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We have all likely heard the criticism that Canadian fiction is too aesthetically conservative: committed to realism, prudish, backwards-looking, and dominated by small-town settings.

Our dominant author of short fiction, after all, is so identified with small-town Ontario that the rural countryside beyond Toronto is known as Alice Munro Country.

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With her elements of fantasy or magical realism in a world of pop-culture-saturated urbanites, Carolyn Black at times resembles Zsuzsi Gartner, whose collection Better Living Through Plastic Explosives was shortlisted for the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

In both of these stories, she suggests that modern life is reducing people to numbers or brand images.

The woman in “Serial Love,” the speed-dating story, knows the men she is meeting only by their number and while on her date thinks back to her past boyfriends, who are also only identified by number.

With patient portals readily available now, many times when a patient reads their doctor’s notes after a visit they’re surprised to see information recorded that wasn’t at all what they believed they said to their doctor. But if our medical record is the basis for members of our medical team to interact with us, there are many circumstances where it’s vitally important to make sure that it’s an accurate accounting of our situation. Watch for our next issue for Part 2 of this series.

What do you do if there’s an inaccuracy in your medical record?

Characters respond in a similarly passive way when several of the stories take flights into the magical.

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