New Books
   
 

 

  SHORT FICTION

256 pages/trade paper

Available in the US
World Rights Available

REVIEWS

ISBN: 9781771871877
List Price: $20.00

Michael Kenyon

A young couple escapes Vancouver and takes a meandering trip down to Panama. In a dreamlike tale, ambiguous in setting and period, a girl child is lost. And Charles Darwin, whose historical namesake found his life work’s inspiration in South America, finds his purpose in studying village life.

Through two novellas bridged by a story, Michael Kenyon reads the imperatives of biological diversity into inner human life and asks: what happens when we do not accept parts of ourselves? what happens when genre and classification engulf “freedom” and spirit?

New storytelling requires acknowledgment of the implicit paradoxes of the unconscious, journeys as much into the psyche as into the world. Kenyon’s people often find outer form in their lives through inner exploration and vice versa. This book is full of expressions of escape and commitment, knowledge and acts, introversion and extroversion, feminine and masculine.

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NOVEL

256 pages/trade paper

Available in the US
World Rights Available

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ISBN: 9781771871785
List Price: $20.00

JoAnn McCaig

Stories nest inside stories in this very bookish novel about the writerly process and about the places where literary ambition collides with erotic desire. A character named JM opens the book with her lucid dream, then introduces Janet, who is a happy prisoner of the story coming to life in her imagination. Meet Jay and Leland, Janet and Mister Sunshine, JM, and the man whose teeth don’t match.

The structure of the novel is complex, layered, and interwoven. There are several narrators, stories within stories, and writers making things up and fantasizing while living real (albeit fictional) lives. There are literary allusions galore and cameo appearances by thinly disguised famous authors. It can all get a little crazy, so McCaig has provided a few support materials: an infographic that maps out the different characters, and relationships and authorships, a fairly detailed table of contents, a few postscripts, and a couple of appendices. Watch for symbols that indicate that the narrator has lapsed into fantasy and for when she returns to her “real” life, such as it is. While there is some undermining of traditional literary conventions, there is nothing lost in McCaig’s exploration of the relationship between literature and life. The novel is humorous, and sometimes really funny; it is also a smart and warm and moving read.

An Honest Woman is an immensely gutsy novel that works to both undermine and expand its own story through an entertaining and teasing literary puzzle. While its narrative is bold enough in places to be shocking, at the same time it is bitingly true in its depiction of the interior life, in all its grief, banality and sexual frustration, of a single working mother raising her nearly grown sons. This is an intelligent and, especially, a brilliantly written novel.” — Sharon Butala

“This astonishing novel combines fantasy with a pellucid dissection of the seductions of writing, reading, and the imagination. An Honest Woman explores the inconveniences of lust, the confusion between fiction and life, and the gap between experience and irony. Brilliantly acerbic, this erotic romp through the literary and quotidian world is astutely meta-fictional, utterly compelling, and ultimately irresistible.” — Aritha van Herk

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 SHORT FICTION

234 pages/trade paper

Available in the US
World Rights Available

REVIEWS

ISBN: 9781771871754
List Price: $20.00

Darci Bysouth

A mother confronts an old Scottish myth in a desperate attempt to keep her son. A father realises the ghastly implications of his daughter’s all powerful love for him.  A teenage girl outgrows her idolized brother after a road trip goes awry. Two brothers war against the backdrop of a divided America, with bitter consequences. A lonely woman discovers the treachery within her relationships after a shocking incident of violence. A grieving widow glimpses hope in the supernaturally dark waters of a childhood lake. 

Each must face losing what they hold most dear as they explore the eternal question: what is left after love is gone?

Bysouth’s writing style leans toward the literary and traditional, but it does employ threads of magic realism, especially as the characters’ react to their loss and grief. These emotional shifts create moods that range from love to horror and from hope to confused absurdity. The story elements, though, remain traditional with accessible plots, varied and unique settings, and well-made characterizations. 

 

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SHORT FICTION

216 pages/trade paper

Available in the US
World Rights Available

REVIEWS

ISBN: 9781771871846
List Price: $20.00

Kat Cameron

The past haunts the characters in The Eater of Dreams. In fifteen interconnected stories, Kat Cameron’s vivid characters — teachers, singers, writers, and misfits — examine the inner fractures in their lives. A woman muses about her miscarried child while watching a friend’s daughter play; an opera singer in Edmonton is stalked by an abusive ex-lover; a student’s story of bullying reminds a woman of her own childhood traumas; a woman cuts out the heart of a faithless man; the ghost of Lafcadio Hearn haunts the bedroom of a grieving teacher in Japan. 

The title for the collection is taken from a Japanese folktale about the baku, a mythological creature that eats nightmares, and her tales pulsate with this energy. In the darkest moments of her characters, they find or discover the energy they need to survive, but not without breaking down the surface to see clearly who they really are. Her portraits bear witness to the longing, yearning, unspoken desire of her characters’ dreams and to the uncertainty and contemplation of their lives in the flux of travel and change. The Eater of Dreams is at once contemporary but also ancient in its probing; it is a collection that blurs the borders between realism and the magic that lies outside it. Brilliant, passionate, and fierce, these stories summon the memories of lost relationships. 

As I read “Dancing the Requiem,” by Kat Cameron, I was taken over . . . absorbed by the world of the story. I burnt the bottom out of a pot. Cameron’s is a mesmerizing story that shows the main character, Zoe, dancing on the edge of precarity — the fear of an abusive partner who surfaces in public places, the fear of economic insecurity and loneliness, and alongside these doubts, the redemptive power of art; the balance it provides; the elation of being near the creation of something bigger than oneself. — Lisa Moore

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 NOVEL

200 pages/trade paper

Available in the US
World Rights Available

REVIEWS

ISBN: 9781771871815
List Price: $20.00

Sophie Stocking

Seven years ago Bernadette Macomber did everything she could to cut ties to her father Fabian, his opiate addiction, gun collection, and increasingly bizarre behavior.  She moved with her husband and four children, with no return address.  Now, following his suicide, her father paradoxically makes contact again, and Bernadette finds herself not liberated, but tethered to him ever more tightly by the bonds of familial guilt. Desperate for absolution, Bernie returns to her father’s home to hunt for evidence of his insanity.

Meanwhile, in his ongoing quest for freedom via any available loophole, Fabian runs straight into his jailor, the demon/angel Bune in the afterlife space of Corridor Nine.  Only a father and daughter reunion can grant them both the liberty they seek.

“Sophie Stocking’s Corridor Nine is a brilliant exploration of guilt and remorse, the conflicted emotions elicited by the death of a father who was both angel and gorgon. Blackly comic and hilariously revelatory, this story faces head-on the challenges of parental nourishment and neglect. Combining domestic conflagration with powerful enlightenment, it performs a song of generous forgiveness.  A mesmerizing novel.” — Aritha van Herk

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Thistledown Press
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