Annabel Lyon is one of the country’s most electrifying new literary voices. Written in tough, crystalline prose, these stories explore our need by turns to connect with the people around us, to pull back, to reach out again. When a struggling businessman adds an Adults Only section to his video store, he inadvertently gives his put-upon sister-in-law another chance at happiness. A baffled father does his best to understand the anxiety that keeps his thirteen-year-old daughter awake at night. The facts surrounding a murder become a tangle of contradictions when three teenagers each tell their side of the story. A man’s lifelong devotion to the girl abandoned to his care is not enough to save her from herself. As Lyon bravely delves into the gulf between what is said and what is left unsaid, she reveals to us the awkward and familiar gestures we use to fill our lives.
ANNABEL LYON is the author of seven books for adults and kids, including the internationally bestselling The Golden Mean. She teaches creative writing at the University of British Columbia.
“Almost every line in Oxygen contains a secret treat – the tart heart of a candy; an undetonated hand-grenade.…Lyon tattoos the page like a born wordsmith – in indelible ink, in dizzying colours.…Inhale Oxygen with caution; it’s like a dangerous new drug.” —Zsuzsi Gartner
“Impressive.…Take-your-breath-away stories.” —Michelle Berry, Globe and Mail
“New pinpricks of light appear constantly, and whole galaxies come into view. . . . Her prose is as sleek and hardpacked as a good argument.” —National Post
“Lyon is like a jeweler, arranging bits of story into hard brilliance.…Oxygen is diamond-sharp.” —Uptown
“Annabel Lyon is so sparky and wise. She writes of sadness and of menace, but with a heady lightness. The people in her stories breathe. Their dialogue sasses. If Oxygen were a songbook, it would be jazz.” —Caroline Adderson
“A bravura performance. . . . Lively, funny, and impassioned. Oxygen is caffeinated writing, in the best sense.” —Quill & Quire
“Lyon’s versatility shines through in both form and content. . . . [The stories are] virtuoso feats of wordplay that show a writer willing to experiment boldly with language. . . . An impressive debut.” —Toronto Star
“A taut thread of unspoken tension runs through each densely crafted world Annabel Lyon creates.…She neither sugar-coats, nor takes us by the hand, but gives it to us straight.…Lyon is indisputably an artist, not to mention a painstaking and exacting craftsperson.” —Vancouver Sun
“Oxygen demonstrates why [Annabel Lyon] has left the country’s literary elite breathless.” —Elm Street
“Her prose is riveting.” —The Danforth Review