“While it’s become de rigueur to compare emerging short story practitioners with Munro, in the case of Willis, the comparison feels apt. Like Munro, Willis packs entire lifetimes into a scant few pages. And like Munro’s best work, these are stories concerned with the rueful backward glance; the almost archeological fascination with the lost ephemera of daily life … While Willis’ concerns often veer into pop culture, she has a particular gift for exploring the simmering, underground power of teenage sexuality. Whether hooking up in the suburbs, skinny-dipping at summer camp, or trading shopping mall blowjobs for cash, her teenagers are in a perpetual struggle for autonomy, rapture, revelation, or simply a way to pass the time. As a whole, these are stories that eschew the tendency of many contemporary writers to call too much attention to acrobatic language or cool, ironic prose. Her writing is crisp, economical, unfailingly generous. These are compassionate stories, anchored in the belief that our lives achieve meaning through the stories we tell ourselves about our own experiences … It’s this off-kilter two-step between deviance and redemption, shame and self-acceptance that imbues the work with its rich emotional power. This is a fully mature, beautiful realized collection. Indeed, in this dazzling suite of stories, Willis cements her rightful claim as a major new voice in Canadian fiction.”
Alex Reisner explores Book3, the database Meta uses to train generative-AI, and finds Shakespeare, Bukowski, and How to Housebreak Your Dog in 7 Days (among others).