In her first collection of short fiction, dee Hobsbawn-Smith creates protagonists struggling to navigate the troubles common to life everywhere, including children attempting to make their parents proud, the collapse of romantic relationships, and dealing with death and loss. Her stories are rife with the disasters of homelessness, domestic violence, and child abuse, and expose the difficulties that arise in relationships between brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, and parents and children. What Can’t Be Undone is a collection anchored in the Western Canadian landscape, and the natural imagery which has become synonymous to the area reigns supreme. These stories are powerfully influenced by local colour. Horses’ hooves echo from coulee walls, bluejays, crows, and eagles announce the seasons, and coyotes wail from distant valleys as Hobsbawn-Smith travels with her protagonists across rolling prairies, unforgiving mountain ranges, and along coastal highways. Hobsbawn-Smith introduces readers to characters of all ages, from a teenager navigating her crush on an older man in “Exercise Girls” to the recently widowed seamstress who rediscovers her zest for life in “Needful Things”. Loss is explored on various levels, from the ending of friendships and romantic relationships in stories such as “The Good Husband” and “Fallen Sparrow”, to a mother’s paralyzing fear of her children’s death in “The Quinzie”. Hobsbawn-Smith combines keen observation with an unflinching eye on her characters’ flaws to bring into painful focus the challenges of coming to terms with loss.
About the author
dee Hobsbawn-Smith's award-winning poetry, essays, and short fiction has appeared in publications in Canada, the USA, Scotland and elsewhere. She earned her MFA in Writing and her MA in English Lit at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, SK. Her debut poetry collection, Wildness Rushing In, was published in 2014, and was a finalist for Book of the Year and Best Poetry Collection at the Saskatchewan Book Awards. What Can't Be Undone: Stories was published in 2015. She's a local foods advocate, has been active in Slow Food for more than fifteen years, and written a stack of books about food, including Foodshed: An Edible Alberta Alphabet. In her spare time, dee quilts, and has taken up crafting hand-bound chapbooks under her imprint, Dogpatch Press. She served as the 35th Writer in Residence at Saskatoon Public Library in 2015. Bread & Water: Essays was published in Fall 2021. dee lives in Saskatoon.