The Butcher of Penetang

By Betsy Trumpener

Categories: Fiction, Short Stories
Imprint: Caitlin Press
Paperback : 9781894759304, November 2008


Betsy Trumpener's raw fiction hits quickly, cuts deeply and lingers on in the imagination. Her urgent, unique voice pushes fiction north of what's real. The Butcher of Penetang carves up rare slices of savoury stories that are both tough and delicious. A child missing in a dangerous part of town; a draft dodger with bloody hands; a robber armed with a hairbrush; a refugee who rescues poetry from his prison cell; moose hunters chasing snow flakes. The people in these edgy stories cut cocaine into comfort food, push sex into the snow and chase speeding ambulances in the dead of winter. Trumpener's debut collection is aching, funny, powerful and sharp.


"The stories in Trumpener’s first collection are sharp and unconventional. They are short, often less than two pages, and they sometimes lack the beginning/middle/end of the conventional short story. But these stories burst from the page in language that is succinct and mesmerizing… Trumpener picks tiny moments and translates them onto the page with a vividness and intensity that makes this a remarkable debut collection."

Halifax Herald

"Trumpener’s writing is odd yet striking, off-putting yet inviting, and at its strongest (in stories like “The Search Party” and “Pop Goes the Weasel!”) it offers readers intimate and privileged access to the lives of its characters. Like Ross, Trumpener brings a poet’s economical toolkit to the short story and in turn, builds a place for herself among our most promising writers in the genre."

Canadian Literature