Winnipeg Free Press, Sunday, December 26th, 2004
By Alison Calder

Don’t plan on giving Rachel Zolf’s second book, Masque (Mercury, $16, 85 pages), as a Father’s Day present, unless your father is a first-class rat. Zolf’s book focuses on the character Benny Z-d, whose ebullient public persona translates into an uncaring and hateful private man. Treating his children with contempt and his wife with disdain, Z-d’s word and actions serve as his own indictment.

While Zolf’s story of the bad father is familiar, her narrative successfully skirts the sentimental through her collage-like technique, where the voices of Z-d’s family are intercut with the words of other characters: the critic, the philosopher, the lesbian, the censor.

In real life, the Toronto-based Zolf is the daughter of famous North End-Winnipeg-born media personality Larry Zolf.

She splices the various voices typographically, using a variety of typefaces and spacings to represent how they support or cancel each other.

The result is disjunctive, but with strong narrative strands emerging.

Return to Masque book page.