Nerys Parry's Man and Other Natural Disasters

by Shaun Hunter

Calgary Through the Eyes of Writers

Cottonwood season in Calgary (Photo: Shaun Hunter)

Cottonwood season in Calgary (Photo: Shaun Hunter)

A middle-aged man who repairs books at the Central Library and lives in a Chinatown apartment with his frail gay lover. A young woman who comes to the city with a wave of Ontario migrants who “seed the city with fancy coffees and bagel bars.” A novel that wanders the streets of 1990s Calgary in all kinds of weather.


The poplars that line the residential streets are pollinating, and a snow of yellow covers everything – the roofs, the paths, the parked cars. It collects in gutters and eaves troughs, in the small cracks in the sidewalk. It is as though a second winter has descended on the city.

It is not so easy, here, to shake off the long months of cold. They cling to you like guilt, and for so long, you almost can’t believe there is such a thing as the forgiveness of spring.


Nerys Parry, Man & Other Natural Disasters (Winnipeg: Enfield & Wizenty, 2011)