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Canadian Short Stories

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

Shidmehr, Nilofar.
Divided loyalties

These stories depict the lives of Iranian women in post-revolutionary Iran and contemporary Canada, the expectations imposed on them as mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives, and the struggle to shed their socially conditioned identities.

Mutonji, Téa
Shut up you're pretty

A debut story collection where femininity, womanness, and identity are not only questioned but also imposed.

Mascarenhas, Derek
Coconut dreams

Coconut Dreams explores the lives of the Pinto family through seventeen linked short stories. Starting with a ghost story set in Goa, India in the 1950s, the collection shifts to the unique perspectives of two adolescents, Aiden and Ally Pinto. Both first generation Canadians, these siblings tackle their adventures in a predominantly white suburb with innocence, intelligence and a timid foot in two distinct cultures.

Reid-Benta, Zalika
Frying plantain

Kara Davis is a girl caught in the middle -- of her Canadian nationality and her desire to be a "true" Jamaican, of her mother and grandmother's rages and life lessons, of having to avoid being thought of as too "faas" or too "quiet" or too "bold" or too "soft." Set in "Little Jamaica," Toronto's Eglinton West neighbourhood, Kara moves from girlhood to the threshold of adulthood, from elementary school to high school graduation, in these twelve interconnected stories. We see her on a visit to Jamaica, startled by the sight of a severed pig's head in her great aunt's freezer; in junior high, the victim of a devastating prank by her closest friends; and as a teenager in and out of her grandmother's house, trying to cope with the ongoing battles between her unyielding grandparents.

Bezmozgis, David
Immigrant city

A collection of stories about the various aspects of immigration and how it affects lives from author David Bezmozgis.

Shapton, Leanne.
Guestbook

A tennis prodigy collapses after his wins, crediting them to an invisible, not entirely benevolent presence. A series of ghosts appear at their former bedsides, some distraught, some fascinated, to witness their unfamiliar occupants. A woman returns from a visit to Alcatraz with an uncomfortable feeling. The spirit of a prisoner has attached himself to you, a friend tells her. He sensed the sympathy you had for those men. In more than two dozen stories and vignettes, accompanied by an evocative curiosity cabinet of artifacts and images, Guestbook beckons us through the glimmering, unsettling evidence that marks our paths in life.

Miller, K. D.
Late breaking

Inspired by the work of Alex Colville, the linked stories in K.D. Miller's Late Breaking form a suite of portraits that evoke the paintings' looming atmospheres and uncanny stillness while traveling deeply into their subjects' vividly imagined lives.

Irani, Anosh
Translated from the Gibberish ;

A collection of seven gem-like stories, capped off by an unforgettable short memoir about living between Canada and India for 20 years.

Van Camp, Richard
Moccasin Square Gardens

The characters of Moccasin Square Gardens inhabit Denendeh, the land of the people north of the sixtieth parallel. These stories are filled with in-laws, outlaws and common-laws. Get ready for illegal wrestling moves ("The Camel Clutch"), pinky promises, a doctored casino, extraterrestrials or "Sky People," love, lust and prayers for peace. While this is Van Camp's most hilarious short story collection, it's also haunted by the lurking presence of the Wheetago, human-devouring monsters of legend that have returned due to global warming and the greed of humanity. The stories in Moccasin Square Gardens show that medicine power always comes with a price.

Dumont, Dawn
Glass beads

These short stories interconnect the friendships of four First Nations people -- Everett Kaiswatim, Nellie Gordon, Julie Papequash, and Nathan (Taz) Mosquito -- as the collection evolves over two decades against the cultural, political, and historical backdrop of the 90s and early 2000s. These young people are among the first of their families to live off the reserve for most of their adult lives, and must adapt and evolve.

Ibrahim, Djamila
Things are good now

Set in East Africa, the Middle East, Canada, and the U.S., Things Are Good Now examines the weight of the migrant experience on the human psyche. In these pages, women, men, and children who've crossed continents in search of a better life find themselves struggling with the chaos of displacement and the religious and cultural clashes they face in their new homes. A maid who travelled to the Middle East lured by the prospect of a well-paying job is trapped in the Syrian war. A female ex-freedom fighter immigrates to Canada only to be relegated to cleaning public washrooms and hospital sheets. A disillusioned civil servant struggles to come to grips with his lover's imminent departure. A young Muslim Canadian woman who'd married her way to California to escape her devout family's demands realizes she's made a mistake. The collection is about remorse and the power of memory, about the hardships of a post-9/11 reality that labels many as suspicious or dangerous because of their names or skin colour alone, but it's also about hope and friendship and the intricacies of human relationships. Most importantly, it's about the compromises we make to belong.

Mutch, Maria.
When we were birds

These dark and evocative stories navigate the space where perception and reality blur.

Moore, Lisa
Something for Everyone

Internationally celebrated as one of literature's most gifted stylists, Lisa Moore returns with her third story collection, a soaring chorus of voices, dreams, loves, and lives. Taking us from the Fjord of Eternity to the streets of St. John's and the swamps of Orlando, these stories show us the timeless, the tragic, and the miraculous hidden in the underbelly of our everyday lives. A missing rock god may have jumped a cruise ship -- in the Arctic. A grieving young woman may live next to a serial rapist. A man's last day on earth replays in the minds of others in a furiously sensual, heartrending fugue. Something for Everyone is Moore at the peak of her prowess -- she seems bent on nothing less than rewiring the circuitry of the short story itself.

Henighan, Stephen
Blue river and red earth

These eleven short stories cover a wide range of territory - from Toronto to Cuba to Eastern Europe. And, wide-ranging over geography as they are, they also cover an array of characters and situations that can only be situated in the twenty-first century. Author Stephen Henighan teaches Spanish American literature at the University of Guelph.

Cooper, Paige.
Zolitude

Paige Cooper's short stories catalogue moments in love. These are stories about women who built time machines when they were nine, or who predict cataclysm, or who think their dreams are reality. They include police horses with talons and giant eagles and weredeer. At the center of it all is love. And if love is the problem, what is the solution? Being closer? Or being alone?

Leung, Carrianne K. Y.
That time I loved you

Life is never as perfect as it seems. Tensions that have lurked beneath the surface of a shiny new subdivision rise up. The suburbs of the 1970s promised to be heaven on earth - new houses, new status, happiness guaranteed. But in a Scarborough subdivision populated by newcomers from all over the world, a series of sudden catastrophic events reveals that not everyone's dreams come true. Moving from house to house, Carrianne Leung explores the inner lives behind the tidy front gardens and picture-perfect windows, always returning to June, an irrepressible adolescent Chinese-Canadian coming of age in this shifting world. Through June and her neighbours, Leung depicts the fine line where childhood meets the realities of adult life, and examines, with insight and sharp prose, how difficult it is to be true to ourselves at any age.

Westhead, Jessica
Things not to do

Things Not to Do is a collection of stories that seeks to examine--through humour, wit, empathy, and honesty--the dark side of ordinary people. We know them; sometimes we are them. They aren't scheming supervillains; they're folks trying to make the most of what they think they have--even if that sometimes means stepping on someone who doesn't deserve it.

MacLeod, Alison
All the beloved ghosts

Hovering on the border of life and death, these stories form a ground-shifting collection, taking us into history, literature and the hidden lives of iconic figures. Precise, playful and evocative, these exquisitely crafted stories explore memory, the media and mortality, unfolding at the line between reality and fiction. Written with vigorous intelligence and delicate insight, this collection captures the surprising joys, small tragedies and profound truths of existence.

Novakovich, Josip
Tumbleweed

In this latest short-story collection Josip Novakovich explores the shallow roots of emigration as he traverses North America from university post to writing residency. These stories take on an aura of memoir as they invite us into the privacy of his family experiences. Novakovich is in search of a natural existence, whether it be living close to the land or raising animals.

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.

Miller, K. D.
All Saints

These 10 linked short stories present the secreted small tragedies of an Anglican congregation struggling to survive.

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.

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.