In settings that range from the old American West to pre-revolutionary France, from a present-day dig site in the high tablelands of South America to deep space, That Tiny Life is a wide-ranging and utterly original collection of short fiction and a novella that examines the idea of progress — humanity’s never-ending cycle of creation and destruction.
In the award-winning story, “Valley Floor,” a surgeon performs an amputation in the open desert in the American West. In “Da Capo al Fine,” set in eighteenth-century France, the creator of the fortepiano designs another, more brutal instrument. And in “That Tiny Life,” the reader gets a glimpse into a future in which human resource extraction goes far beyond Earth. Each story is infused with impeccably researched detail that brings obscure and fascinating subject matter into bright relief, be it falconry, ancient funeral rites, or space exploration. The result is an amazing interplay of minute detail against the backdrop of huge themes, such as human expression and impact, our need for connection, the innate violence in nature, and the god-complex present in all acts of human creation.
A highly accomplished, evocative, and wholly impressive work of short fiction, That Tiny Life introduces readers to a writer with limitless range and imagination.
ERIN FRANCES FISHER’s stories have been published internationally in literary journals such as Granta, PRISM International, the Malahat Review, and Little Fiction. She was the winner of the RBC Writers’ Trust of Canada Bronwen Wallace Emerging Writers Award, The Malahat Review’s Open Season Award for Fiction, and PRISM International’s Short Fiction Grand Prize. Erin holds an MFA in Writing from the University of Victoria and teaches piano at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. She is working on her first novel. She lives in Victoria, B.C.
Grim and riveting, Erin Frances Fisher’s stylistic virtuosity in these six dexterously crafted tales is by turns macabre and blackly funny. Characters search for absolution, miss, struggle for, and sometimes make their connections. We root for their negotiations of the morbid topography of change. The harshness and magnificence of That Tiny Life is seen through a lens intensely magnified by the brevity and transience of existence. Anyone interested in the human condition will appreciate this book.
Moving with ease from seventeenth century France to the American wild west to the outer edges of space, these stories are limitless and filled with a complicated wonder. That Tiny Life is a book of startling reach and ambition. An extraordinary debut.