Here’s what Joshua Robinson had to say …
As curator of The Danforth Review, Toronto’s Michael Bryson contributes much more than merely thoughts on page. His short works in The Lizard and Other Stories hint at the subtle contradictions inextricably interwoven into the dual fabric of perception and interpretation; of love cast against the existential enmities of loneliness, power, and tragedy.
Love — as told through the experiences of characters running from home, searching for meaning, and struggling to regain a sense of direction in an increasingly hostile ethos — is that great binding force that exists both subjectively and objectively, residing in the fragile middle-ground where that nascent sense of fulfillment lingers right before the pin drops, and the bright and swirling grand illusion of complete happiness gives way to a loneliness born of a powerfully tragic misconstrual of what one truly needs to feel most alive.
This is a collection of short stories that speaks of the inner-battling between pride and compliance; of the ebb and flow of a constantly compromising world with others and within oneself. Where love, and indeed our sense of place, is hardwired and whittled by our reflections on those around us: of how we place ourselves next to them, of how we mentally superimpose our stories on the lives of those very others. Transcendence when grounding is needed; life, opaque and incommunicable, yet we persevere, and draw together the fragments of former selves to construct a new form, one that will exist to precede the next reconstitution; constantly changing, constantly emerging from the wakes that we create.