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The Broken Record Technique

The Broken Record Technique

"[Henderson's] work is urban, contemporary and daring."
-The Vancouver Sun




"If I'm writing a new story, I set out to fail miserably - and if I'm not willing to completely fail, I'm playing too safe."

Lee Henderson has been called the equivalent of "Samuel Beckett meets the Butthole Surfers." by the Vancouver Sun. In The Broken Record Technique, his first book of short fiction, Lee Henderson evokes a world both utterly strange and achingly familiar. Pubescent boys lost in sumo wrestler costumes battle it out in a suburban yard as their parents stake the odds. A boy disappears from his home, taken by a man who looks exactly like his father. A young man spends a potentially heroic day with his wife at the new wave pool, while trying to save his marriage.

These are loopy, eerily engaging stories both afflicted and inspired by the profound isolation and psychic drift that are inherent in a world of talk-show television, mega-malls and suburban sprawl.


  • Penguin Canada, April 2002



  • One of the stories from The Broken Record Technique, "Sheep Dub", was selected for the 2000 Journey Prize Anthology
  • Picked as one of the Globe And Mail's "TEN CANADIAN WRITERS TO WATCH"
  • Winner of the Danuta Gleed Literary Award 2002




"Henderson's ear for dialogue is as keen as Harold Pinter's."
- NOW Toronto

"Henderson's characters are like people tracked by hidden cameras; I wanted alternately to snort in derision at their block-headedness and to give in to spasms of sorrow. The mocking option soon wore thin, a flimsy armour against Henderson's sharp scrutiny of human patterns - their absurdity, their inevitably, their danger ... Another treat: Henderson's conversations,especially in family contexts ... bring home how rarely writers capture the rhythms of real speech. His skill with dialogue suggests, even rivals, that master of elliptical talk prose, David Mamet."
- The Globe and Mail

"Lee Henderson's Broken Recod Technique, presents quirky characters in intriguing situations in a thoughtful and technically innovative debut collection about close relaationships wracked by anxieties, phobias, and the obstacles to clear communication ... Henderson's flair for grabby titles or oddball characters makes amply clear this is a writer who wants to take risks."
- Books In Canada

"Forget about your classic literary hero, the character whose fatal flaw or fork-in-the-road decision sets off the story line with all the calculated intensity of releasing the handle of a pinball machine. In the world of Lee Henderson's stories, the characters have woken up one day to find themselves caroming off the bumpers of circumstance with little idea how they got there, even less how they'll get out. The 10 stories in this collection by Henderson, a Vancouver journalist and author, bring characters whose weaknesses and deformities attract us, all conveyed through beguiling language that makes us care about their lives and how things turn out ... Henderson's dialogue flows like water on the page. His prose snags on your mind, reels you in, holds surprises."
- The Hamilton Spectator

"Lee Henderson rearranges the molecules of our work-a-day world to create an utterly beguiling universe of sad idiot-savant singers, football-headed boys, wise marmots, agitated men and lost children -- a furiously tender and ferociously intelligent universe that had me alternating hee-haws with donkey-sobs. That he somehow manages to do this using just the 26 letters of the plain old English alphabet makes The Broken Record Technique an authentic work of heartbreaking genius."
- Zsuzsi Gartner, author of All the Anxious Girls on Earth

"Lee Henderson will fill the avenues of your ear's kingdom with honeyed words, but beware. The Broken Record Technique is also shape-shifting mischief, the blind-black suburban evening, that malicious strand of neck-high wire."
- Mark Anthony Jarman, author of 19 Knives

"In The Broken Record Technique, Lee Henderson's harrowingly nervy, elegant stories reveal a command of an exquisitely expressive instrument playing to the dark compass within us, raising characters who walk the talk and live and breathe and eat. What a dreamboat gift to the reader: deep, funny, cat-walk stylish, heartbreakingly tough-tender, pitch-perfect stories to savor over and over -- how does he do that? - with the sweetest pleasure."
- Elise Levine, author of Driving Men Mad



Lee Henderson Lee Henderson is the author of the award-winning short story collection The Broken Record Technique and the novel The Man Game. He is a contributing editor to the art magazines Border Crossings and Contemporary and has published fiction and art criticism in numerous periodicals. His fiction has twice been featured in the Journey Prize Anthology. He lives in Vancouver.

(photo credit: Mia Cunningham)


Other titles by this author: The Man Game
The Road Narrows as You Go

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