The city of Fontainebleau, situated on the banks of the Detroit River, is undergoing growing pains and strange things are happening.  There's something poisonous in the water, something menacing in the sky, and the soil, laced with an ancient curse, is yielding up unidentified bones along with corn. In this collection of linked stories (part surreal picaresque, part dark comedy, and part murder mystery) magic meets the mundane as misfits and miscreants struggle to free themselves from untenable situations. A girl with mermaid syndrome disappears into a field, a fugitive boy dreams of finding anonymity in Toronto while his abandoned pregnant girlfriend hallucinates his second coming, and a nostalgic chambermaid finds her memories vanish when she puts on a stranger's wig. There's a rash of killings in the city that attract a lovesick police officer. No one knows who's responsible for the crimes, but the city has plenty of candidates, like the crazy son of a judge who murdered a man in Disney World and the grieving vandal who's obsessed with the idea of cutting a woman in half. Then there are the abusive husbands, snuff film producers, inconspicuous con women, and pederasts who live secret double lives. Are the characters in this oddly probable world masters or victims of their own fate? How do their lives intersect? Is it likely that destruction will ultimately prevail over this desolate land, or will consciousness, like a flaming firebird, lead at least some of the city's inhabitants to self-acceptance, redemption, or escape?
"A darkly engrossing and artfully composed sequence of stories from a contemporary master of the form - Sonik's fearsome prose shines sublime light on the plain-sight secrets of modern life." -Lee Henderson, author of The Man Game and The Road Narrows as You Go
About the author
Madeline Sonik's first collection of short fiction, Drying the Bones, was released by Nightwood Editions in 2000. She is the co-editor of the recently released anthology Entering the Landscape (Oberon) and in 1998 identified a new direction in Canadian writing with the anthology Fresh Blood: New Canadian Gothic Fiction (Turnstone Press). Her fiction and poetry have appeared in major literary magazines, including Event, Grain, Pottersfield Portfolio, The New Quarterly and Descant. She holds an MA in Journalism and is currently an MFA candidate at The University of British Columbia. She is also a black cord priestess of 13th House Mystery School and a practicing witch.