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Summer Short Story Collections Not to Be Missed
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Summer Short Story Collections Not to Be Missed

By 49thShelf
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Canadian writers sure know how to rock the short story—we are the nation that brought the world an Alice Munro after all.
Willem De Kooning's Paintbrush
Why it's on the list ...
Powell was named as one of CBC Books' Writers to Watch for 2016, and the stories in this collection have already garnered numerous awards. So now it's time to discover them for yourself. Pour yourself a drink though: these stories aren't at all light and breezy, and each one packs a wallop.
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Somewhere a Long and Happy Life Probably Awaits You
Why it's on the list ...
Well, originally we took notice because we loved the stunning cover by award-winning illustrator Julie Morstad. But then we started reading and fell in love with these weird and wonderful tales about the survival gear we invent to carry in this absurd and tragic world.
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Cretacea & Other Stories from the Badlands

Cretacea & Other Stories from the Badlands

edition:Paperback
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Why it's on the list ...
Who doesn't love hoodoos? This is the debut collection by West, and two of its stories have been included in the Journey Prize anthologies, indicating fine literary pedigree. Also, like the above, a very cool cover.
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Double Dutch

Double Dutch

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

Danuta Gleed Literary Award finalist

City of Victoria Butler Book Prize finalist

Intensely imaginative and darkly emotional, the weird and wonderful stories in Double Dutch deftly alternate between fantasy and reality, transporting readers into strange worlds that are at once both familiar and uncanny — where animals are more human, and people more mysterious, than they first appear.

Shape-shifters, doppelgangers, and spirits inhabit the extraordinary worlds depicted in Trunkey’s stories: a sin …

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Hamburger

Hamburger

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : urban life
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Excerpt

My three-year old, Ethan, stood up on my lap, pressed his feet into my thighs and — green sippy cup falling from his hand — he pushed off like a gymnast toward the boat’s yellow railing. I flung an arm between the American torsos and caught his wrist, but this lady, this fat cow, she slapped me and yelled nasally, “Polizia!” I lost my grip for just a second, and when I clasped again my fingers found only my palm. Fatso’s face blanched and I heard a few screams. I shouldered her and stepped onto the railing. I dove over the side. The sludgy water filled my shoes and I sank — eyes open, stinging — as I looked for his blond curls, his Osh Kosh. I thought I saw him rising and followed him up, but I surfaced alone in the waterbus’s wash. The hot sun beat down and I tasted the murk. Already, a blue and white police craft was motoring up, its mustached pilot scribbling a fifty-euro swimming ticket.

 

“Inglese!” I called. “My son! Mio” — I searched for the word — “figlio!” I pivoted in every direction, looking for Ethan. I yelled at the cop again and this time, he took a radio from his belt clip and machine-gunned Italian into the mouthpiece. He gestured to the canal bank. Outboards pull-started and colleagues scrambled into wetsuits; the filth still chilled in April, a cold that only hit me once treading had exhausted me. My mouth and nose filled with stench my numb toes stirred up. The cop pulled me over the gunwale, and another draped a blanket over my shoulders. From the small deck I watched the divers flop into the brown and green, the stink and muck and shit — actual shit — plunging again and again to the canal’s choleric bottom.

 

Michelle and I had wanted to go to Italy for years, and had spent three months meticulously planning, an hour or two most nights once Ethan was in bed. But before we left: Lyndsay. Lyndsay with no business scrawling her name, never mind enrolling in a Creative Writing program. Then again, BFA: Bachelor of Fuck All. I never got one, I just wrote short stories — two small-press manifestoes two years apart, barely notable enough to get me in on a young Toronto university’s new cash-grab. Given ten years, I became the longest-tenured instructor. I didn’t get a say in Lyndsay’s admission, but I’m told she had a recommendation from Cheryl Chabert, that perfectly bilingual, three-time Giller Prize-winning blurbosaur who apparently says nothing but world-opening, full of splendour, magnifique. The lines are never true but they sell books anyway. Take a few such superlatives and add an autograph for the English Department archive. Of course Lyndsay got in.

 

Did you ever see a grown woman actually bat her eyelashes? Blonde and not overly tall, Lyndsay’s hips and breasts curved just enough to make her soft, and inviting. And then there were the eyelashes: coquettish, in a word, though I can’t say like that one. She was the perfect little fool Daisy Buchanan dreamed of. And while Never judge a book by its cover is a wise saying, I prefer Sleeping with your students isn’t worth it, because afterward you’ll have to read their short stories. In the afternoon workshop, the one that I didn’t teach, Lyndsay went right for my misogynist throat, (her word, not mine), presenting a piece about a disappointing night “Laura” spent with her writing teacher. My other students said it was god-awful work, but it connected with the guest instructor that day, who was fresh off the success of her Italian-set, 600-page, Governor-General’s Award-nominated Love in the Time of Cholera rip-off, and who happened to be my wife, at the time.

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Why it's on the list ...
Check out Perry's list of CanLit's most disgruntled employees (and no, he means characters, not the authors). Amanda Leduc sings the book's praises: "Perry captures entire worlds in these deft yet swooping stories—in sketches snappy and precise, he shows us the magic in the downtrodden, and gifts us images that linger long after the last page is turned."
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Four-Letter Words

Four-Letter Words

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
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Why it's on the list ...
Pelley was the writer behind CanLit booster blog, Salty Ink, and now runs The Overcast, an alternative newspaper in Newfoundland with a focus on arts and culture. His first novel was recently made into a film starring Jason Priestly, and Lisa Moore called his second book "Cant’-put-it-down compelling." So don't miss this one—particularly as he says it's his final purely literary work.
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The Light that Remains

The Light that Remains

The Making of an Escape Artist
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
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Why it's on the list ...
In his review of this book in The Ottawa Citizen, Paul Gessell writes, "Champagne’s stories are true works of art, just like the Ukrainian woman’s embroidered tablecloths. She has captured the essence of each of these refugee crises. The research involved in trying to create credible stories from six very different countries in different time periods must have been a herculean task. Champagne largely pulled it off."
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It Is an Honest Ghost
Why it's on the list ...
Tamara Faith Berger (Maidenhead) has blurbed this one: "A thrilling collection: hot-headed, existential, crystalline. Goldbach’s novella Hic et Ubique illuminates the nightmare of being a man in this world—the twisted, spiritual conversion of buddy into warrior. This book is cadenced and visionary."
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