A pregnancy test is taken at a wedding, a bad diagnosis leads a patient to a surprising outlook, and a civic holiday becomes a dystopian nightmare. By turns caustic, tender, and creepily hilarious, Sweet Affliction reveals the frailties, perversions, and resilience of Anna Leventhal’s cast of city-dwellers. Shiftless youths, a compulsive collector of cigarette butts, and a dying pet rat populate fifteen sharply-observed and darkly funny stories that suck at the marrow of modern life.
Winner of the Quebec Writers’ Federation Concordia University First Book Prize.
Chosen as one of the CBC’s Best Books of 2014.
Leventhal’s work grasps multiple and brazen connections between sisters, lovers, strangers, friends. These stories wander and please. They knife unexpectedly. Truth is lodged in all the cuts. These stories “know the things energy can do.”
Tamara Faith Berger, author of Maidenhead
Sweet Affliction is — no big deal or anything — one of the most successful, high-functioning, sometimes perfect collections of short stories I’ve read in recent memory.
Andrew Hood, author of The Cloaca
These stories stand Canadian literature on its head — amazing characters, totally original and unexpected situations, absolutely hilarious and heartfelt prose — Anna Leventhal is a one-of-a-kind talent.
Lee Henderson, author of The Man Game
These are serious, vivacious tales, punk-rock and clear-eyed: Karen Russell corkscrewed with Joan Didion, and as compulsive to read as a Michael Chabon novel at full gallop.
Sean Michaels, author of Us Conductors
A joy to read.
The Globe & Mail
A sweet love letter to my writing group by Sean Michaels.