Goodnight, Sweetheart and Other Stories


From the dilemma of the powerful title story to interlocking ironies and the embrace of moral ambiguity, Richard Teleky’s collection of short fiction demonstrates an impressive range with a rare sureness of touch. These stories suggest how the past drives the present, cornering the individual while offering opportunities for self discovery. In writing that is strong and poignant, Teleky draws the reader into moments of recognition, of loss, and of change.

Chosen one of the best debut books of 1993 by The Toronto Star

The monologue story “Some of the Old Good Feelings” was made into an acclaimed television film in 1995, starring British actor John Neville, for the Bravo TV network

Praise for Goodnight, Sweetheart and Other Stories

“You never know what to expect from a Richard Teleky short story. He speaks in many voices, all surprising, each evocative of an expanding world. I hope he has many more stories to tell.”
– David Plante

“These stories express the hard ambivalence of documentary accuracy and emotional involvement, whether in the voice of a child, a lover, or an old man. An accomplished collection.”
– Jane Rule

“Teleky writes fiction that seems so true it feels as if he just happened to overhear other peoples’ lives and wrote it all down… Whatever the characters Teleky chooses, he manages to vanish behind them, letting their voices take over the stories completely… His people do things right and do their best, but life still doesn’t turn out the way they wanted or expected. Yet they don’t rail against life, but get on with it with acceptance that is neither resignation nor despair, but a kind of sturdy acceptance… This book is a small jewel, and Teleky is a writer to savour.”
The Canadian Forum

“To be human is to be unavoidably sad, Richard Teleky’s new collection of short fiction tells us. Sad, but also wonderful… Teleky has a rich feeling for the complexities of human behavior, and an engaging, uncensorious sympathy for our weaknesses and failings, though he is as quick to celebrate those brief illuminations of joy that make it all worthwhile. His best stories – ‘Rain for the Weekend,’ ‘Not in China,’ ‘Notes on Parking’ – build subtly to a quite cathartic sadness and wonder, while the very best, ‘Tale of Woe, could serve as the story one would use to explain all human sadness and wonder, all human complexity, to the proverbial Martian.”
Books in Canada

Goodnight, Sweetheart is an edgy and diverse collection that pulls apart the fine threads of family and community… These stories are as effective as black-and-white snapshots, highly centered and with a fine contrast… This collection is about separations, gaps between one person and another, the sadness that separation suggests, but it is also about the wisdom that separation can provide. For all their brevity, Teleky’s stories are fully realized.”
University of Toronto Quarterly

“In these ten stories Richard Teleky uses ambivalence as an agent to create artistic tension in a wide variety of settings, experiences and relationships… Clearly this author knows how to flush out secret pains and pleasures in the reader through a strong involvement which transcends a mere stroll down memory lane. These stories are the finely-tuned creations of an experienced, sophisticated intellect of serious intent.”
Canadian Writer’s Journal

“This is contemporary storytelling in an existential mood: hip, edgy, anxious… Teleky wraps his narratives around a striking central image – a video camera, swing music, a stolen Durer etching – then screws his morally ambiguous characters up to a pitch of contained hysteria… In ‘Tale of Woe,’ an Argentinian torture victim buys a myna bird on the advice of his therapist. The bird dies. The torture victim gets the therapist to wear a myna bird costume as part of his treatment. With its mixture of sorrow, mystery, and high comedy (it is a bird suit, after all) the scene says more than whole stacks of victim memoirs and immigrant sagas.”
The Globe and Mail

“These stories display Richard Teleky’s craftsmanship, eye for detail, and ability to engage the reader both emotionally and intellectually… Teleky’s stories are told through the eye of an aesthetic philosopher who sees life as a battle between art and reality; their strengths and tensions arise from the uneasy recognition that neither is complete or edifying without the other.”
Canadian Book Review Annual

“When Raymond Carver died in 1988, many of the short-fiction world’s cognoscenti wondered if any author could move forward on the subject of ‘modern America.’ Perhaps it took a Canadian to take up where Carver left off, blending experiments in form with the observance of an outsider. Richard Teleky’s Goodnight, Sweetheart is a refreshing second coming. His characters bring with them a rich past that lends his stories the power of a well-written diary. He also finds great variety within the first-person narrative and, in a sense, has wedded legitimate literary fiction with experimental prose.”
The New Edition

Order from images.