Derek McCormack's Dark Rides (Gutter Press, 104 pages, $12.95 paper), labelled "A Novel in Stories", is actually not quite either. It's a group of short prose pieces that, much like an album of photographs, captures scenes in the life of the narrator, a gay teenager named Derek McCormack. His environment-a small Canadian town in 1952-is certainly inhospitable to his sexual orientation, and it is his struggle to come to terms with his own sense of self within such an environment that is at the core of each "chapter".
Although the pared-down style is effective in places, the overall result is not very satisfying. There are too many undeveloped fragments attempting to masquerade as a whole. It's like recognizing the incompleteness of a snapshot: we can't help but wonder what happened before and after the picture was taken.