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Spark of Light

Henitiuk, ValerieKar, Supriya (Hrsg.) | Athabasca University Press | Mingling Voices


Spark of Light is a diverse collection of short stories by women writers from the Indian province of Odisha. Originally written in Odia and dating from the late nineteenth century to the present, these stories offer a multiplicity of voices—some sentimental and melodramatic, others rebellious and bold—and capture the predicament of characters who often live on the margins of society. From a spectrum of viewpoints, writing styles, and motifs, the stories included here provide examples of the great richness of Odishan literary culture.

In the often shadowy and grim world depicted in this collection, themes of class, poverty, violence, and family are developed. Together they form a critique of social mores and illuminate the difficult lives of the subaltern in Odisha society. The work of these authors contributes to an ongoing dialogue concerning the challenges, hardships, joys, and successes experienced by women around the world. In these provocative explorations of the short-story form, we discover the voices of these rarely heard women.

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“In highlighting vernacular literature in English translation, Spark of Light contributes to a development that Subramanian Shankar has termed vernacular postcolonialism. Vernacular postcolonialism seeks to capture the vernacular idioms and sensibilities of a specific region and language. . . . Even though the vernacular may often resist translation, many of the vernacular sensibilities can indeed be captured in translations. The English translations of Odishan short stories thus also enrich the postcolonial archive."

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Valerie Henitiuk is the executive director of the Centre for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence, and professor in the Department of English at MacEwan University. Her research focuses primarily on translation studies, world literature, Japanese literature, and women’s writing. She is also editor-in-chief of the journal Translation Studies.

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Supriya Kar is an editor and translator from Odisha, India. She previously worked as an editor at Cambridge University Press India, and now edits the online journal, Indian Literature Today, which publishes Indian literature in English translation.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »A Blanket Against Darkness«

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A Blanket Against Darkness

University of Ottawa Press | Literary Translation


In these Nordic woods where the ancestors called blowing

snow the sweet breath of death, an artist fashions bewitching jewels out of feathers, a man of fifty-four corresponds with the author of a bottled message thrown out to sea, another awaits the onslaught of the

storm to open wide his mouth and drink it whole. 

Nature flares its gills, in this book, where forgiveness

is both sought after and offered. A Blanket Against

Darkness bursts with stories that spring from the earth. Its

relic-filled landscapes, where one single movement can

set off the migration of an entire colony, are constant

reminders that one is never completely alone. 

Published by Marchand de feuilles in 2015, Traité

des peaux was shortlisted for the Governor General’s

Literary Awards and for the Prix des Cinq continents de

la Francophonie.

This book is published in English, translated from the original "Traité des peaux".

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En ces forêts nordiques où les ancêtres appellent la poudrerie le souffle de la mort, une joaillière fabrique des bijoux avec des plumes d’oiseaux, un homme de 54 ans correspond avec celui qui a envoyé un message dans une bouteille jetée à la mer, un autre attend que l’orage éclate pour ouvrir la bouche et le boire en entier. 

La nature ouvre ses branchies, dans ce livre, où l’on demande et propose le pardon. A Blanket Against Darkness est rempli de talismans qui viennent de la terre. Ses paysages nous montrent que nous sommes un peuple nordique et que nous ne sommes pas seuls au monde. Nous habitons des lieux peuplés de reliques, où un seul mouvement brusque peut faire migrer toute une colonie. 

Paru chez Marchand de feuilles en 2015, Traité des peaux a été finaliste aux Prix littéraires du Gouverneur général, de même qu’au Prix des Cinq continents de la Francophonie.

Ce livre est publié en anglais, une traduction du titre original "Traité des peaux".

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Catherine Harton is the author of Petite fille brochée au ciel, Monomanies, and Francis Bacon apôtre. Published by Marchand de feuilles in 2015, Traité des peaux was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Awards and for the Prix des cinq continents de la Francophonie.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Un artista del trapecio«

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Un artista del trapecio

Cooltura


Los personajes de Kafka que protagonizan “Un artista del trapecio” y “Un artista del hambre” son criaturas excepcionales que dominan sus habilidades hasta lograr perfección en sus disciplinas. Ambos ponen en peligro sus vidas con tal de lograr el arte, ambos eligen una vida fuera del mundo para consagrarse, tanto uno como otro encuentran en su actividad el sentido. ¿Pero qué son el trapecio y el hambre, realmente? Kafka ofrece en estas historias extraordinarias una nueva muestra de su genio lleno de originales metáforas sobre la desesperación y el absurdo.

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Quizás “La metamorfosis” y “El proceso” sean las obras más famosas del genial Franz Kafka, pero sus relatos breves forman la mayor parte de su trabajo y tienen el valor de haber revolucionado por completo la literatura. Arquetipos sobre la alienación, conflictos entre padres e hijos y laberintos burocráticos son algunos de sus temas recurrentes. Fue y es en la actualidad un autor ineludible.

 
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Savage Love

Goose Lane Editions


An Amazon.ca Best Book of 2013, A Globe and Mail Top 100 for 2013, and A Quill & Quire Best Book of 2013Longlisted, Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award

Savage Love marks the long-awaited literary return of one of Canada's most lauded and stylistically brilliant authors. Slyly holding forth with subversive wit, Glover skewers every conventional notion we've ever held about that cultural&emotional institution of love we are instructed to hold dear.

Peopled with forensic archaeologists, members of ancient tribes, horoscope writers, dental hygienists, butchers — Glover's stories are of our time yet timeless; spectacular fables that stand in any era, any civilization. Whether we be sexually ambiguous librarians or desperadoes of the most despicable kind, Glover exposes the humanity lurking behind our masks, and the perversities that underlie our actions.

Absurd, comic, dream-like, deeply affecting (on the molecular level): these stories revel in inventiveness yet preserve a strict adherence to the real. Glover directs his focus to moments when things seem too incredible to be supported, pointing us to truths that exhibit human nature in contexts we all recognize.

Savage Love marks the return of a master, with laugh-out-loud stories of the best kind, often completely unexpected, rife with moments of tragedy or horror. This is Douglas Glover country, and we are all willing visitors.

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"Douglas Glover always pushes the envelope. Every story in Savage Love is outrageous, creating farce — and something beautiful — out of human foibles.... Some paragraphs are so gorgeously vivid, I wanted to read them twice.... This is the kind of audacious work our literary juries should be acknowledging."

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"Savage Love takes twenty-first-century liberties to the max, refusing to succumb to an inner censor that resists exposure to what makes the sensitive uncomfortable. Love and lust, infatuation and infidelity, all the deep-down primal urges — Douglas Glover tackles every instinct with a bizarre spin or a brutal twist. This gifted author transfixes his audience with the unthinkable, drawing word pictures that some may prefer not to see in the middle of a lonely night. Illuminating.... Not for the timid, this gut-wrenching collection of physically and emotionally charged fiction lives up to the outstanding reputation that Glover has attained. His distinctive voice may echo into the next century and beyond."

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"In this book, Glover takes us far, far out into a vast sea of imaginative possibilities, shadows, violence, and twisted logic.... It is a world that is knowable in fragments, it's just that the fragments keep falling apart.... The stories growl off the page, as if read in the voice of an octogenarian Delta Blues master or one of the more recent Bob Dylan protagonists.... These stories resonate along complex frequencies that reward our best reading efforts."

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"Savage Love by Douglas Glover is a perfect collection of short stories for people knowing the world isn't a fairy tale. The stories are rough and frank but brutally honest about the concept of human relations."

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"I, your admiring reader, report myself ever again restored to find in hand the company of your righteous sentences, shout hooray, shout hooray, even splendid, splendid, splendid (borrowing from the great poet Jack Gilbert), like loins, he wrote, like Rome, he wrote.... "

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"Every story in Savage Love is outrageous, creating farce — and something beautiful — out of human foibles."

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"A Douglas Glover short story is like a 10-day journey by Soviet-era jeep over a nation's back roads — head-spinning and breathtaking. Its outcome is enlightening, sickening or utterly confusing, depending on which country he's taken you to.... The best stories in Savage Love ... inspire you to seize love by the heart and genitals, consequences be damned.... The frenetic chaos of Glover's writing gets richer as the stories go on, taking us deeper into the desires that fuel love in all its perversions."

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"Surprising, shattering, wickedly absurd tales rife with parenthetical, fourth-wall-breaking asides and understated cynicism ... Savage Love remains one of the strongest, most refreshing short fiction collections of 2013."

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"There is much that is provocative about Savage Love... Glover writes about love in various forms — philia, eros, and agape — but each word in the book's title should be afforded equal weight.... Glover is one of Canada's greatest stylists, and one of the most impressive aspects of Savage Love is the variety and range of registers he allows himself.... These stories engage in a process of aggressive defamiliarization, wrecking havoc with readerly sensibilities and exploring — deliberately and insistently — the extreme possibilities of language. Glover's collection is bracing, angry, violent and funny. It is, regardless of genre, one of the best books you will read this year.'

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"What unifies this collection is the characteristic excellence of Douglas Glover's prose. Otherwise the books is hugely, even shockingly varied in its narrative strategies, its settings, its tones, and its characters, who range from broadly comic figures to a killer so warped by war that he makes the psychotic Judge in Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian look benign. This book is urgent, ardent, obsessive, and remarkable."

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"These wildly creative tales reflect the ferocity of love, how the unexpected, forbidden, illicit and illegal play out on our psyches, how love begins and what is left when it abandons us.... this is love as you have never seen it before." — Best books of 2013 by Books Editor Laurie Grassi

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"One of Canada's best writers, Glover returns with a brilliant story collection displaying his considerable range and remarkably varied writerly gifts." — The Globe Books 100: Best Canadian fiction

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"Savage Love is an accomplished, funny, and inventive book that readers should rejoice in.... He's also a master of shifting between moods and modes... Through it all, the timing (so essential to comic writing), point of view, and diversity of language is near perfect.... By any measure, Savage Love deserves to be recognized as one of the best Canadian books published this year."

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"The stories in Savage Love ... were a revelation...relieved by moments of sardonic humour, as well as by the skill with which the stories are told ... If you have not read Douglas Glover before, I recommend you do."

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"Savage Love is an accomplished, funny, and inventive book that readers should rejoice in...the timing (so essential to comic writing), point of view, and diversity of language is near perfect . . . deserves to be recognized as one of the best Canadian books published this year."

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"A compact gallery, flint-eyed and snaggle-toothed, of wolfish behaviour; it's also a casebook study in narrative design...the stories smoulder and luminesce with vitiated heat, modulated light.... For all its antic form and interpersonal dysfunction, Savage Love remains somehow low key: a quietly virtuosic, artistically backward-looking story collection. Both eclectic and obsessive, abrasive and majestic, it might also be the best novel written anywhere this year.... Savage Love is Glover's fifth collection of short stories, and it confirms his longstanding mastery of the genre."

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"Glover's sentences pulse and breathe, seethe and spit; his stories avoid prefab emotion in favour of bracing, often brutal honesty. For the courageous, there was no better collection of stories pubilshed this year."

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"Savage Love provides more evidence: nobody alive constructs more perfect stories than Douglas Glover. His art is exquisite, conclusive, stainless — but also wide-awake and breathing. That is to say, he's no mere craftsman. In Savage Love, he manages somehow to be both Geppetto and the magic life-giving kiss."

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Douglas Glover was recipient of the 2006 Writers' Trust of Canada Timothy Findley Award for his body of work. His bestselling novel Elle won the Governor-General's Award and was a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. A Guide to Animal Behaviour was a finalist for the 1991 Governor-General's Award, and 16 Categories of Desire was shortlisted for the 2000 Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Award.

 
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The Jokes

BookThug


We sit, hunched over the words that appear on our smartphone screens, altogether unaware of the story of our lives that is going on around us, even as we focus on the minutiae of our social media "friends'" daily activities. These are the stories that draw our undivided attention, and these are the types of deftly observed, wholly engrossing narratives that make up Stephen Thomas's debut flash-fiction collection, The Jokes.

Presented in the form of a most common present-tense—as a series of moments in a social-media-like 'feed'—this collection of very short stories riffs on the form of 'the joke,' but as this might be understood by the best culture-critical comedians of our time: Andy Kaufman, Stephen Wright, Norm McDonald, Jon Stewart, Richard Pryor. And much like those stand-up artists who sanctified the joke-form, these stories deal with sometimes-intense subjects, yet with a kind of SSRI-like placidity that allows readers to cling to each word as the narratives unfold.

In drawing comparisons to Lydia Davis's creatively detached but inventively curious writing, Thomas's The Jokes is a book for thinkers; sad and funny, hopeful and determined, nostalgic and cerebral, these vignettes offer a very personal, yet amazingly relatable entry-point into big ideas that trouble our times—religion, sexuality, life and death, and ways of being in the world—all while coloured by touches of weird otherworldliness that living in someone else’s social-media feed can bring.

Fans of metafiction and philosophy, 'alt lit,’ artist and academics (particularly students of art history and theory), readers interested in experimental and somewhat cerebral fiction in the vein of Ben Marcus, Lily Hoang, or Maggie Nelson, as well as audiences interested in the uses and abuses of Internet and social media, will connect with Thomas’s particular take on worlds within worlds.

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"Lydia Davis and Etgar Keret move in together and decide to adopt a son. They settle on Stephen Thomas. He has a pithy style and a funny bone. Years later, at the launch of his book The Jokes, Stephen reads a little story. It packs a novel's worth of material into two short paragraphs. At the back of the room, sipping their red wine, Lydia and Etgar beam." — Neil Smith, author of Boo

"Stephen Thomas is a writer who's smart, thoughtful, engaging, but also mischievous, like a little kid who knows he shouldn't misbehave, but does it anyway. His debut collection, The Jokes, feels to me like an absent-minded Lydia Davis trying to write deadpan comedy skits for Cartoon Network's Tim & Eric. It's anti-humour that's actually funny, sketches in which nothing is ever resolved, mini-stories that start at Point A and then seem to forget what they were even talking about. This is a book full of surprises." —Guillaume Morissette, author of New Tab

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Stephen Thomas is a Toronto-based writer of fiction, nonfiction, plays, and Facebook statuses. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Hazlitt, Playboy, The Atlantic’s CityLab blog, Little Brother, The Seneca Review, The Fanzine, and The Puritan. He has been awarded a Truman Capote Scholarship and an Edward F. Albee Fellowship. The Jokes was shortlisted for the Metatron Prize for Rising Authors of Contemporary Literature.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »The Third Person«

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The Third Person

BookThug


Two's company, three's a crowd—and sometimes it’s more than that.

In The Third Person, a collection of uncanny short stories by Emily Anglin, a sequence of tense professional and personal negotiations between two people is complicated when a third person arrives. Within these triangulated microworlds, disorienting gaps open up between words and reality: employees dissolve from job titles, neighbours overstep comfortable boundaries, voices distanced by space or time make their presence felt. Uneasiness builds among these separate but entangled lives.

Anglin’s darkly humorous stories contemplate situations in which characters refashion themselves to fit a new competitive milieu. The Third Person reveals how people can become complicit in these milieus, even desire them, often while being led into the loneliness they can instil.

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Praise for The Third Person:

"Emily Anglin is a master of evasion and inference, a connoisseur of every kind of secret. Each story in this remarkable collection is alive with casually blistering intelligence tempered with compassion for human loneliness. This is a dispatch from the heart of modern incongruity, in which corporate jargon crosses over into poetry, then crosses back, in which lives are upended on a whim. Reading this book is like walking into an apparently familiar room and having all the details add up to something unsettling and new." —Kate Cayley, author of How You Were Born

"Prepare yourself for "spontaneous empathy" and "foreign body sensations," for specters, knowledge brokers, and an oddball cast of characters who feel, at once, both familiar and strange. Reading Emily Anglin's The Third Person is like watching the opening sequence of Hitchcock's Rear Window. As a character in one of the stories tells us, everyone has "public, private and secret lives." Anglin gives us access to all of these lives—offering a unique perspective that combines both the intimacy of the first person and the sweeping distance of the third." —Johanna Skibsrud, author of The Sentimentalists and Quartet for the End of Time

"Straddling the line between realism and uncanny dreamscape, The Third Person has a tone that is singular, consistent, and very involving." —The Winnipeg Review

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Writer and freelance editor Emily Anglin grew up in Waterloo, Ontario, and now lives in Toronto. Emily Anglin's creative work has appeared in the New Quarterly, the Whitewall Review, and in the chapbook The Mysteries of Jupiter. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Concordia University and a PhD in English Literature from Queen's University, and also completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the University of Michigan's English department. Prior to her graduate studies, she studied English at the University of Waterloo. The Third Person is Anglin's first book.

 
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Life on Mars

Goose Lane Editions


Shortlisted, 2017 Danuta Gleed Literary Award

A middle-aged sportswriter gets a new lease on life with a heart transplant and develops an intimate relationship with his donated heart. Two brothers find in their rotting family tree the tangled roots of a dark childhood memory. A young woman travels to Thailand to reconnect body and soul and returns home, physically transformed, to face the wrath of her estranged mother. A divorced man struggling to rediscover his place in the world hits the road from California to Newfoundland, guided by an irascible, talking squid.

Life on Mars, Lori McNulty's wild debut collection sears the heart with blinding black humour and whiplash-fast prose. With a faultless talent for juxtaposing the absurd with the everyday, violence and discord with redemption and metamorphosis, McNulty takes readers on an unexpected ride into the core of human existence.

Blending aesthetic styles that range from high realism to the fable-esque, Life on Mars exhumes life's numbing tragedies and exhilarating passions with ravenous appetite. These are raw, moving, strange stories — an unforgettable reckoning for our disconnected times.

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"These narratives are fresh and startling. They confirm Lori McNulty as a writer who can roam the universe, crossing boundaries of gender, species, and even mortality, while never straying from her native terrain — that of the human heart."

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"Each of these stories moves like a lit fuse racing towardsa keg of dynamite. Life on Mars boldly excavates the darkness within to emerge with its characters' bloodied but still pulsing hearts held high. Lori McNulty leads her teenage stoners and cutters, her conflicted widows, her mentally ill, her sentient squids and many-armed gods to the edge of the cliff and dares them to live. This is ferocious fiction from a new master witness of life on Earth."

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"It is confirmed! There is life on Mars and it is fierce and ferocious and full of love and loneliness. Lori McNulty's stories are wise and funny and they pound with an energy that is simultaneously physical and philosophical. Get ready to go, boldly, where Canadian fiction has never been before."

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"In Life on Mars we find stoner beauty and deft fables brimming with animal grief and invective. Our characters reach slippery visions about siblings and mothers and those sad swinging doors of home that might kick you out or welcome you inside."

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Lori McNulty was born in Ottawa but has called many places home. Her work has appeared in the Fiddlehead, the New Quarterly, PRISM International, the Dalhousie Review, Descant, and the Globe and Mail as well as a number of anthologies. She has twice been nominated for the Journey Prize, making the shortlist in 2014 for her story “Monsoon Season.” She has also been a finalist for the CBC Short Story Prize, the CBC Creative Nonfiction Prize, and the Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest. She now lives in Vancouver.

 
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The High-Rise in Fort Fierce

Goose Lane Editions


Finalist, Ottawa Book Award for Fiction 2019

Long-Shortlisted, 2019 Relit Award (Short Story Category)

Drugs. Violence. Racism. Despair. The tiny, northern town of Fort Fierce has issues in spades, and most of them fester in the high-rise by the lake.

In this visceral, emotionally raw, and completely absorbing collection, Carlucci takes his readers through the ravaged history of Franklin Place, from its construction during the Cold War to its demolition decades later. We meet the Franklins themselves, three generations of landlords, each more paranoid and alienated than the last. And we meet their tenants: a drug dealer, a lonely bigot, a political activist, a struggling father, a wandering sex offender, a woman who refuses to give into it all. They wander in and out of each other's lives, with little in common but the building and the mould behind its walls.

In The High-Rise in Fort Fierce, Carlucci immerses us in a dim yet eerily familiar world. Love and death, conflict and compromise, fear, determination, and the tense relations between indigenous and settler populations thread the warp and weft of his dark and irrepressible tapestry. We cannot look away.

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"Like the subterranean enclave that lies beneath its decaying battlements, The High-Rise in Fort Fierce delves into the secretive heart of contemporary masculinity, exposing its ambiguities and fears, its capacity for both violence and tenderness. Noirish and dystopian, Carlucci has a gift for lyrical turns of phrase that are a counterpoint to the grim settings and unfolding drama."

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"The mess of humanity that resides in The High-Rise in Fort Fierce — the weirdos and the outsiders, the brave and the bewildered, the ruined and the barely redeemed — are transformed through the blast furnace of Paul Carlucci's immense talent into something transfixing, their raw hope and hopelessness depicted unflinchingly. Hard to watch but impossible to look away."

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"The High-Rise in Fort Fierce centres on a cursed building in a northern town. A family's toxic tower, once chi-chi real estate but now full of drugged-out pilgrims and mold spores,concealing an underground man deep in a secret doomsday bomb shelter. The Fort Fierce experience is a harrowing headlong rush; picaresque tales touching on race and cash, alcohol and opiates, and the occasional impulsive homicide, all delivered in Paul Carlucci's violent electric prose."

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"Carlucci’s characters are complex and his strength is that he captures how people can be capable of both love and unforgivable brutality."

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"[Carlucci calls] forth a fellow feeling as readers confront lives formed by circumstances harsher than their own."

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Paul Carlucci’s first collection of short fiction,The Secret Life of Fission, won the 2013 Danuta Gleed Literary Award. His second collection, A Plea for Constant Motion, was published to critical acclaim in 2017. His stories have also been published in numerous magazines and journals, including Malahat Review, subTerrain, Fiddlehead, and New Quarterly.

A former journalist, Carlucci has lived across Canada — including eighteen months in Hay River, NWT, while writing The High-Rise in Fort Fierce — as well as Ghana and Zambia. He now resides in Ottawa.

 
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English Lessons and Other Stories

Goose Lane Editions


The new reader's guide edition of Shauna Singh Baldwin's literary debut features the fifteen stories from the original collection, an interview with the author, an original afterword, and her suggested reading list. When Shauna Singh Baldwin's debut collection was first published in 1996, it took readers by storm. Reviewers discovered a new voice; listeners tuned in to the stories on CBC Radio. Since then, Baldwin has written two award-winning novels and, in 2007, a second story collection, We Are Not in Pakistan. Dramatizing the lives of Indian women from 1919 to the present, from India to North America, Shauna Singh Baldwin travels from the intimate sphere of family to the wasteland of office and university.

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"Baldwin's prose is precise, nuanced, and sensual. She threads her stories with ravishing glints of colour, that explode against the pallid landscape of Canada."

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"Each of these superb short stories shuttles between the intricate threads of family, the rich, sturdy fabric of ancient Indian tradition, and the somewhat more ready-to-wear culture of North America."

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"The entry of a promising writer into the expanding world of Indian fiction in English."

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"Both sweet and sour... a fascinating collection, rich in cultural insight."

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"The vicious circle of Indian women attempting to balance traditional roles with views and lifestyles outside their inherited gender and homeland."

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"Baldwin's skill is revealed as she takes up small, ordinary incidents and weaves them into beautiful, interesting stories. The language in her book is simple and effective. With her subtle, incremental touches, her characters become alive and their life situations reveal new aspects of their lives."

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Shauna Singh Baldwin’s first novel, What the Body Remembers, was published in 1999 by Knopf Canada, Transworld UK, Doubleday USA, and (as an audiobook) by Goose Lane Editions. It received the 2000 Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best Book (Canada-Caribbean region) and has been translated into fourteen languages. Her second novel The Tiger Claw was a finalist for Canada's Giller Prize 2004. Shauna is the author of English Lessons and Other Stories and coauthor of A Foreign Visitor’s Survival Guide to America. Her awards include the 1995 Writer’s Union of Canada Award for short prose and the 1997 Canadian Literary Award. English Lessons received the 1996 Friends of American Writers Award.

A former radio producer and ecommerce consultant, her fiction and poems are widely published in literary magazines and anthologies in the US, Canada, and India. She has served on several juries and teaches short courses in creative writing. Shauna holds an MBA from Marquette University and an MFA from the University of British Columbia. We Are Not in Pakistan: Stories was published by Goose Lane Editions in 2007. Shauna’s third novel, The Selector of Souls, was published by Knopf Canada in September 2012. Reviews, reading schedule, and interviews at: www.ShaunaSinghBaldwin.com.

 
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Knife Party at the Hotel Europa

Goose Lane Editions


Shortlisted, Alistair MacLeod Award for Short Fiction, New Brunswick Book Award for Fiction, and Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award

One of Canada's literary treasures, Mark Anthony Jarman returns with a book of moving and often funny tales of a man's quest for himself. A.S. Byatt says that his writing is "extraordinary, his stories gripping," and in this gorgeous new collection, Jarman delivers something new once again.

In Knife Party at the Hotel Europa, Jarman writes about losing and finding love, marriage and melancholy, the dislocation and redemptive power of travel in Italy's sensual summer.

A man travels to Italy to escape the memory of love lost, and a marriage ended. He passes through sun-drenched landscapes of cliffs and seaside paradises, while the corpses  of refugees wash up on the beach; he parties with the young and beautiful Italians he meets on the train while a man bleeds to death in the hallway. A teenage thief prowls the roof of the tourist hotel at night; an embassy is bombed; holy statues come alive to roam in a gang stealing used restaurant grease.

He suffers the acute loneliness of one who has abandoned and been abandoned, and in this exquisite suffering, he finds how beautiful this life can be. In vivid, sensuous prose, Jarman's stories circle and overlap in surprising, weird, and wonderful ways. Tangents turn out to be crucial, allusions are powerful.

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"Mark Anthony Jarman's Knife Party at the Hotel Europa is an incendiary performance by a master storyteller. His prose is pyrotechnic bliss, the epitome of cool — adroit, eloquent, witty, hallucinatory, and sexy. He sets his stories in Rome, the blast zone of contemporary Europe, a glittering polyglot echo chamber of voices, packed with gypsies, druggies, expats, refugees, and tourists — something like A Room with a View meets Naked Lunch."

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"This is the work of a short-story master in full control of his work: tone, voice, audience are all in hand. These stories are very much like musical variations on a theme. What if the violin line leads? What changes when the oboe takes charge? The answer? Everything. Bittersweet and beautiful. Knife Party at the Hotel Europa is a jewel of a collection. If it doesn't change you, your heart is too hard."

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"One of Canada's most accomplished prose stylists, with an affection for jazzy rhythms and oblique angles... the writing will be familiar to aficionados of the author's earlier work — the trilling sentences, the insouciant alliteration and assonance, the rococo metaphors, the sudden shifts in tone from light to dark, humour to startling violence."

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"In Knife Party at the Hotel Europa, love gone awry collides with Italy. From the warm, embracing glow of Rome's walls to a beach party on the wrong side of a military base, a broken heart is no match for Jarman's prose, which flies from all sides like jets in a dogfight, riotous and stunningly talented."

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"In their bounce from Italy to Canada and back, these stories, so rich and funny and knowing, remind us that Jarman is not just one of our best stylists, but best writers. His sentences are cunning, like they have eyes that can see in the dark."

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"A book by Jarman is a bit like a concept album, the language arranged in musical and meaningful ways."

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"Jarman pulls off some ferociously good writing."

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"... no description, no summary, can prepare you for the book itself."

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"Jarman's descriptions of Italy's managed chaos of ruins and tourist traps and crowded cities are witty, evocative and, when he turns his attention to the displaced peoples from Africa, the Middle East and the Baltic states living rough in the dirty streets, often quite moving."

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"Jarman's stories are exquisite and powerful, finding beauty even within pain. They demand to be read again and again."

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"... one of Canada's most accomplished prose stylists, with an affection for jazzy rhythms and oblique angles."

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Mark Anthony Jarman's writings run the gamut from fiction to poetry to travel writing. A graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, he has been shortlisted for the O. Henry Prize and has won the Gold National Magazine Award in nonfiction, the Maclean-Hunter Endowment Award (twice), and the Jack Hodgins Fiction Prize. He is the author of 19 Knives, New Orleans is Sinking, Dancing Nightly in the Tavern, and the travel book Ireland's Eye. His novel Salvage King Ya! is on Amazon.ca’s 50 Essential Canadian Books. His stories have appeared in the Walrus, Canadian Geographic, Hobart, the Barcelona Review, Vrig Nederland, and the Globe and Mail. He currently teaches at the University of New Brunswick and is the fiction editor of the Fiddlehead.

 
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