Winner, Canadian Authors Emerging Writer Award
Finalist, Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers
Shortlisted for the NLCU Fresh Fish Award for Emerging Writers, Barrelling Forward is a brilliantly crafted debut collection from Newfoundland’s newest literary star.
Eva Crocker sees life in sharper focus than the rest of us. The objects, rituals, and scenes of everyday life take on an almost mythic quality in these stories, even while remaining intimately recognizable to us all. Crocker peers at the underbelly of poverty and work, ambition and apathy, loneliness and love, to find the sliver of beauty in each spot. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems: the boundaries between friendship and sex dissolve; power relationships are turned on their heads, if only long enough to examine them from all angles; transgressions and escapes become new kinds of traps. In “Auditioning,” a young twin makes a desperate attempt to reclaim her individuality. In “Serving,” a father and a son give parallel accounts of what it looks like when you let life eat you from the inside out. In “Star of the Sea,” a man watches his past get literally torn down before his eyes. And in the Cuffer Prize-winning “Dead Skin,” an after-school walk through the barrens leaves two boys forever changed.
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.
Vivid, sexy, funny, and raw.
Suggesting Alice Munro is both high and lazy praise – an easy way to say well-set short fiction and a pretty future for Crocker in CanLit – but there’s a quality to this Newfoundland author’s work that fans of the Nobel Prize winner will recognize, if they’re willing to displace age, place and decoration accordingly. Where Munro so remarkably captures rural banality, Crocker taps a similarly enthralling mundanity in Quebec’s urban bustle and Eastern Canada’s could-be-anywhere suburban sprawls.
Whether they are flipping over in a car or are at a Deep Purple concert, the characters in Barrelling Forward have no intention of accepting their narrative. Each page is filled with the mundane, steeped in awe. And underneath it all lies a strange rage. Eva Crocker is a bright new misfit in Canlit.
Eva Crocker is a remarkable stylist; her impressive stories crackle with life and originality. Barrelling Forward is a stunning debut.
A fine and enthralling collection that will excite and seduce readers
[A]n intimate and fascinating read.
sharp writing full of care and shocking exactness
Honest, funny, smart and so, so well-crafted, Barrelling Forward is a feast for those starving for the real thing in fiction. The ancient and peculiar mystery of intimacy — how we fit (or fail to fit) into the lives that surround us — winds its murky way through the whole collection, but each story burns with the excitement of a brand new case, completely original, and saturated with sharp detail. This is the work of a debut writer already at the top of her game. Please, Ms. Crocker, we want some more!