IN Imperfect Moments (Polestar, 176 pages, $14.95 paper), her second collection of short stories, Candis Graham depicts the highly politicized world of the lesbian in all its variety, from the tatty domesticity of "Aprons and Homemade Bread" to the exultant realm of the artist in "Little Scraps and Nothingnesses." It is to the life of the single mother and the lesbian both in and out of the closet that Graham introduces us: a life of public transit and not a lot of money, of friendship, love, rage, and confusion, where "taboo" topics of menstruation, masturbation, and menopause are handled with forthrightness and humour.
But - there's no escaping it - it is a highly politicized world. Men here are little more than threatening and potentially violent ghosts hovering on the periphery. Their connection to the women in these stories is one of fear and enmity - at the very least, of difference. They may rule the world ("...she realized the news on TV was done by men," muses 15year-old Isabelle in "Threads." "Could women be reporters?"), but they are not central to the world of these women.
The polemic note is perhaps inevitable, yet it jars. Graham is unquestionably sincere, but sincerity alone does not produce art; and where, as here, the combative element jostles with the imaginative, it is regrettably the imaginative that loses out.