Valery the Great

Reviews of  Valery the Great


  • Her voice is scathing, very funny, her stories twisting at the end to leave me a bit stunned. … I loved this book, a short story collection whose curation had as much thought put into it as the stories themselves, a fantastic package with a gorgeous design. In addition to considerable talent, there is furious energy at work here, McCluskey giving it her all, and as a result, reading was a pleasure.

Pickle Me This

  • McCluskey is at her finest when she uses sharp humour and skillful, economic description to communicate her fatalistic worldview.

The Globe & Mail

  • Masterfully crafted short stories expose remarkable qualities of ordinary people … This whole collection is about the unusual. These are stories about people who are ordinary, people who don’t stand out in the crowd and yet somehow, they do extraordinary things … This is an eclectic, darkly comedic collection, entertaining in their content and hard hitting in their message.

The Halifax Chronicle Herald

  • It may say something about Canada and Canadians that one of our canonical twentieth-century novels was called Beautiful Losers. … it’s the many unique characters and settings that stay with the reader and make this collection well worth reading. Not all of McCluskey’s losers are beautiful, but there is real beauty in Valery the Great.

Prairie Fire

  • Obviously, there should be more stories about circus bears. Fortunately, Journey Prize finalist Elaine McCluskey has written Valery the Great, about an ursine hockey player and the performing humans around him, an eccentric, intriguing ensemble. … Valery the Great gives his name to McCluskey’s new collection of stories (Anvil Press). It’s a book full of eccentric characters and offbeat situations. It’s also great fun.

Uptown Magazine

  • By turns comic, pathetic, and tenderly tragic, Valery the Great is a charming collection.

Quill & Quire