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Maladjusted, The

de Derek Hayes

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Sixteen clever and insightful stories about people who fail to meet fundamental social or cultural expectations. Hayes' short stories are accessible, immediate, and convenient, and lend themselves to a contemporary, fast-paced audience.
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The collection starts off strong. Each story makes you want to read the next. ( )
  Loni.C. | Aug 17, 2018 |
The Maladjusted by Derek Hayes is a marvelous read. This is a collection of sixteen stories. Except for three stories that are set in Taiwan, Turkey, and Vietnam, most of the stories happen in Toronto--a mosaic of different cultures. The stories vividly portray the people of various walks of life, such as teachers, inland or overseas, people with mental disorders, office workers, an educational assistant, college students, social workers and so on. They are about the people living in Toronto or from Toronto. "Tom and Wilkie," in a different lens, also adds a true part of Toronto.

Some of the stories are about relationship, some are about friendship, and the other ones are about the adjustment to society or environments.

Most of the stories are told in first person--a popular style that enables readers view protagonists closely and directly. Meanwhile the author narrates stories with some subtle details from special angles; the reader can identify with those peculiar moments in real life situations. In "A Feel for America," Samuel practises writing Chinese characters right after he's just arrived and is still suffering a jet lag. Adam who has forged his degree for his teaching job is bossy and fault-finding. Melanie, the protagonist in "That's Very Observant of You," interested in the handsome waiter, covers the pockmarks on her cheeks with her hand when the waiter comes to her. Jim in "The Revisionist" has many quirky moments. In a subway car, he starts to tell strangers, "This is the first time that I've ever worn a tie." After getting angry with the loan rate offered by the bank manager, Jim hurries to another bank. In "The Runner," Alan has never shared an ice-cream with his girlfriend, Carol, as he's afraid of her saliva on the nuts. Furthermore, Alan becomes obsessed with the thin hair on Carol's upper lip. In the longest story, "The lover," Jeremy, a group home member, checks the crackers bought from Shoppers and believes they're full of worms. The kitten grows into a sixteen-years-old cat while Mark is bald and examines his history with women. All these details bring characters to life. The reader wants to know what would become of these people.

I enjoy these fascinating stories, which make me chew them over and also remind me of Anton P. Chekhov's style. Chekov expected the reader to draw out meaning from his stories.

My favorite ones are "A Feel for America" and "The lover." The formal one shines with a sort of life philosophy: the one laughs last laughs best. In the latter one, "Sometimes I think I'm the one who is mentally afflicted," narrated by Mark, the protagonist, rings the bell to me: C'est la vie. ( )
  zoe.r2005 | Mar 22, 2013 |
Derek Hayes is a Canadian author living in Toronto who has put together a riveting collection of short stories revolving around those who just don't quite fit. The Maladjusted, published by Thistledown Press in Saskatoon (my home town, no less) is a book for every short story lover out there.

The first thing I have to say about this little book has to do with the cover. As soon as I saw it I started to itch, just a little. There's nothing sinister about it; just a line of ants crawling up the page. It's the one that has strayed that bothers me. For some reason (one I don't want to spend too much time thinking about) it is that straying ant that makes my scalp itch. I don't like that it has deviated.

That's what the stories inside the cover are like as well. There is something just a little off about the characters; their stories, that makes me slightly uncomfortable. Don't get me wrong - the stories are fantastic and it's not that they are creepy or scary - they just deal with people that don't fit with society's definition of 'normal'. Or perhaps it is that they are just so normal and not what you expect to find in a work of fiction. There were occasions I was, not really forced, maybe asked? to take a look at what goes on in my life and/or thoughts. There are sixteen short stories in this collection and I can see myself re-reading them often. Each story made me happy because they challenged my reality and drew me into the possible realities of people I pass in the street each day. ( )
  DanaBurgess | Feb 16, 2012 |
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Sixteen clever and insightful stories about people who fail to meet fundamental social or cultural expectations. Hayes' short stories are accessible, immediate, and convenient, and lend themselves to a contemporary, fast-paced audience.

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