Inundation took three days. Three days to wash away better than a hundred years of enterprise. At the end of those three days there was an enormous lake, and a new waterway. In the new towns the sawdust still hung in the air. It was no biblical deluge, no great, sudden wave, but a slow and deliberate editing of landscape. You could check it in the morning and go away for a while and when you looked again you might not be certain the water had risen, untilyou began to remember the things you had seen before that you could not see any longer. Gradually it rose, ineluctable and ordained—a flood decreed by legislation, enacted by determination.On the third day, I left. — from “Inundation Day”
Escaping government-sanctioned flooding, obsessing over camera-equipped drones, violently mourning a lost brother, discovering a new passion in fencing, watching a wildfire consume a whole town: the stories in Lands andForests survey the emotional landscapes of women and men whose lives, though rooted deeply in the land and their small communities, are still rocked by great cultural change. These are raw, honest character studies reminiscent of the work of Alexander MacLeod and Lisa Moore, but with a style and energy all their own.
Andrew Forbes's first book, the story collection What You Need, was a runner-up for the 2016 Danuta Gleed Literary Award, and was shortlisted for the 2016 Trillium Book Prize. His second book, The Utility of Boredom: Baseball Essays, is currently in its fourth printing. Born in Ottawa, he spent much of his childhood in Atlantic Canada, lived in Oxford Mills, Ontario, and currently resides in Peterborough, Ontario with his wife and three children. Find him at andrewgforbes.com.
“In this superbly stark, brooding collection, disillusioned men and women struggle along, the potential for grandeur in their futures long since faded. And yet there is still awe amid their resignation—for the beauty in the world, and sometimes for each other. With Lands and Forests, Andrew Forbes digs beneath stunning, wild landscapes to find all of the unhappiness buried there, unearthing life’s cruel disappointments and splaying them out on the dirt one by one. These are bleak, sharp, ruthless stories, and I loved them.”
“Full of quiet tension and a cast of fully-realized characters that feel like they could step off the page, Andrew Forbes’s Lands and Forests shows us what the short story was made to do: delight us, surprise us, and prompt us to more fully recognize ourselves.”