Stories of Second Chances

Katherine Koller, who follows her award-winning Art Lessons with Winning Chance, shares other story collections about second chances, and the even the one after that.  

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My new collection of 15 short stories, Winning Chance, explores those second and third chances that the universe provides, and what we do with them. Here are ten selections, in no particular order, which also examine that next chance.

I love this quote by Giorgos Seferis, and have it at the front my reading log: “Don’t ask who’s influenced me. A lion is made up of the lambs he’s digested, and I’ve been reading all my life.” Although I don’t consider myself in any way a lion, here are some delicious short story collections by Canadian writers.

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A Song for Nettie Johnson, by Gloria Sawaii

These are gobsmacking great stories by the late Edmontonian and Governor General’s Award winner.

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To Everything a Season, by Helen Mourre

This is a collection of Saskatchewan stories that will take your breath away, dealing with the loss of family relationships when one leaves God’s country, the sturdy soil and work of the land.

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All Saints, by K.D. Miller

These are linked stories of lost souls who somehow reach redemption.

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Paradise and Elsewhere, by Kathy Page

These haunting stories are set in alternate mythic realities or futuristic regressive societies with exquisite sentences and sinking, searing endings. I also loved the recent novel, Dear Evelyn, by this author.

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Island, by Alistair Macleod

Every story here, some almost novellas, is a wonder, about survival and keeping on together in the beauty and barriers of coastal life.

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Book Cover Rising Abruptly

Rising Abruptly, by Gisèle Villeneuve

Winner of the Writers Guild of Alberta award for fiction, this collection is about mountain climbing from Canmore to Tibet. Read this one for finely crafted language above the tree line.

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Glass Beads, by Dawn Dumont

These connected stories about four friends from the rez living in the city propelled me to read the author’s backlist after it won a Saskatchewan Book Award.

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Making Light of Tragedy, by Jessica Grant

These stories are full of light, wit, and good humour, as is Grant’s novel, Come, Thou Tortoise.

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Pleased to Meet You, by Caroline Adderson

Many of these stories have to do with couples’ dynamics and lonely, damaged hearts. The reader cares about these characters because we understand their worries, but we leave them somehow relieved that they’ll be okay.

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Something for Everyone, by Lisa Moore

These stories—by a master of the form—surprise and so engage, and bring the reader into such intimate proximity with the characters. 

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About Winning Chance

From the author of Art Lessons, a finalist for the Robert Kroetch City of Edmonton Book Prize and the Alberta Readers' Choice Awards! In the stories in Winning Chance , Katherine Koller explores second chances, how we find them, and how we find the courage to take them. Whether they are contractors running into an ex while on the job, a busy mother pursuing community theatre, or a family building an illegal ice rink after an environmental collapse, Katherine Koller has created empathetic portraits of characters searching to connect.

May 6, 2019
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