John O'Neill's gothic short stories, set in the Canadian Rockies, are haunted by the violence inherent in nature and humans. The mountains are majestic and impassive. The characters are surprising, bent, but also empathetic. Their survival is tenuous. A two-sister team of goth tour guides offers guided excursions up switchback mountain trails; a paroled convict thumbs his way into the life of a family driving west; and an animal pathologist, while performing a necropsy on a grizzly bear, has an unusual encounter with both technology and humanity.
Goth Girls of Banff is a superb collection, sharply written, with plot turns as consequence-laden as those on an iced-over mountain road.
Praise for Goth Girls of Banff
"John O'Neill's characters are thoughtful, at odds with their environment, and above all, deeply human. His prose is lyrical and imaginative, empathetic, with surprising moments of humour. The distinct Alberta landscape is depicted with precision and awe. Well-shaped, character-driven plots build towards powerful emotional endings, in these stories that explore loneliness, fate, and subtle, prickly, human relationships."
~ Shashi Bhat, author of The Family Took Shape
"O'Neill's Goth Girls of Banff should be as essential to the mountain visitor as The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide."
~ Lee Gowan, author of Confession and The Last Cowboy
"Beautifully executed and organically driven, these stories borne of the Canadian West captivate from the beginning and linger long in the mind. From Marilyn Monroe to encounters with wildlife to Castle Mountain Internment Camp, O'Neill is a storyteller whose tales carry an edgy grace and shimmering surefootedness. A compelling and visceral read."
~ Catherine Graham, author of Quarry and The Celery Forest