The Octopus Has Three Hearts offers dispatches from the margins of human society. These are stories about damaged people who have committed, witnessed or survived terrible acts and who must make their way in an unforgiving world.
From a goat farmer to a suburban adulterer, a violent child to a polyamorous marine biologist, Rose’s diverse characters have little in common except a life-sustaining connection to the animal world. The octopus, dogs, pigs, chameleons, bats, parrots, rats and sugar gliders in their lives extend a measure of compassion and solace that their human communities lack.
Rachel Rose’s finely tuned sense of irony is evident in this collection, which embraces the strange and unexpected, exploring the outer limits of empathy and forgiveness. Her flawed and broken characters, who may range far from readers’ own lived experiences, reveal universal elements of the human condition and the curious redemption of the human-animal bond.
About the author
Rachel Rose is the author of four collections of poetry and a memoir, The Dog Lover Unit: Lessons in Courage from the World’s K9 Cops (St. Martin’s Press), which was shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis award for best non-fiction crime book in 2018. She is also the recipient of the Bronwen Wallace Award for fiction from The Writers’ Trust, the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, a 2014 and 2016 Pushcart Prize and a 2016 nomination for a Governor General’s Award. She is the Poet Laureate Emerita of Vancouver, poetry editor at Cascadia Magazine and a contributor for Maisonneuve Magazine. Rose’s work has appeared in numerous anthologies and publications including The Globe & Mail, American Poetry Review, Poetry, Malahat Review, Rattle, New Quarterly, Best Canadian Poetry, Monte Cristo Magazine and the Vancouver Sun. She lives in Vancouver, BC.
- Long-listed, Scotiabank Giller Prize
"What role do animals play in the lives of people? This is the question posed by author Rachel Rose in her bold, unabashed debut short fiction ... these compassionate, skilfully written stories will undoubtedly appeal to animal lovers as well as readers of literary short stories."
Bev Sandell Greenberg, <i>Winnipeg Free Press</i>