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Canadian Short Stories

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These stories are short, sometimes sweet, and very Canadian.

Willis, Deborah
The dark and other love stories

The characters in these thirteen masterful and engaging stories exist on the edge of danger, where landscapes melt into dreamscapes and every house is haunted. A drug dealer's girlfriend signs up for the first manned mission to Mars. A girl falls in love with a man who wants to turn her into a bird. A teenage girl and her best friend test their relationship by breaking into suburban houses. A wife finds a gaping hole in the floor of the home she shares with her husband, a hole that only she can see. Full of longing and strange humour, these subtle, complex stories show how love ties us to one another and to the world.

Crocker, Eva.
Barrelling forward

In stories that ache with longing even as they pulse with new possibilities, Crocker gives us an unforgettable array of ordinary people, sometimes soaring, sometimes sinking, but always, ultimately, barrelling forward towards what's next. Vivid, sexy, funny, and raw, this is a marvel of a debut from one of Canada's most thrilling new writers.

Taylor, Drew Hayden
Take us to your chief

The nine stories in this collection span all traditional topics of science fiction--from peaceful aliens to hostile invaders; from space travel to time travel; from government conspiracies to connections across generations.

Jackson, Marni.
Don't I know you?

What if some of the artists we feel as if we know--Meryl Streep, Neil Young, Bill Murray--turned up in the course of our daily lives? This is what happens to Rose McEwan, an ordinary woman who keeps having strange encounters with famous people. With wit and insight, Marni Jackson takes a world obsessed with celebrity and turns it on its head. In Don't I Know You? , she shows us how fame is just another form of fiction, and how, in the end, the daily dramas of an ordinary woman's life can be as captivating and poignant as any luminary tell-all.

Powell, Kerry-Lee.
Willem De Kooning's paintbrush

"Ranging from an island holiday gone wrong to a dive bar on the upswing to a yuppie mother in a pricey subdivision seeing her worst fears come true, these deftly written stories are populated by barkeeps, good men down on their luck, rebellious teens, lonely immigrants, dreamers and realists, fools and quiet heroes. In author Kerry-Lee Powells skillful hands, each character, no matter what their choices, is deeply human in their search for connection. Powell holds us in her grasp, exploring with a black humour themes of belonging, the simmering potential for violence and the meaning of art no matter where it is found, and revealing with each story something essential about the way we see the world."--From publisher.

McLean, Stuart
Vinyl Cafe turns the page

A brand new collection of Vinyl Cafe stories, from the inimitable Stuart McLean, featuring a worldlier and wiser Dave and Morley Dave and Morley are growing older, Steph and Sam are growing up. Moving out and moving on. Dave and Morley's marriage has mellowed and deepened like a fine wine, Sam has developed a palate for girls and Gruyere, and Steph's found happiness with an artist who photographs roadkill. Everyone's growing wiser and worldlier--well, almost everyone. Yes, Dave still has trouble with the automatic car wash, defibrillators, and hot yoga, but he's come to appreciate Mary Turlington, and that's saying quite a bit. In this brand new collection of Vinyl Cafe stories, the more things change, the more things stay the same...

O'Neill, Heather
Daydreams of angels

Heather O'Neill's distinctive style and voice fill these charming, sometimes dark, always beguiling stories. From "The Robot Baby," in which we discover what happens when a robot feels emotion for the very first time, to "Heaven," about a grandfather who died for a few minutes when he was nine and visited the pearly gates, to "The Little Wolf-Boy of Northern Quebec," in which untamed children run wild through the streets of Paris, to "Dolls," in which a little girl's forgotten dolls tell their own stories of woe and neglect, we are immersed in utterly unique worlds. Also included in the collection is "The End of Pinky," which has been made into short film by the NFB. With this collection, Heather O'Neill showcases her diversity and skill as a writer and draws us in with each page.

Archibald, Samuel
Arvida

Arvida, with its stories of innocent young girls and wild beasts, attempted murder and ritual mutilation, haunted houses and road trips heading nowhere, is unforgettable. Like a Proust-obsessed Cormac McCarthy, Samuel Archibald's portrait of his hometown, a model town design by American industrialist Arthur Vining Davis, does for Quebec's North what William Faulkner did for the South, and heralds an important new voice in world literature.

Smith, Russell
Confidence

In the stories of Confidence, there are ecstasy-taking PhD students, financial traders desperate for husbands, owners of failing sex stores, violent and unremovable tenants, aggressive raccoons, seedy massage parlors, experimental filmmakers who record every second of their day, and wives who blog insults directed at their husbands. There are cheating husbands. There are private clubs, crowded restaurants, psychiatric wards. There is one magic cinema and everyone has a secret of some kind.

Vanderhaeghe, Guy
Daddy Lenin

Bestselling author Guy Vanderhaeghe's new book of fiction is both timely and timeless and showcases his supreme talent as a storyteller and poignant observer of the human condition. With Daddy Lenin and Other Stories, award-winning author Guy Vanderhaeghe returns once again to the form that launched his stellar literary career. Here is a grand master writing at the height of his powers.

Page, Kathy
Paradise and elsewhere

The rubble of an ancient civilization. A village in a valley from which no one comes or goes. A forest of mother-trees, whispering to each other through their roots; a lakeside lighthouse where a girl slips into human skin as lightly as an otter into water; a desert settlement where there was no conflict, before she came; or the town of Wantwick, ruled by a soothsayer, where tourists lose everything they have. These are the places where things begin. Paradise & Elsewhere is a collection of dark fables at once familiar and entirely strange.

Gaston, Bill
Juliet was a surprise

Gaston's characteristic keen insight and wit dazzle in this new collection. Readers will see the world through the prism of unfamiliar perspectives: a bank executive whose excellent sex life might in fact be killing her, an amorous tree surgeon better attuned to the values of his "patients" than to other people, a vacationing schizophrenic, a pizza-delivery boy convinced he's witnessed magic--all struggling with the world as they see it. This versatile collection--at times darkly playful, absurd, or shockingly real--illustrates how we can fail to understand the simplest of truths and how we are trapped by the peculiarities of our own points of view.

Lam, Vincent.
Bloodletting & miraculous cures

Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures welcomes readers into a world where the most mundane events can quickly become life or death. By following four young medical students and physicians - Ming, Fitz, Sri and Chen - this debut collection from 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Vincent Lam is a riveting, eye-opening account of what it means to be a doctor.

Munro, Alice
Dear life

With her peerless ability to give us the essence of a life in often brief but spacious and timeless stories, Alice Munro illumines the moment a life is shaped -- the moment a dream, or sex, or perhaps a simple twist of fate turns a person out of his or her accustomed path and into another way of being. Suffused with Munro's clarity of vision and her unparalleled gift for storytelling, these stories (set in the world Munro has made her own: the countryside and towns around Lake Huron) about departures and beginnings, accidents, dangers, and homecomings both virtual and real, paint a vivid and lasting portrait of how strange, dangerous, and extraordinary the ordinary life can be.

Hill, Miranda
Sleeping funny

Sleeping Funny is that rare book--a debut that introduces us to a fully mature writer, one who instantly draws you in with her lean style, empathy and wit, and keeps you reading, with growing admiration and delight, from first page to last. These stories showcase Miranda Hill's astonishing range and virtuosity, introducing us to a protean variety of characters, each as well-realized as the next.

Moore, Lisa Lynne
Degrees of nakedness

In Lisa Moore's first story collection, the joys and distresses of love course through modern-day Newfoundland like an electric current. These bright, engaging tales mark precious moments in the characters' lives against deceptively prosaic settings - a hospital cafeteria lit only by the lights in the snack machines, a half-built house "like a rib cage around a lungful of sky" - and the results linger long in the memory. With lovingly constructed sentences and lush prose, Moore shows readers that love, alongside desire, can sometimes come softly, and sometimes as an ambush.

Wangersky, Russell
Whirl away

Everyone has something they're good at: one particular personal skill that they use to keep their lives moving forward when their worlds suddenly become difficult or near-impossible. For some, it's denial; for others, blunt pragmatism. Still others depend on an over-inflated view of self to keep criticism and doubt at bay. In his new short story collection, Whirl Away , Russell Wangersky looks at what happens when people's personal coping skills go awry.

Coady, Lynn
Hellgoing

Equally adept at capturing the foibles and obsessions of men and of women, compassionate in her humour yet never missing an opportunity to make her characters squirm, fascinated as much by faithlessness as by faith, Lynn Coady is quite possibly the writer who best captures what it is to be human at this particular moment in our history.

Dobozy, Tamas
Siege 13

In December of 1944, the Red Army entered Budapest to begin one of the bloodiest sieges of the Second World War. By February, the siege was over, but its effects were to be felt for decades afterward. Siege 13 is a collection of thirteen linked stories about this terrible time in history, both its historical moment, but also later, as a legacy of silence, haunting, and trauma that shadows the survivors.

Atwood, Margaret
Stone mattress

In these nine dazzlingly inventive and rewarding stories, Margaret Atwood's signature dark humour, playfulness, and deadly seriousness are in abundance.

Donoghue, Emma
Astray

Goldminer. Counterfeiter. Slave. Dishwasher. Prostitute. Attorney. Sculptor. Mercenary. Elephant. Corpse. The colourful, fascinating characters that roam the pages of Emma Donoghue's stories have all gone astray: they are emigrants, runaways, drifters, lovers old and new. They cross other borders too: those of race, law, sex and sanity. They travel for love or money, incognito or under duress. With rich detail, the celebrated author of Room takes us from puritan Massachusetts to the Yukon gold rush, antebellum Louisiana to a 1960s Toronto highway. Astray offers us a surprising and moving history for restless times.

Galchen, Rivka.
American innovations

Alternately realistic, fantastical, witty and lyrical, these are all deeply emotional tales, written in exuberant, pitch-perfect prose and shadowed by the darkly marvellous and the marvellously uneasy. Whether exploring the tensions in a mother-daughter relationship or the finer points of time travel, Galchen takes great risks, proving that she is a writer like none other today.

Darwin's bastards

These 23 stories take us on a twisted fun ride into some future times and parallel universes where characters as diverse as a one-legged International Actuarial Forensics specialist, a pharmaceutical guinea pig, and a far-sighted fetus engage in their own games of the survival of the fittest.

Our story

Asked to explore seminal moments in Canadian history from an Aboriginal perspective, ten acclaimed authors have travelled through our country's past to discover the moments that shaped our nation and its people.

The Penguin book of contemporary Canadian women's short stories

An enthralling and irresistible collection of twenty-two established writers and talented new voices who attest to the richness and continued popularity of the short story.

Thien, Madeleine
Simple recipes

Longing, familiarity, and hope suffuse these stories as they mine the charged territory of relationships - subtly weaving in conflicts between generations and cultures. Madeleine Thien's characters in some way want to make amends, to understand the events that have shaped their lives. Compassionate and revealing, delicate and wise, these stories chart the uneven progress of love and lay bare the heartbreaking truths at the core of our closest bonds.

Gartner, Zsuzsi.
Better living through plastic explosives

From an emerging master of short fiction and one of Canada's most distinctive voices, a collection of stories as heartbreaking as those of Lorrie Moore and as hilariously off-kilter as something out of McSweeney's. These stories ruthlessly expose our most secret desires, and allow us to snort with laughter at the grotesque world we'd live in if we all got what we wanted.

Bezmozgis, David
Natasha and other stories

A dazzling debut, and a publishing phenomenon: the tender, savagely funny collection from a young immigrant who has taken the critics by storm. The Bermans--Bella and Roman and their son, Mark--are Russian Jews who have fled the Riga of Brezhnev for Toronto, the city of their dreams. Told through Mark's eyes, the stories in Natasha possess a serious wit and uniquely Jewish perspective that recall the first published stories of Bernard Malamud and Philip Roth, not to mention the recent work of Jhumpa Lahiri, Nathan Englander, and Adam Haslett.