Today at Necessary Fiction, I review a short story collection by Canadian writer Derek Hayes – The Maladjusted.

As a collection, these stories ask the reader to consider a person’s awkward ways and unacceptable behaviors—from the aging immigrant working as an aide in a public school classroom to an otherwise “normal” young man obsessed with his girlfriend’s facial hair. Obsession is a key word for the cadre of voices and personalities in The Maladjusted, obsession and self-esteem, as each of these people overthink and worry themselves about both small and big issues of daily life. There is definitely charm in this fixation, a revelation of the quirks that make us human. At the same time, Hayes makes it clear, in “Maybe You Should Get Back Here,” or “A Wonderful Holiday,” that his characters suffer for their anxieties, and that people often turn away from their graceless behaviors to judge or pity them.

You can read the entire review here.