kevin canty/romy ashby by tom rayfiel

kevin canty: a stranger in this world, vintage contemporaries

A boy fucks a retarded girl down the street. A woman blows a creep’s head off when he tries to make her boyfriend suck his cock. A lifeguard dreams on the job and the baby almost drowns. A husband leaves his wife. A man kills dogs. We are in America, the America of Kevin Canty’s collection, “A Stranger in This World” (Vintage Contemporaries, $10). These stories start just before disaster. Sometimes it is averted; more often, not. The tragedies are undeserved, the escapes unearned. Approeriately, style matches content, short sentences representing a damp sputtering of synapses that passes for thought. With such elemental building blocks, how complex can a fictional creature grow?