At the bottom of the sky

At the Bottom of the Sky

By Jeffrey Mackie

A review of At The Bottom Of The Sky by Peter Dubé

Published on November 1, 2007

At The Bottom Of The Sky
Peter Dubé

Livres DC Books
$18.95
paper
158pp
987-1-89719-019-7

In Peter Dubé’s collection of “fictions,” the reader enters into a strange world of the author’s creation, one outside the world of the everyday. Most of the action occurs in dark places: basements, storm sewers, darkened cruising areas. Each of the 11 pieces is named for a figure from Greek mythology. Most are readily recognizable, others less so. Some background knowledge on the reader’s part would be helpful, otherwise the symbolism might be missed.

“Cerberus” is named for the three-headed dog which guards Hades. Its characters find themselves trapped without light in a sewer they had been exploring. A sense of panic is skilfully evoked.

While “At the Bottom of the Sky” is a portrayal of lives on the margins, it is also a meditation on relationships, with poignant observations made in the conversations between characters. In “Paris,” the idea of falling out of love is discussed. A man named Thom says of love that we handle it, obsess over it, and it becomes so smooth that we can’t hold on to it, but ultimately it’s still there, as substantial as it ever was. It is touching observations such as this that make Dubé’s stories compelling. At the same time, these “fictions” are not straightforward narratives and the reader is often left wondering what is real. But that may be what Dubé intends. mRb

Jeffrey Mackie is a Montreal poet and radio host who can be heard weekly on CKUT's "Friday Morning After".

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