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Canadian Short Stories

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

Fagan, Cary.
Great adventures for the faint of heart

A collection of ten stories that highlight ordinary people taking small, bold steps into the unknown.

Ohlin, Alix.
We want what we want

A collection of thirteen stories of people testing the boundaries of their lives.

Lalonde, Angélique.
Glorious frazzled beings

Home is where we love, suffer, and learn. Some homes we choose, others are inflicted upon us, and still others are bodies we are born into. In this astounding collection of stories, human and more-than-human worlds come together in places we call home. A startling and beguiling story collection, 'Glorious Frazzled Beings' is a love song to the homes we make, keep, and break. Angelique Lalonde's mother is Metis, and her father is Quebecois. She dwells on Gitxsan Territory in Northern BC.

Plett, Casey
Dream of a Woman

Centering transgender women seeking stable, adult lives, A Dream of a Woman finds quiet truths in prairie high-rises and New York warehouses, in freezing Canadian winters and drizzly Oregon days. An ethereal meditation on partnership, sex, addiction, romance, groundedness, and love, the stories in A Dream of a Woman buzz with quiet intensity and the intimate complexities of being human.

Rose, Rachel
The octopus has three hearts

These stories explore universal elements of the human condition, from parenthood to sexuality, identity to fidelity. It is a collection that will appeal to animal lovers, readers of literary fiction and anyone looking for their place to belong.

Coupland, Douglas .
Binge: 60 stories to make your head feel different

Thirty years after Douglas Coupland broke the fiction mould and defined a generation with Generation X, he is back with Binge , 60 stories laced with his observational profundity about the way we live and his existential worry about how we should be living: the very things that have made him such an influential and bestselling writer. Not to mention that he can also be really funny.

Plett, Casey
Dream of a Woman

Centering transgender women seeking stable, adult lives, A Dream of a Woman finds quiet truths in prairie high-rises and New York warehouses, in freezing Canadian winters and drizzly Oregon days. Casey Plett lives in Windsor, Ontario.

Alexis, André
The night piece

These reveal worlds both familiar and deeply strange. Drawing from the author's debut collection, this is surreal and brilliant short fiction from one of Canada's most extraordinary writers.

Gould, John
The end of me

The End of Me is a collection of 56 very short stories about death. These 'sudden stories' or 'postcard fiction' or 'flash fiction' explore the experience of mortality. With an ear attuned to the uncanny and the ironic, John Gould catches his characters at moments of illumination as they encounter the dark mystery of their finite being. This collection-- funny, sad, absurd-- draws from the imponderable a great compassion and vitality.

Bickell, Katie
Always brave, sometimes kind

A series of connected short stories set in urban and rural Alberta, spanning from 1990 to 2016, through cycles of boom and bust in the oil fields, government budget cuts, the rising opioid crisis, and the intersecting lives of people whose communities sometimes stretch farther than they know.

Ball, Jonathan
The lightning of possible storms

Aleya's world starts to unravel after she finds a collection of short stories left hehind by a café customer for her. The more she reads, the deeper she sinks into the mysterious writer's work, and the less real the world around her seems.

Kellough, Kaie
Dominoes at the crossroads

In this short story collection, characters navigate race, history, and coming of age through their confessions and dreams.

Reva, Maria.
Good citizens need not fear

A collection of interconnected short stories that set in and around an apartment building in Ukraine, before and after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Dunnion, Kristyn
Stoop City

From the lovelorn Mary Louise, who struggles with butch bachelorhood, to rural teens finding--and found by--adult sexualities, to Grimm's "The Golden Goose" rendered as a jazz dance spectacle, Kristyn Dunnion's freewheeling collection fosters a radical revisioning of community. Dunnion goes wherever there's a story to tell--and then, out of whispers and shouts, echoes and snippets, gritty realism and speculative fiction, illuminates the delicate strands that hold us all together.

Wang, Jack
We two alone

A masterful collection of stories that dramatizes the Chinese diaspora across the globe over the past hundred years, We Two Alone is Jack Wang's astonishing debut work of fiction. Set on five continents and spanning nearly a century, We Two Alone traces the long arc and evolution of the Chinese immigrant experience. A young laundry boy risks his life to play organized hockey in Canada in the 1920s. A Canadian couple gets caught in the outbreak of violence in Shanghai during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The consul general of China attempts to save lives following Kristallnacht in Vienna. A family aspires to buy a home in South Africa, during the rise of apartheid. An actor in New York struggles to keep his career alive while yearning to reconcile with his estranged wife. From the vulnerable and disenfranchised to the educated and elite, the characters in this extraordinary collection embody the diversity of the diaspora at key moments in history and in contemporary times. Jack Wang has crafted deeply affecting stories that not only subvert expectations but contend with mortality and delicately draw out the intimacies and failings of love.

Theis, Leona
If Sylvie had nine lives

An innovative, gorgeously written story about the small decisions that shape our lives. Meet Sylvie -- funny, sly, sensual and flawed. She can't always count on herself to make good choices. She may or may not recognize a life-or-death moment, may or may not cancel her own wedding with a day to spare, might just try to walk past store security with a little something in her pocket. Like all of us, Sylvie must make decisions that have reverberations for years to come. Unlike the rest of us, Sylvie gets to live more than one life. In airy prose imbued with humour, this novel asks the big questions: is there a right path and a wrong path, or does each possibility hold its share of pleasure and pain? Does a person have an immutable self, or is her essence dependent on circumstances? In this energetic and innovative book, Leona Theis creates a world without the usual limits and a protaganist who is conflicted, charismatic, brave, and full of curiosity. If Sylvie Had Nine Lives is for everyone who has ever asked, What if... ?

Davidson, Craig
Cascade

Set in in the Niagara Falls of Davidson's imagination known as "Cataract City," the superb stories of Cascade shine a shimmering light on this slightly seedy, slightly magical, slightly haunted place. The six gems in this collection each illuminate familial relationships in a singular way: A mother and her infant son fight to survive a car-crash in a remote wintry landscape outside of town. Fraternal twins at a juvenile detention center reach a dangerous crisis point in their entwined lives. A pregnant social worker grapples with the prospect of parenthood as a custody case takes a dire turn. A hard-boiled ex-firefighter goes after a serial arsonist with a flair for the theatrical even as his own troubled sister is drawn towards the flames. These are just some of the unforgettable characters animating this stellar collection of tales--Davidson's first in 15 years, since Rust and Bone , which inspired a Golden Globe-nominated film.

Thammavongsa, Souvankham
How to pronounce knife

Told with compassion and wry humour, these stories honour characters struggling to find their bearings far from home, even as they do the necessary "grunt work of the world." A young man painting nails at the local salon. A woman plucking feathers at a chicken processing plant. A father who packs furniture to move into homes he'll never afford. A housewife learning English from daytime soap operas. In her stunning debut book of fiction, O. Henry Award winner Souvankham Thammavongsa focuses on characters struggling to make a living, illuminating their hopes, disappointments, love affairs, acts of defiance, and above all their pursuit of a place to belong. In spare, intimate prose charged with emotional power and a sly wit, she paints an indelible portrait of watchful children, wounded men, and restless women caught between cultures, languages, and values.

Bergen, David
Here the dark

From the streets of Danang, Vietnam, where a boy falls in with a young American missionary, to fishermen lost off the islands of Honduras, to the Canadian prairies, where a teenage boy's infatuation reveals his naiveté and an aging rancher finds himself smitten, the short stories in Here the Dark explore the spaces between doubt and belief, evil and good, obscurity and light. Following men and boys bewildered by their circumstances and swayed by desire, surprised by love and by their capacity for both tenderness and violence, and featuring a novella about a young woman who rejects the laws of her cloistered Mennonite community, Scotiabank Giller Prize-winner David Bergen's latest deftly renders complex moral ambiguities and asks what it means to be lost--and how we might be found.

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.

Levine, Elise
This wicked tongue

In moments of exile and self-exile, exodus and return, Elise Levine's uncanny narratives lay bare the secret grammar of their characters' psyches. An ill-tempered divinity-school candidate refuses to minister to a dying man's wife; a couple fails to connect as they tour an ersatz cave in the south of France; holy women grieve in medieval England, and a pregnant runaway hitches a ride with a Church leader of dubious intentions. Propelled by their longing for pasts that no longer exist, these reluctant Adams and contemporary Eves confront the unspoken, the maligned, the abject aspects of their inner geographies, mining them for gems that glint and scatter in the light. Uncompromising and honest, lyrical and wry, This Wicked Tongue dares to tell the truth about the places we have come from and the new ones we might find.

Huynh, Philip
The Forbidden Purple City

A man returns to Hoi An in his retirement to compose a poem honouring his parents. Two teenagers, ostracized in a private school, forge an unlikely bond. A son discovers the truth about his father's business ventures and his dreams of success. A young bride, isolated on a remote island with her new husband, finds community in a group of abalone divers.Taking the title for his debut collection of short fiction from the walled palace of Vietnam's Nguyen dynasty, Philip Huynh dives headfirst into the Vietnamese diaspora. In these beautifully crafted stories, crystalline in their clarity and immersive in their intensity, he creates a universe inhabited by the deprivations of war, the reinvention of self in a new and unfamiliar settings, and the tensions between old-world parents and new-world children. Rooted in history and tradition yet startlingly contemporary in their approach, Huynh's stories are sensuously evocative, plunging us into worlds so all-encompassing that we can smell the scent of orange blossoms and hear the rumble of bass lines from suburban car stereos.

Butala, Sharon
Season of fury and wonder

The season of fury and wonder, in Sharon Butala's world, is the old age of women. These stories present the lives of old women - women of experience, who've seen much of life, who've tasted of its sweetness and its bitter possibilities, and have developed opinions and come to conclusions about what it all amounts to. These are stories of today's old women, who understand that they have been created by their pasts.

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.