Rust is a Form of Fire – Joe Fiorito (2015, Guernica Editions Inc., Ontario)
Joe Fiorito, a long-time columnist for the popular newspaper the Toronto Star, offers up what he calls “non-narrative non-fiction” to capture a microcosm within the city of Toronto, Canada. Over the course of three days, he spent several hours sitting near the intersection of Victoria and Queen in the bustling metropolis, and recorded all of his observations of the scenes around him: snippets of conversations, what people were wearing, what they were drinking or eating, what the temperature was, interesting features about buildings around him…you name it. Along the way, he reveals a fascinating portrait of the multiculturalism of the city, of the street people, the poor and ill, the tourists and the urbanites, the babies and the elderly, the workers in the jobs (both mundane and high-powered) – everyone who makes up the personality of the city. It’s a simple concept, but the result is utterly absorbing, and I can’t help but wonder what other writers would come up with if they conducted a similar experiment in other cities of the world.