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I Still Don't Even Know You by Michelle BerryI Still Don't Even Know You by Michelle Berry
ISBN: 9780888013682
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I Still Don't Even Know You

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Winner of the 2011 Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher

You could be married for over 10 years and still not know your spouse. You might think you know everything about your dad but still he surprises you at your mother’s death bed. You think you know everyone in your small town but you’ll never know the dark secret your drinking buddy hides in his heart.

Dysfunctional characters create tension in situations where they teeter on the edge of life. Psychological or situational twists pop readers’ eyes wide open and force them to pay attention. Berry uses rapid-fire dialogue to build tension and emotion. Despite the underlying dark tones, the stories carry life and hope, human kindness—and strangeness.

Each story is a vivid snapshot of a raw moment in the lives of people at a crossroads. A married couple in the title story, “I Still Don’t Even Know You,” question the foundation of their relationship during a winter getaway. In “The Cat,” a life of endless purgatory stretches before a newly-wed husband. The wives in “Five Old Crows,” contemplate ways to pass the time ranging from murder to writing. And the title character in “Martin” drives around a boring country town with a shotgun in his car, his dissatisfaction with his empty life mounting as townspeople talk about recent mysterious murders.

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Advanced Praise

The stories in I still don't even know you are layered and full of exquisite surprises. Michelle Berry expertly details people you know, and people you hope you never will—but either way I still don't even know you is spectacular. Not to mention a while lot of fun.

Emily Schultz, author of Heaven is Small

You'll recognize Berry's characters right away because they live just down the street, at the intersection of everything you even wanted and what you really have.

Peter Darbyshire, author of Please and The Warhol Gang

Awards
Winner of the 2011 Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher
Book Club Questions

1. Is the title, "I Still Don't Even Know You" appropriate to this collection. If so, why?

2. The mother's fear in "The Good Little Girl" is that her daughter, Missy, will turn out to be just like her. Do you think Missy will be like her mother? If so, what does she do to show that this will happen? And is this, after all, a bad thing?

3. In "Dogs" the main character is a writer. She mentions that if she could just name the dog in the story she is writing then everything that is going on around her, and everything in her story, will turn out all right. However, the woman herself is never named in the main story. Neither is her husband. Is this important to the story? If so, why?

4. In "The Cat" Nigel meets a young girl in the hospital emergency room. What do you think has happened to her? Why is it significant that Nigel meets her?

5. The story, "Making Spirits Bright" has a very unusual structure. Can you discuss the structure and explain why it is unusual?

6. "Henderson Has Scored for Canada" is based on the 1972 hockey games between Canada and Russia. How do the games mirror what is happening in Maggie's home life? Is Maggie's misinterpretation of what is happening around her believable?

7. In "Drowning" Laura and Doug come to a stand still. What do you think would happen if the story continued on?

8. What is Julie trying to tell Steve in the story, "Convenience"? Does he understand what she is saying to him?

9. In "Every Summer, in Every Watery Town all over the World, There is at Least One Drowning," Marianne tries to keep her two worlds separate. What happens when the two worlds collide and why is this appropriate for the story? Is the ending depressing or do you, as reader, actually feel relief?

10. In "Be Kind to Your Children" the little kids on the beach see the patients as "a bunch of lousy angels." What does this signify to the reader? What does it signify to Meg? Does it change Meg's opinion of her work and life?

11. Is there any discernible reason for the ordering of the stories in this collection? Are there linked themes? If so, what are they?

12. What is your favourite story and why?

13. What is your least favourite story and why?

14. Even though the characters all feel that they don't really know each other -- no matter how hard they try -- do you feel this is true of them? In real life does anyone ever really know anyone else?