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Fiction Short Stories (single Author)

Instructions for the Drowning

by (author) Steven Heighton

Initial publish date
Oct 2022
Short Stories (single author), Literary
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price

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“To say Heighton is an immensely talented writer is true enough but insufficient ... As good a writer as Canada has ever produced.” National Post

A man recalls his father's advice on how to save a drowning person, but struggles to come to terms with its application. Locked down with his new partner and her aging cat, a recovering alcoholic must continue learning how to balance control and vulnerability. When his husband dies, a son's request of his conservative father teaches both men to see one another, and their relationship, anew. In stories about love and fear, Romantic idealism and practical limitations, self-reckoning and how we learn to care for one another, Steven Heighton's Instructions for the Drowning is the unforgettable last collection by a writer working at the height of his powers.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Steven Heighton (1961–2022) was the author of nineteen previous books, including the Writers' Trust Hilary Weston Prize finalist Reaching Mithymna: Among the Volunteers and Refugees on Lesvos and The Waking Comes Late, winner of the Governor General's Award for poetry.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Steven Heighton

“[A] brilliant storyteller … [His] exquisite, powerful meditations on who we are place Heighton among the great Canadian writers … His focus is contemporary, but he is a practitioner of the old school, a writer for those who love to read widely and deeply.”—Donna Bailey Nurse,
Literary Review of Canada

“The key to the book’s force is Heighton’s imperative to humanize and individualize everyone he encounters ... These are not statistics but people, each sensitively depicted ... A stunning book, by turns heartbreaking and affirming, fundamentally human in its depth and scope.”Quill & Quire (starred review)

“Vivid and powerfully drawn ... The Shadow Boxer is an energetic, fluent and interesting novel by a writer who has already shown himself to be gifted, capable of exploring and experimenting with language.”—Times Literary Supplement

“Heighton works (and plays) with words in wondrous ways few contemporary poets even dream of attempting, let alone conquering.”—Judith Fitzgerald, Globe and Mail


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