So many thanks to the friend who recommended this Canadian author to me. The writing is fresh and incisive, not to mention funny (though frequently in a bitter sort of way). These are not "neat" stories; often I'd come to the end of one and be brought up short. They require some rumination, which I personally don't mind and rather value. I probably appreciate stories like this because they come nearer to poetry.
I wondered if the protagonists (all of whom but one are women) were essentially variations of the same character type, but they don't bleed together; they feel like they're part of one world and obviously are defined by the voice of the author. I do know that each story gave me mini-shocks of recognition; moments of familiarity and identification. And did I mention the laughing? I suspect reading a collection cover to cover can also be responsible for that feeling of similarity between protagonists.
My favorite story was the last one, "Mr. Hope," which is a painfully exact picture of childhood and adolescence.
I'm certainly going to read a novel by Coady in the future.