They were falling through time together. Moth was being clubbed by Travis in perpetual night, in foreign landscapes. It was Day One. The sky was blue and Moth was dead. He fought Travis in the ring, in a palace, on a barge. He could see every fight imposed on the fight before, the past getting smaller the closer it got to the bottom of the tunnel. This fight was miles and centuries away from the first. They fought in a dream. Travis had a moustache and Moth was a boy. His hair hung down like Stanley Ketchel's. He killed Travis with one thunderous blow to the temple. Hundreds of men surrounded them in a clearing in the woods without a woman in evidence. He had always known Travis.
It's the summer before the Summer of Love in the 1960s. Small-town Ontario. Beer, fights, boredom, sex. Kid stuff.
Tom Walmsley's first novel in eleven years is an expansive, visceral narrative that dissects the lives of young teens loitering at the edge of adulthood. Moth and Beryl are teenaged siblings anaesthetized by their emotionally broken family; it is only in the spectacle of feral violence and the unearthliness of sex that they come alive. But they are not alone: in the circle of teens and adults that surrounds them, the brutality of the empty landscape becomes self-evident, leading them all down a path of betrayal, deception, and even murder.
With an unwavering eye, Tom Walmsley captures perfectly the essence of small-town kids up to no good, if only because it is the only thing they can know. Ferocious and unabating, Kid Stuff is a bittersweet opera, about a time and place that is both then and now.
Walmsley succeeds in making his characters' psychically barren internal landscapes compelling, in part because he understands deeply the rules of plot tension.- Fast Fwd. Weekly
-Fast Foward Weekly
...by far Walmsley's most complex and thoughtful work.- Globe & Mail
-The Globe & Mail