Thursday, May 26, 2016

Baillie, Martha. The Incident Report (Toronto: Pedlar Press, c2009) 195 p.
This novel is in the form of a series of incident reports for the Allan Gardens Branch of the Toronto Public Library System. They are all written by a Public Service Assistant named Miriam Gordon. The head of the branch is Irene Frenkel, who is calm and businesslike. The longest-serving staff member is Nila Narayan. If you are two minutes late relieving Nila she will be exactly two minutes late the next time she relieves you. Nila cuts men's underwear ads out of magazines and posts them above her desk.

Many of Miriam's incident reports describe bizarre behavior of library patrons: the man who empties whole ranges of shelves and stacks the books on the floor; the man who masturbates on books; the woman who thinks her daughter is poisoning her. Miriam finds notes from an unhinged patron in which he addresses Miriam as if she were Gilda from Rigoletto.

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