I wonder how Joe Fiorito would feel about me using a line from a Go-Go’s song as the title of a post about his book. He’d probably think it was amusing, think I was a character and would sit down and ask me many questions and then write about me, adding me to his list of interesting people who make Toronto what it is.
If the name Joe Fiorito is familiar to you, you’re likely a reader of the Toronto Star, where Fiorito has had a column for the past few years. I read his work regularly because he seems like a very genuine person who truly cares about the people he interviews, and in part, because he lives in my neighbourhood and can often be found expounding on why Parkdale gets a bum rap.
Fiorito’s book Union Station is a collection of essays on the human condition as seen in this, the centre of the universe, Toronto. Collections of essays on the human condition are a dime a dozen – every writer has a pile of half-finished character sketches of a neighbour or a professor or a particularly memorable blind date. But Joe Fiorito’s ouevre is not just that he is able to write about the people he encounters, but he is able to do so with such insight that it pulls at the heartstrings. Without being sappy.