Set in the swinging sixties and each decade since, Cocktail reveals the schism between the lives we build up around us and our deepest hidden selves.
A girl receives a bedtime visit from a drunken cocktail party guest, who will haunt her fantasies for years. A lonely professional tries to convince herself that the working-class boyfriend she dumped in 1984 is her one true love. A young mother discovers underneath the wallpaper a striking portrait that awakens inconvenient desires. A middle-aged man seeks to distract himself from the mess he’s made of his marriage by flirting with a stranger on a country road. From the parking lot at Disney World to a Chinese restaurant in Halifax to an old-growth forest in BC, these intimate, immersive stories explore life’s watershed moments, in which seemingly insignificant details—a pot of hyacinths, a freshly painted yellow wall—and the most chance of encounters come to exert a tidal pull.
Praise for Cocktail
“Alward sets her protagonists down at personal crossroads so astutely observed that it is impossible to look away. We watch with hope, amusement, and dismay, but also—and this is her uncanny power as a storyteller—with the disquieting sense that we, too, have been caught in the mirror.”
—Anne Marie Todkill, author of Orion Sweeping
“The stories in Lisa Alward’s Cocktail are small wonderments, marked by their intense focus on the telling interplay between wives and husbands, children and parents, and intimate strangers that recalls the early work of Alice Munro.”
—Craig Davidson, author of The Saturday Night Ghost Club