Finalist, Danuta Gleed Literary Award
Finalist, Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, BC Book Prizes
A 49th Shelf Book of the Year
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.
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.
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.
PRAISE FOR ERIN FRANCES FISHER AND THAT TINY LIFE
“That Tiny Life by Erin Frances Fisher is a book built of exquisite details. They all demand to be looked at under the microscope of Fisher’s penetrating and irresistible prose. And when examined, the meaning is so stunning, you are enraptured by the grand themes tackled in each story. The juxtaposition of small and large, nature and science, cowboys and space travellers renders the reading experience of this book startling and exhilarating, making you rejoice in the perplex mystery of your own tiny life.” — Danuta Gleed Literary Award Jury Citation
“Fisher’s writing is cinematic in scope, coupled with a rare talent for restraint that leaves you wholly satisfied yet yearning for more at every story’s conclusion.” — Calgary Herald
“Imagery that would make a poet jealous, characters rich enough to sustain entire novels, and dialogue that communicates a lot in few words . . . That Tiny Life is gorgeous.” —Quill & Quire
“Every time I opened this book I expected to find clumps of feather or rabbit fur or grit from one of Saturn’s moons. Erin Frances Fisher evokes place and wildness like no other. In these stories, you’ll find cowboys, space nomads, and a menagerie of beasts — all united by Fisher’s dogged prose and a thematic undercurrent of exile. That Tiny Life is a bold, impressive collection.” — Eliza Robertson, author of Demi-Gods
“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.” — Steven Price, author of By Gaslight
“The book certainly represents a significant new talent in Canadian fiction.” — Winnipeg Free Press
“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.” — Yasuko Thanh, author of Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains
“Readers of this extraordinary collection will be taken by the scope and range of the stories. By the precision of craft and visceral detail. The true inhabiting of bodies, in the characters, the creatures, and also in the natural world as a body beyond. But what truly separates Fisher’s prose is the heart, the blood, the guts, the all of it, that drive this book, as a body. It seems so distinct in parts, but runs together with a singular, unifying force that very few writers could muster. It is a collection that thrums with that undeniable heart and energy, no matter where the stories land or lead.” — Kevin Hardcastle, author of In the Cage