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Fiction Literary

Red Girl Rat Boy

by (author) Cynthia Flood

Initial publish date
Sep 2013
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2013
    List Price

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A Quill & Quire Best Book of the Year

A Globe & Mail Best Short Fiction Title

A National Post Best Short Fiction Title

A January Magazine Best Book of the Year

Shortlisted for the 2014 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize

"Complicated, passionate, genuine."- Chatelaine

Women. Young women, old women. The hair-obsessed, the politically driven, the sure-footed, the bony-butted, the awkward and compulsive and alone. Sleep-deprived and testy. Exhausted and accepting. Among the innumerablewives, husbands, sisters, and in-laws vexed by short temper and insecurity throughout this short story collection, Cynthia Flood's protagonists stand out as citizens of a reality that the rest of the world will only partially understand. New from the Journey Prize-winning author, Red Girl Rat Boy is a collection of astonishing range and assured technique, whose voices-gothic, peculiar, domestic, and strange-remain as passionate and complex as ever.

Praise for Red Girl Rat Boy

"Revengeand politics season this potent and passionate collection of stories. Flood excavates indelible histories that haunt even those who've shaken the dust of the past." -Aritha van Herk, author of Judith

"Flood's eye is unflinching, her language energetic and precise, her vision bracing, passionate and entirely lacking in sentimentality."-Nancy Richler, author of The Imposter Bride

"The notary in “Dirty Work' has “retired from witnessing how rough human existence is.' Fortunately for us, Cynthia Flood has not ... these stories prove her to be among our great North American fiction writers."-Betsy Warland, author of Breathing the Page: Reading the Act of Writing

"Raw energy is Cynthia Flood's territory. This is a superb collection."-Laurie Lewis, author of Little Comrades

"Cynthia Flood is full of surprises. If there's one thing that characterizes her elegant, crystal-sharp short stories, it's that element of surprise ... they reward the attentive reader with surprise and delight"-Dave Margoshes, author of A Book of Great Worth

About the author

Cynthia Flood’s stories have won numerous awards, including The Journey Prize and National Magazine awards, and have been widely anthologized. Her novel Making a Stone of the Heart was nominated for the City of Vancouver Book Prize in 2002. She is the author of the acclaimed short story collections The Animals in Their Elements (1987) and My Father Took a Cake to France (1992). She lives on Vancouver’s East side.

Cynthia Flood's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"In Red Girl Rat Boy Cynthia Flood has pared her style down to a clipped staccato that is at first jarring, then mesmerizing. How does she scrape the narrative so close to the bone, yet still manage to emotionally engage the reader? Because she's a master, carefully maximizing the potential of each word ... poetry." - Caroline Adderson, The Globe & Mail

"Flood is a highly accomplished stylist, whose technique is tightly calibrated and precise ... Anything superfluous is ruthlessly pared away ... The stories in Red Girl Rat Boy are brief, but dense, requiring concentration and attention ... [yet are] as emotionally engaging as any flat-out storyteller." - The National Post

"Flood challenges, enlightens, disturbs ... a stunning fifth book." - The Vancouver Sun

"As we have come to expect, Flood's stories reward attentive reading. Realism is the dominant technique, but there are also quirks that bend the reader's ear and excite. Carol Shields used to talk about female storytelling that avoided the "classic" duality of climax and release. Flood's stories are Shields-type stories: multi-orgasmic. Ahem." - Quill & Quire

"The Journey Prize-winning author packs a lot [of] power into 11 taut stories that celebrate and challenge women of all types. Flood is unflinching, but her readers might not be so brave. The author is honest to the point of occasional emotional and unsentimental brutality. This is amazing stuff." - January Magazine

"With the agility of an acrobat, Flood navigates shifts and turns within time, often lifetimes, while employing a free indirect style that catapults the reader from a character's most immediate experience to retrospective narration and then back again ... These stories are told in a voice that navigates like an underground stream through the deepest channels of the psyche. These stories are felt in the marrow." - The Coastal Spectator

"A unique breed of confident, highly stylized writing ... Creative writing courses would benefit from studying why she does what she does ... Flood's stories are also commendable for covering much emotional ground and character history in very little space." - The Telegraph-Journal

" Do not search for a grand overarching theme in this collection of short stories by the prize-winning Canadian author. Flood freely experiments with a style she describes as " elliptical, compressed, imagistic" and features protagonists who are flawed, varied, and - enticingly - only partially relatable." - Toronto Review of Books

"A strong collection from a Journey Prize winner who knows how short stories ought to work." - Salty Ink

"Flood's narratives know no bounds ... her stories break through barriers, surprise at turns ... Flood herself is the hunter shooting right between the eyes." - Pickle Me This

"Compulsively readable." - CultMontreal

"Diverse and peculiar, elliptical and compressed, with no linkage between them other than the spare, sure skillof the writer ... Flood is a master of doing more with less. There are no wasted words, yet each story has a huge expanse and a high ceiling ... Flood, in scant and careful images, places us in stories that require us to see and to think about perspective, about where we are situated, what it is we see, and what to make of it." - Malahat Review

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