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Matthew Fox


Matthew Fox is the author of the novel This Is It and the story collection Cities of Weather. He grew up in Ontario, before moving to Montreal, London, and New York, where he received his MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. His work has appeared in Grain, New Quarterly, Big Fiction, Toronto Life, and Maisonneuve.

Excerpt from This is It by Matthew Fox (Great Plains Press, 2024)


A scene at a queer bar in Toronto in 1937

Before, when Fiona pictured what the bar would be like, she thought of the Canadian-Italian Club, as if she’d arrive to see her father cackling over cards with a bunch of Italian men in unbuttoned shirts. What she found instead was more like the reception room after Mass. The men were clustered on one side of the room, while the women stayed on the other. It was a makeshift tavern with a dozen circular tables made from what appeared to be huge, empty, industrial spools. The floor was concrete and littered with cigarette butts and peanut shells. A haze of smoke lingered in the air, thin clouds in the room’s stratosphere, lit by candles. They were on every table, rammed into wine bottles coated with the drippings of their predecessors. Fiona identified the music as Count Bassie. A bar had been fashioned out of wooden crates, and was staffed by an elaborately made-up woman in an emerald gown. The low ceiling, striped with ducts and pipes, flattened the din of chatter and music, as though it were all happening in Fiona’s head. The space had promise, comfort, fun. It had vibrancy and laughter. It was not church, in the end, or even the Canadian-Italian Club, but Fiona saw that it shared something with those places. A relaxation. The sense that the people recognized something of themselves in each other. They weren’t Catholic or Italian, but possessed the ease of being with their own, the comfort of knowing that what made you different made you the same. 

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