Pasha Malla knows joy in all of its weird, unsettling, and wondrous forms. In their humor, careful warmth, and straight honesty, his stories capture clearly something odd and beautiful -the unmistakable feeling of empathy. From young couples fighting through the emotional trauma of the modern world to children navigating wayward, forbidden paths of fantasized adulthood, Malla presents characters with feet rooted deep in the familiar and hearts that slowly open to reveal the pain and unexpected love a life accumulates.
The Withdrawal Method gives us worlds where Niagara Falls has run dry, where cream meant to curb skin cell rejuvenation can be purchased, and where ancient frustrated chess masters unwittingly invent machines that alter the course of history. Reminiscent of Lorrie Moore, Haruki Murakami, and George Saunders, these worlds are haunting, captivating, and constructed with a poise and precision that reaches beyond technical skill.
Malla’s is as assured a voice as seen in years, his smooth, mature style punctuated by bursts of wild humor and enlivened by endlessly inventive storytelling. As individual narratives, these stories speak to each side of the protean human psyche, but when taken in together they address with full understanding the fragility of our lives. Pasha Malla knows joy – knows its ugliness, its beauty, its uncertainty – and there is no moment in The Withdrawal Method left untouched by that knowledge.
Pasha Malla was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland and grew up writing poetry and short stories in London, Ontario. Aside from founding his Now Hear This! literacy program in Toronto and completing his M.A. in English Literature at Montreal’s Concordia University, he has contributed fiction and nonfiction to Esquire, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Walrus, Prism International, and the Globe and Mail. The Withdrawal Method was first published by Toronto’s House of Anansi Press in May of 2008. Malla’s first book of poetry, All Our Grandfathers Are Ghosts, will be out in October 2008 from Snare Books in Montreal.