A Heart In Port by Emily Givner
Emily Givner, the gifted Canadian author of A Heart in Port, died in 2004 of an allergic reaction. She was but 38 years old at the time. The stories in this book reflect the themes of her life and speak of a generational experience that we shared. This collection of short stories left me wondering what might have been had she had more time to write.
My favorite story in this collection is “Canadian Mint.” This story tells of two drug enhanced Generation X slackers who find themselves building a tall tower of pennies in an apartment out of boredom. They are so enamored with what they’ve done that they decide to build penny towers on the street to make extra money. Although it never fit my personality to live like these characters, I can close my eyes and picture myself walking down the sidewalk finding any number of my college friends doing the exact same things, having the same types of arguments. Reading this short story was like listening to an old friend tell a familiar story. It puts me back to a place and time in my life like “Hey, Jealousy” by the Gin Blossoms or “Interstate Love Song” by the Stone Temple Pilots.
I find it difficult to review short stories. I’ve recently received some wonderful advice on how to read shorter fiction, but I don’t feel as if I can really do them justice. Some of the writing was not as polished as others and this is perhaps a consequence of publishing some of the posthumously. She simply may not have been finished with them. Still, the book is held together by the common threads of music, allergies, and interactions with older men. A Heart in Port is an interesting collection and the cover art is very indicative of its mood. It will never be known what Emily Givner would have done with her talent, but Canada still has this diamond in the rough.
To buy this collection, click here.