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About this book
When Deirdre invited me to the baby shower I just thawed the gopher in the microwave, turned it inside out, scraped it clean, and stuffed it the old-fashioned way, with cotton batting. Then I posed it to stand on its back legs, the cute way gophers do sometimes when they stand near their homes. I finished up the details—nails, nose, eyes, teeth—to give it a cute, inquisitive look. Sure, it was no Robert Bateman, but it was pretty good given my time constraints.
A taxidermist presents a stuffed gopher to a new mother at her baby shower; a trip to a cheesy roadside tourist trap exposes the flaws in a young couple's relationship; and a woman finds herself attracted, against all her natural instincts, to the slovenly proprietor of a drive-thru hamburger joint.
Tender, satirical, and occasionally absurd, Barb Howard's new story collection Western Taxidermy is a perfect introduction to one of Western Canada's most high-spirited literary voices.
"Smart, funny, disturbing and sad, these stories will raise the hackles of your imagination."
"Barb Howard's seemingly straightforward collection of people and dogs, wounded deer and stuffed gophers, are anything but. She's a master of the sublime, the understated, and the subtle. Howard can pause your heart, engage your mind, and make you laugh out loud. Don't be fooled."
"In Western Taxidermy, Barb Howard serves up stories of comedy and tragedy in unflinching detail, underscored with bang-on observations and razor-sharp wit, all presented in spare, evocative language."
"Bizarre, disturbing, sad, hilarious and haunting. Howard's stories stir the reader's imagination."
"Not only would I recommend reading it, I would recommend re-reading it not long after."
"Western Taxidermy is an undeniably funny book—laugh out loud funny—as a result of keen observations, honesty, and dry humour on the part of serious characters."
"Grab it for a satisfying, thoughtful tease on your palate before we tumble headlong into snow season." full review