfaces among middle-aged people’s fair-to-middling way of life…. [But Hollingshead’s] gifts are his own, and they are large. They are also gifts he shares.”
—Quill & Quire

“Like Northern Exposure, Hollingshead’s work is goofy in the best sense, and he gives us philosophy and sentiment that are quicker, wilder, and more darkly shadowed. Hollingshead may set a story in Saturday Evening Post territory, but it will call for illustration by George Grosz rather than Norman Rockwell.”
—The Malahat Review

“…a fictional sensibility at once contemplative and spontaneous, whimsical and harsh…”
—Charles Foran, Maclean’s

“Writing as funny, insinuating and endearing as this cannot go unbought much longer.”
—Bert Archer, The Globe and Mail

“You come out of Hollingshead’s stories convinced what you’ve witnessed there was all new. The architecture of lives and situations might be recognizable enough, but nobody carved the top off the ant farm at quite this depth, quite this angle, before. And how uncommon the cross-section, how marvelously revealing the view, how unsettling, and how funny…. No question: The Roaring Girl announces a roaring great talent.”
—Stephen Smith, The Montreal Gazette

“These are masterful stories, marvelously nuanced, accurate and well-made — but what they speak to is the sensing of being mastered, whether by plenitude or by poverty. It’s a wonderfully attractive thing in a writer this good. He knows the strangeness of this dialogue, the weirdness of these lives; he cannot ever get over it. He’s in perpetual love, perpetual pain — because it’s all so astonishing and so recalcitrant, and because we keep on missing the point.”
—Constance Rooke, Canadian Literature

Act Normal book cover image
Act Normal book cover image
Act Normal book cover image
Act Normal book cover image