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Praise for Taking the Stairs
"Taking the Stairs is subtle, desperation-laced with bits of hope that compel it forward with improbable force. It’s Stiles’ best, and a winner by all accounts."
"Taking the Stairs is an utterly winning, Kafkaesque novel, set first in small town Glenville and later in Toronto, about Jarod Palmer’s desperate and inescapable love affair with being a writer, being dumped by calculating, duplicitous girls and tortured by the obtuse and well-meaning Elliot. From beginning to end – from teenage adoration for Lana Banana, to traumatic talent contests, penniless days spent in bed, low-paid jobs, rejection slips, phone calls, film scripts and short stories – it is horny, abject, real, funny and grand."
"Taking the Stairs is a coming-of-age novel that is all telling details and offbeat touches. It is a novel by someone who still knows the power of small town secrets. The story follows Nova Scotia lad Jarod Palmer from his ill-at-ease youth, trying to please his flibbertigibbet gal pal Lana Banana, to early middle age as a Toronto writer working crap gigs waiting for the big break. It's funny, warm, odd and vulnerable as all get-out."
—Ithaca Times (New York)
"Taking the Stairs is a humorous window into the life of a thirtysomething who for right or wrong is so dedicated to his love of writing that he risks giving up himself in the process. It's a light read worth taking to the beach this summer."
"Stiles’ bleak comedy is guaranteed to make even the most malnourished writer laugh out loud."
—Mike Landry, Novel Things
"Getting started as an author in Toronto isn't easy. Taking the Stairs is a novel about struggling writer Jarod Palmer, who earns the money he needs to stay alive doing whatever it takes from telemarketing to gofering, while trying to make the most of his writing career. He sees success in his grasp, but characters from his overprotective mother to seedy film producers strew obstacles along his path. Taking the Stairs is a gripping tale with everyday problems that readers will relate to - such as paying the rent!"
—Midwest Book Review
"There have been streams of books about the process of being a writer (and artist), but Stiles (a Nova Scotia-born writer now living in London, England) approaches the subject with warmth, humour and economy."
"...Taking the Stairs is a clever, well-crafted work of fiction. Stiles's wit and the multifarious narrative elements that comprise this novel make it a fun and thought-provoking read. Fans of Atlantic Canadian fiction will not be disappointed!"