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.
Anna Leventhal’s acclaimed short story collection Sweet Affliction (Invisible Publishing) won the Quebec Writers’ Federation Concordia University First Book Prize and was named one of the best books of 2014 by the CBC. Her writing has appeared in Geist, Matrix, Maisonneuve, The Montreal Review of Books, and several short fiction anthologies. She was nominated for the Journey Prize, won a Quebec Writing Competition award, and was shortlisted for a Canada Writes award. She lives in Montreal.
Chosen as one of the CBC’s Best Books of 2014.
“Sweet Affliction’s reviews have been positive across the board, and rightly so. It’s a collection that reads more like a mid-career statement than a tentative debut.” — Montreal Gazette
“Anna Leventhal [is] one of Montreal’s quietly beloved literary personalities.” — Cult MTL
“Sweet Affliction is an insightful piece of fiction filled with dark grace… Leventhal’s stories are able to guide us through full ranges of emotions that are often only attainable in a longer work of fiction.” — Ottawa Review of Books
“A subtle yet powerful debut… This is a collection to be read slowly, and one that will stick with its readers after they’re done.” — Inaudible
“Sweet Affliction is a book that refuses to sugarcoat the lives of its characters, offering readers the kind of glass-half-empty perspective that can be refreshing in its honesty.” – The Bull Calf Review
“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 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
“It’s a joy to read.” – The Globe & Mail
“Sweet Affliction has the ability to make you bark with laughter, choke back sobs, and gasp in wonder, sometimes in the span of a few lines.” – Quill & Quire
“Leventhal excels at dark humour.” – Montreal Review of Books
“…This collection of stories is wonderful…I’m going to lend my copy to a friend to read, but I will want it back, because this is a book to read again. – Halifax Chronicle Herald
“I loved this little collection. Leventhal’s prose is jammed with similes and metaphors that slap you in the face like you’ve been hit with a dead rodent. I often read these gems and jealously said to myself, damn, I wish I had written that.” – Christian McPherson