Sinclair Ross may be Canada’s greatest realist writer. Although best known for As For Me and My House, a brilliant book, his short stories are also stunning. In addition to well-known stories like “The Lamp at Noon” and “The Painted Door,” this book contains exceptional lesser-known stories like the stunning “One’s a Heifer” — which I claim for the horror genre. Watch how Ross builds this paragraph, in which he describes the home of the deranged Arthur Vickers, noting where he starts and where he ends and how he progresses:
It was a large, low-ceilinged room that for the first moment or two struck me more like a shed or granary than a house. The table in the centre was littered with tools and harness. On a rusty cook-stove were two big steaming pots of bran. Next to the stove stood a grindstone, then a white iron bed covered with coats and horse blankets. At the end opposite the bed, weasel and coyote skins were drying. There were guns and traps on the wall, a horse collar, a pair of rubber boots. The floor was bare and grimy. Ashes were littered around the stove. In a corner squatted a live owl with a broken wing.