In the stories of Mad Hope, Journey Prize winner Heather Birrell finds the heart of her characters and lets them lead us into worlds both recognizable and alarming. A science teacher and former doctor is forced to re-examine the role he played in CeauÅ?escu’s Romania after a student makes a shocking request; a tragic plane crash becomes the basis for a meditation on motherhood and its discontents; women in an online chat group share (and overshare) their anxieties and personal histories; and a chance encounter in a waiting room tests the ties that bind us. Using precise, inventive language, Birrell creates astute and empathetic portraits of people we thought we knew – and deftly captures the lovely, maddening mess of being human.
About the author
Heather Birrell is the author of two story collections, Mad Hope and I know you are but what am I?. Her work has been honoured with the Journey Prize for short fiction and the Edna Staebler Award for creative non-fiction, and has been shortlisted for both National and Western Magazine Awards. Birrell's stories have appeared in many North American journals and anthologies, including The New Quarterly and Toronto Noir. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Toronto, where she teaches high school English by day and creative writing to adults by night. Learn more at www.heatherbirrell.com.
'This is a beautiful book: funny, whip-smart, compassionate, and gorgeously written. Heather Birrell belongs in the short story pantheon with Alice Munro, Lisa Moore, and Zsuzsi Gartner.' – Annabel Lyon