WINNER OF THE 2021 RELIT AWARD FOR SHORT FICTION
A sea witch, a bossy Virgin Mary, and a lesbian widow’s wife—in ghost form—walk into a short story collection ...
Welcome to Stoop City, where your neighbours include a condo-destroying cat, a teen queen beset by Catholic guilt, and an emergency clinic staffed entirely by lovelorn skeptics. Couples counseling with Marzana, her girlfriend's ghost, might not be enough to resolve past indiscretions; our heroine could need a death goddess ritual or two. Plus, Hoofy’s not sure if his missing scam-artist boyfriend was picked up by the cops, or by that pretty blonde, their last mark. When Jan takes a room at Plague House, her first year of university takes an unexpected turn—into anarcho-politics and direct action, gender studies and late-night shenanigans with Saffy, her captivating yet cagey housemate.
From the lovelorn Mary Louise, who struggles with butch bachelorhood, to rural teens finding—and found by—adult sexualities, to Grimm’s “The Golden Goose” rendered as a jazz dance spectacle, Kristyn Dunnion’s freewheeling collection fosters a radical revisioning of community. Dunnion goes wherever there’s a story to tell—and then, out of whispers and shouts, echoes and snippets, gritty realism and speculative fiction, illuminates the delicate strands that hold us all together.
Kristyn Dunnion grew up in Essex County, the southernmost tip of Canada, and now lives in Toronto. She is the author of six books, including Tarry This Night and The Dirt Chronicles, a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Her short fiction is widely published, most recently in Best Canadian Stories 2020, Foglifter, Orca: A Literary Journal, and Toronto 2033. Dunnion works supporting homeless adults with serious mental illness, and has been a healthy food advocate for marginalized communities in Davenport-Perth, where she resides.
Praise for Stoop City
"What an assured and attractively variegated collection of stories. Set in Toronto and small-town southern Ontario, Kristyn Dunnion's 13 short pieces are marvellous feats of pacing and styling bolstered by vibrant characterization and enviable turns of phrase."—Quill & Quire (starred review)
“No one writes like Kristyn Dunnion, not even those of us who really, really want to. These are stories that live under your skin and force new colours into the spectrum, that rip open and fold inward at the same time. You read them and wonder about the talent that allowed them to be told. Just how many lives has Dunnion lived exactly, to be able to write like this? Because you believe every word and walk beside every character. I am a long-time fan of Kristyn's work and now I think I may be head-over-heels in love.”—Cherie Dimaline, Kirkus Prize-winning author of The Marrow Thieves
“Like her feral, tormented citizens, Dunnion swaps registers, altitudes, myths, and meanings with heartbroken elan. These stories are merciful and naked; these sentences never miss.”—Paige Cooper, Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated author of Zolitude
“Stoop City is a tender snarl of an album, a glorious collection of wreckage and beauty and insight. Dunnion's care shines through each carefully crafted page.”—Casey Plett, Amazon.ca First Novel Award-winning author of Little Fish
“Subtle satire and fantastical elements bring levity and subtext to Canadian author Dunnion’s short fiction … Dunnion’s wistful vignettes argue persuasively that the one affliction from which all human beings suffer—regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status—is loneliness. Dunnion’s second collection comprises a diverse slate of loosely linked stories with a cohesive message: Everybody hurts.”—Kirkus Reviews
"The heroines in Dunnion’s defiant collection offer refreshingly blunt observations about the world around them, in settings alternating between the gritty and the fantastical."—Publishers Weekly
“Kristyn Dunnion is a sharply observant chronicler of the marginal urban experience. In these tightly written stories, nobody gets a break. Even her well-adjusted characters are stretched to the limit by challenging circumstances. What comes through loud and clear though is the author’s empathy for people whose lives are spinning out of control through no fault of their own.”—The Miramichi Reader
“To read this collection is to witness stories of human connection told in a myriad of ways, from the absence-of to a yearning-for … Dunnion builds a community of diverse, vivid lives sewn into a patchwork quilt … The author’s strength lies in her dynamic characters: in creating a multitude of existences, and allowing us to share in those moments. And what we see is not the end. The residents of Stoop City live beyond the page.”—Prism International
Praise for Kristyn Dunnion
“The Dirt Chronicles is tough and tenderhearted, a beautifully-written literary ode to outlaw culture. Kristyn Dunnion's writing is fierce and funny, a truly original book of stories I hope everyone will read.”—Zoe Whittall
“Kristyn Dunnion is an utterly glorious writer. The gothic lyricism of Tarry This Night not only secures her a place among the rising stars of genre-bridging literary fiction, it is a declarative staking-out of narrative territory that is uniquely hers. A superb, elegant read.”—Michael Rowe