Emily Givner’s stories were about to break on the Canadian literary landscape when she met her untimely death. The stories in A Heart In Port are themselves a kind of literary metamorphosis in which Givner’s fragile life transcends her early death. In a way they are prophetic. The fictional worlds that Givner was intent on evoking are subtle, yet lucid, her characters often wrought with inherent contradictions, her narrators keen-eyed and pithy. In the title story of the collection, “A Heart In Port”, a seemingly light hearted send up of heartbreak, a Canadian woman waits in vain for the return of her European lover, amid the comedic shards of those close to her. Irony is apparent in “In-Sook” when a visiting music professor adored by his Korean students finds himself in conversation with the glass eye of one. When the glass eye starts speaking to Professor Andresj, the voice leads him to certain infidelity with the one student who is capable of the encounter. This mode of the surreal also enlightens the Kafkaesque “The Resemblance Between a Violin Case and a Cockroach”, a story which (quite apart from its quiet forewarning of Emily Givner’s own death) is a juggling act of improbability, breakdown, sly rhetoric, fairytale and literary allusion, all sustained by the perceptions of a young girl. These stories are never quite what they present themselves as being and the consummate beauty of the writing in A Heart In Port is that nothing is but what is not.