IN THE MEDIA: Zolitude by Paige Cooper

MARCH 1ST sees the release of the first new Biblioasis title of 2018:
Paige Cooper’s debut short story collection Zolitude.

Despite having not hit the shelves yet, Zolitude has already attracted rave reviews (are reviewers psychic!? HOW DO THEY DO THIS oh wait advanced copies nevermind y’all we’re cool).

Here’s what Quill & Quire, The Walrus, Kirkus Reviews, and Open Book have already had to say about the magically dangerous Zolitude.

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Quill & Quire Review: Zolitude

The Walrus: Does Writing About Boredom Have to Be Boring?

Kirkus Reviews: Zolitude

Open Book: There are Two Kinds of Characters”: Innovative Short Story Author Paige Cooper on Character

Check out Biblioasis’ interview with Paige Cooper HERE!

IN CONVERSATION with Paige Cooper

Can you tell us more about yourself and your writing?

I used to be middle-class, I used to work in the music industry, I used to be a librarian for a railroad. I learned how to lie five years ago, I learned how to be addicted to smoking a year ago, I learned that sports are interesting last month. My favourite virtue is tenderness. Writing fiction is the only way I know to gum up time’s nasty linear flow without snubbing the void. It takes forever. It’s weird that there’s no tangible, visible evidence of great emotion.

We deny or lie about our emotions. Stories exist as some kind of evidence, at least.

Who do you imagine reading your stories?

There are a lot of people who I hope won’t read my stories. If I thought about who might read what I’m writing while I write it, I wouldn’t write. This is what Zuckerberg has done to us: forced us to redact everything interesting. Self-censorship is complicity with the authority, but we love to spy on each other so it’s difficult to resist. I’ve already censored these responses so much.

I think the people who read stories are looking for a familiar feeling, and I hope they find it, but mostly I write what I wish someone else would’ve written already. Imagination was how I coped with childhood: self-insertion fantasies that were either romances or escape plans or both. The less pure thing is that my partners have often been writers and I’d write towards them or about them, with or without permission. I probably shouldn’t say that.

Some stories in Zolitude explicitly have some other-worldly or speculative components (“Thanatos”) and some don’t (“Ryan and Irene, Irene and Ryan”). They definitely all feel fantastical though. Is there a process by which you decide which stories demand realism and which don’t?

The fantastical at first was something I turned to before I knew how to write emotion directly. The older stories in the collection are repressed. There were five years where I didn’t write at all because a middle-aged man in a workshop (he was a fellow student and I admired his writing very much) told me my writing was self-indulgent and unreadable. He seemed very angry, and I’m a coward. So some bad years happened where I had a mortgage and listened to podcasts about the economy. When I started writing again I was still ashamed of my emotions. Now when I write, the fantastic appeals less as metaphor and more as an amplifier of emotion. We all fantasize. Emotions are monstrous. We try to contain them but they’re out of control. We know we’re secretly unlovable, no matter how human we try to appear.

 Your characters are often displaced in countries not their own—yet the exact locations they end up are either not named or, if they are, it’s incidental to the main plot. This feels different than most writing of someone travelling in a different land. Can you tell us more about that?

I grew up in a tourist town. People go there to look at the mountains and just the fact of their wanting to look has made my home unrecognizable—not to mention unaffordable—to me. The wolves are dead, the bears are inbred. It’s a source of bitterness. Now when I go there I’m a tourist. Actually I’m a tourist in everything I do: jobs, relationships, the cities I live in, the cities I visit. This mode is implicitly unequal and characterized by greediness. Most artists are users. Since we are human, understanding anything fully is impossible. I impose my own misperceived narratives and propagandize my own mythologies. What horrifies me most is how invested I am in camouflaging myself as I exploit places and people. The ubiquitous anodyne unplace doesn’t interest me because it has no secrets I can export. I often don’t name the places I’m writing about because I’m ashamed of how ignorant and unfair my interpretation is. My fiction isn’t experimental or long enough to contain the contradictions and multitudes of a real place and, like I said, there’s no understanding anything. I land on one or two facets that compel me and I use those. Sometimes they aren’t flattering. Once a man I loved didn’t believe me that I could recognize the faces of the mountains I grew up under. I imagine they all looked the same to him.

Your writing is so gorgeous. Please tell us about the writers that have inspired you in the past.

There’s always that period of time where you’re waiting for permission and so all you can do is read and figure out how commas work. My sentences got better when I started to read good poetry. It helped that I catalogued books as a librarian and the metadata records had the most obscenely uptight standards of punctuation. Every space and semi-colon counted. The worst thing about fiction is all the looking around and closing and opening of doors. I’m embarrassed to read fiction out loud to people. They could be listening to poetry, which is plainly more efficient. Lisa Robertson, Claudia Rankine, Ariana Reines, Mary Ruefle and Lydia Davis all prove it. My stories got more pointed when I learned to pay attention to what caught my imagination. Peter Carey and Steven Millhauser gave me permission to not be boring. Heti, Gaitskill, Cusk, Zink, and Moshfegh gave me permission to be brutal.

 What are you reading right now?

Fleur Jaeggy, Anne Boyer, Renee Gladman, Tamara Faith Berger (again). Nonfiction about American football, which is my current angle into the guts of racism and patriarchy, and which soothes me because I understand it so poorly. Bifo on the senility and impotence of late capitalism. Anything about Silicon Valley, Russia, or Vietnam.

Anything else you want to tell us about?

My sex life? Just kidding.


Paige Cooper was born and raised in the Rocky Mountains. Her stories have appeared in The Fiddlehead, West Branch, Michigan Quarterly Review, Gulf Coast Online, Canadian Notes & Queries, The New Quarterly, Minola Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, and have been anthologized in The Journey Prize Stories and Best Canadian Stories. She lives in MontrealZolitude publishes March 2018.

IN THE MEDIA: Biblioasis Roundup

A Black History Month Announcement:

Biblioasis is proud to announce that this fall we will publish The Long Road Continues (Oct 23, 2018) by Irene Moore Davis, a transnational history of the movement and lives of Black populations across the US/Canada borders with a special focus on our beloved Windsor/Detroit. This groundbreaking book — part oral-history interviews, part survey history — takes a comprehensive look at a complex and multifaceted community. The book included highlights such as the modern-day arrival of Caribbean immigrants and Windsor’s annual Emancipation Day celebrations, which grew to be one of the largest of the day’s celebrations in North America, drawing visitors from all over the United States including Martin Luther King, Jr and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Sure to be a landmark book of history in both Canada and the US, watch for The Long Road Continues, to be released October 16!

Irene is already getting quite a lot of buzz for her work; check out The Windsor Star, iheartradio AM 800 , and Our Windsor‘s coverage of The Long Road Continues!

In House: Inside the Biblioasis Book-Binding Party

It’s a busy time in the Bibliomanse.

Bookbinding begins.

The immediate task (on top of production, marketing, arranging tours, getting all the holiday orders out, getting the spring season into a shape that doesn’t make us all want to open-mouth sob, etc.) is the production of handcrafted chapbooks.

Each book is hand-stitched.

Against Amazon is a short manifesto written by Biblioasis author Jorge Carrión. As with his hugely successful travelogue and love-letter to book stores everywhere, Bookshops, Carrión’s chapbook concerns itself with the state of the book. Against Amazon is exactly what it sounds like — an author explaining how damaging Amazon is to the world of the book. Dan loved the manuscript and immediately decided to turn it into a chapbook – an objet d’art to celebrate the independent bookseller from an independent-bookseller-turned-indie-publisher.

Production Manager Chris Andrechek, who has been with Biblioasis since the working-from-Dan’s-garage days, was tasked with designing and producing 500 individually-numbered chapbooks. Chris has been typesetting, printing, trimming, hand-binding and sewing

Production Manager Chris Andrecheck and Local History Editor Sharon Hanna sewing chapbooks. Sharon is one of the few people Chris allows to touch the books. Then he berates her.

chapbooks at Biblioasis for six years on top of his other responsibilities (like making sure our books actually get made). He’s never seen a response to a book like Against

Chris’ blood pressure is one billion over one billion.

Amazon. Within hours of offering the chapbook to independent booksellers, Chris received orders for over five hundred chapbooks. On top of that, the publicity department (Chris’ sworn enemies) gave away most of his existing stock to reviewers. With orders continuing to come in, Chris has developed a feverish look in his eye and is never without some sort of book-binding weapon in his hand. We’re not sure we’ll all make it.

He removed the safety to better control the trim on his books. No one is permitted to TOUCH the cutter except Chris.

Against Amazon is only available through independent bookshops (call your local shop!) and each copy was hand-folded, hand-stitched, and hand-trimmed by one of us here at the Bibliomanse (usually after work hours; sometimes while \drinking and practicing for Futuramatrivia night). Most of the books were made by Chris himself (and then he quality controls the ones the rest of us were permitted to make because he does not trust us). Bookshops is available everywhere and is getting terrific reviews all over the place!

The final product.

Read that book that started Carrion’s crusade against Amazon and Cultural Department Stores and that has been named a Globe and Mail top 100 book of 2017, a National Post 99 best books  of 2017, and one of Maclean’s 10 best books of 2017.

HIRING! Full-Time Intern

Biblioasis is Looking for a Full-Time Intern!

Have you ever wanted to learn more about publishing but assumed you would have to go to Toronto or New York or London to do so? Have you turned down unpaid internships because you can’t afford to work for free?  Do you want the opportunity to learn about publishing at one of the best independent houses in the country?

Biblioasis, through the assistance of the OBPO (Ontario Book Publishers Organization) and the OMDC (Ontario Media Development Corporation), is offering a 12 week full-time paid publishing internship as an introduction to independent publishing in Canada.  The successful candidate will learn about key aspects of the publishing process, from production and bibliodata management to publicity and marketing, including copy-writing, author tour management, social media and review protocols.

No past experience in publishing or the book industry is required. The successful candidate will have a love for books and reading, the ability to work both independently and on a team, and a keen mind open to new tasks and experiences.

The position pays a flat stipend of $6,000 over a 12-week period. Full-time hours in the Biblioasis offices in Windsor will be required from February 20th to May 11th.

Applicants from diverse backgrounds – including but not limited to ancestry, culture, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, language, physical and intellectual ability, race, religion (creed), sex, sexual orientation and socio-economic status – are encouraged to apply.

If you’re interested in applying, please submit your resume and cover letter to Dan Wells at dwells@biblioasis.com by January 30th.

IN THE MEDIA: Biblioasis Roundup

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

DO IT! READ IT NOW!

Today’s media roundup is a heart-warming reminder that, in this world of e-readers and social media, some people in the old fashioned book worlds of newspapers, magazines, and libraries are still fighting the good bibliofight. Yes, they’re fighting it mostly online these days (and you are reading this on a computer or a cell phone) but it’s book people finding ways to talk about books and that is rad!

Halifax’s The Chronicle Herald wrote about David Huebert’s Peninsula Sinking, praising Huebert for capturing anxieties about the east that many Nova Scotians can relate to, saying “If you were born and raised in Nova Scotia, moved away and came back — or moved away and stayed away — there’s likely a story within Peninsula Sinking that will speak to you.”
The Chronicle Herald: Book Peninsula Sinking speaks to Nova Scotia connections 

The Toronto Star celebrated the poetry of 2017 with a nod to Pino Coluccio’s hilarious Class Clown, writing that “Colluccio proves that light verse isn’t necessarily lightweight.”
The Toronto Star: Poetry lovers — the latest volumes to entertain and make you think

More good press from the Star, as The Redemption of Galen Pike made their list for the 10 Best Books of 2017!

“This book of stories from Welsh writer Davis garnered critical acclaim — and the attention of our reviewers. “What a wonderful find this book was. The stories are compelling and quirky and more often than not take a turn toward the unexpected that can leave you breathless. I’d never read Davies before . . . I will always read her now.” “Dazzling writing that is so evocative, that takes you down a narrative road you think is familiar, and then takes a turn you weren’t expecting, with a gut-punch of emotion. Truly wonderful.”
The Star’s top 10 books of 2017

Early Edition! Sneak peak at 2018 Biblioasis titles!

Biblioasis’ 2017 titles continue to attract good buzz and we are so happy and thankful for all the wonderful readers and reviewers. Looking ahead, review copies of 2018 books have already started to garner some attention!  Here’s a sneak peak:

André Forget mentioned Paige Cooper’s upcoming short story collection, Zolitude, in The Walrus, saying “When I read a Cooper story, “Vazova on Love” for example, I feel I have been transported into a strange country, a puzzling one, sensuous and potentially hostile, and I know she will reveal something to me if I stay very focused.”
The Walrus: Does Writing About Boredom Have to Be Boring?

And some of our favourite bibliofriends of all, librarians, are chatting to one another through LoanStar and their blogs about 1979, Ray Robertson’s forthcoming novel about coming-of-age in smalltown Chatham, Ontario. Here’s what Alexandra Yarrow wrote:

“One to watch for, if you enjoy small-town Canadian stories, is 1979 by Ray Robertson. Tom Buzby, a thirteen year-old living in Chatham, Ontario, narrates this sweetly nostalgic coming-of-age story about Tom’s developing interest in girls, his understanding of his parent’s divorce, and his discovery of various rock bands (you could make an amazing playlist from records mentioned in this novel). I also loved reading about the dynamic between Tom and his sister, Julie. What makes this story a true gem however, is how Tom’s narrative is interspersed with a glimpse into the very private lives of his neighbours, including the people whose papers he delivers, and those whose paths cross his for other reasons.”
1979: Another year curled up with a novel — My favourites of 2017

You’ll be hearing more from us and our 2018 authors very soon. Keep reading!

IN THE MEDIA: Biblioasis Roundup

Happy New Year, everyone! It’s 2018 (wut?) and Biblioasis is ready to charge into another year (we’re not but). 

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To warm up the New Year (help us the world is horror) before we start sharing some exciting information about 2018 titles, here’s a recap of some of the final Biblioasis media of 2017 that came in while the office was shut down for the holidays:

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The Globe & Mail asks “Who will save our bookstores?” and celebrates Jorge Carrion’s Bookshops for the loving tribute it pays to these endangered edifices.
Globe & Mail: Who will save our bookstores, and the communities they tie together?

Kevin Hardcastle’s In the Cage continues to draw praise for its unflinching look at rural poverty, violence, and fraught relationships.  San Francisco’s Zyzzyva says “In the Cage is both fresh and haunting. It is a novel of grace and brutality, and the balance between them.”
Zyzzyya: Violence and Consequences on the Fringes of Society: ‘In the Cage’ by Kevin Hardcastle

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Finally, Chris Viner reflected on Robyn Sarah’s Wherever We Mean to Be for Compulsive Reader, saying “What is most inspiring is how the poet appears to be in complete comfort with her own solace, how the poems span a whole private cosmos that is utterly in touch and at one with itself. The most solitary poems, the ones that take the speaker for a walk through a city or a dirt path, or a church yard or a garden, always remind one of how important it is to spend time alone, getting to know your own universe.”
Compulsive Reader: A review of Wherever We Mean to Be by Robyn Sarah

Biblioasis 2017 Media Year in Review

2017 was a big year for us here at the Bibliomanse!  We released a ton of great new titles, two new Bibliofolk arrived as Casey Plett and Jonny Flieger joined the team, Biblioasis books made it onto some very prestigious awards lists, and we had a lot of great coverage in the media. Here are just a few highlights of some of the spectacular reviews and coverage our books received this past year:

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Alejandro Saravia’s Red, Yellow, Green had a great review in Montreal Review of Books“a labyrinthine narrative that lodges like shrapnel—bracing and painful…playfully absurdist, funny, brilliant, and courageous… Saravia’s accomplishment in Red, Yellow, Green is to make you care, and deeply”
Montreal Review of Books: History vs. Oblivion

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Kevin Hardcastle and John Irving spent some time “Bro-ing down” at the International Festival of Authors together. Kevin’s new novel In the Cage has been collecting heaps of praise from places such as Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, Maclean’s, National Post, and Foreword Reviews.
In Conversation: Kevin Hardcastle & John Irving
Maclean’s: Five Must Read Books for October
Toronto Star: Twenty-Five must-read books this fall
National Post: Book Review

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The Vancouver Sun recognized their Vancouver daughter, Cynthia Flood, and her new short story collection What Can You Do, saying it  “…makes for page-turning reading…Flood’s writing is sparse and direct, and tackles the challenging topics unfolding in her stories with welcome clarity.”

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Quill & Quire wrote that David Huebert’s Peninsula Sinking “…establishes Huebert as one of Canada’s most impressive young writers … the stories are far-reaching, but tightly woven, each focused on characters in significant moments of development or change.”
Quill & Quire Review

 

 

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The late Norman Levine’s collected short stories, I Don’t Want to Know Anyone Too Well, took some people by surprise this year. André Forget wrote in The Walrus “If Levine lacks for a Canadian readership, it could be in part because there is no definitive, breakout collection of his stories…that might change with I Don’t Want to Know Anyone Too Well. If great writing has a mark, surely this is it.”
Ian McGillis raised the stakes even higher for Levine, writing in The Montreal Gazette that Levine’s short stories should be compared to Gallant, Munro, and even Chekhov, believing “Norman Levine deserves it and his time has come.”
The Walrus: Will a Posthumous Story Collection Help Canada Forgive Norman Levine?
Montreal Gazette: Neglected story master Norman Levine gets his due in new collection

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 Robyn Sarah’s long-awaited selection of poems, Wherever We Mean to Be, was named one of CBC books’ “Canadian Poetry Collections to Watch For” and Anita Lahey wrote a beautiful profile on Sarah for The Walrus.
CBC: 16 Canadian poetry collections to watch for
The Walrus: Robyn Sarah’s Exquisitely Untrendy Poetry

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The Toronto Star wrote of Molly Peacock’s The Analyst, that “The poems bear witness to loss and change in the lives of two women, but they also offer a remarkable account of the restorative power of creativity… [Peacock’s] poetry’s orderly grace can seem paradoxical when she’s describing intense, chaotic emotions. But that lyrical craft is exactly what makes these poems resonate.”
Toronto Star: Poetry transforms Molly Peacock’s relationship with her analyst

 

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Even celebrities couldn’t keep their hands off of Biblioasis books this year!  Sarah Jessica Parker of Sex in the City fame raved about Carys Davies, saying  “Oh my God! Oh my God! It was so great! The Redemption of Galen Pike. A collection of short stories. I never read short stories. This book is so wonderful. One of the clerks at Three Lives Bookstore convinced me to get that book. It’s fantastic!”
Sarah Jessica Parker & The Redemption of Galen Pike
The Redemption of Galen Pike was also an Indie Next pick and a Women’s National Book Association pick for their National Reading Group Month Great Group Reads 2017 List.
National Reading Group: Great Group Reads
Indiebound List

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The long-form review lives on over at Music and Literature. It’s a disservice to their careful and thoughtful review of Elise Levine’s Blue Field to excerpt such a short quote but needs must. Hannah Leclair writes “Reading the novel is a sensation akin to drifting weightlessly beneath the surface of the text…dazzling, textured, tightly woven.”
Music & Literature Review

The Winnipeg Review agreed, saying “Elise Levine’s new novel takes place in a state of not suspense, but suspension. It is set, tellingly, in the rough space between two deaths in the protagonist’s life—first Marilyn’s parents, back to back, then her best friend. The novel ceaselessly evokes the hanging feeling of being deep underwater: all is muted, slow, and yet sensation is almost unbearably heightened … Levine is, undeniably, an outstanding wordsmith. Her writing style moves in multiple directions, making high stakes out of small movements while turning panic into poetry.”

Winnipeg Review

In The New York Times

The Newspaper of Record took notice of a number of Biblioasis books this year. The New York Times featured glowing reviews for Alison Moore’s The Lighthouse, Mark Kingwell’s Fail Betterand Jorge Carrion’s Bookshops.

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The Lighthouse—New York Times’ On the Road in Germany, Accompanied by Troubling Memories
Fail Better—New York Times’ Now Batting: 14 New Baseball Books
Fail Better—New York Times’  How to Throw a Baseball
Bookshops—New York Times’ A Love Affair With Bookstores

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Biblioasis’ Awards

 

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Author, editor, and Bibliofriend John Metcalf won an Ottawa Book Award for his collection The Museum at the End of the World. Metcalf also edited Biblioasis’ successful relaunch of Best Canadian Stories (Biblioasis authors David Huebert, Paige Cooper, Cynthia Flood, K.D. Miller & Grant Buday are among those included in the anthology!).
2017 Ottawa Book Awards

 

Patricia Young was a finalist for the Victoria Butler Book Prize for her collection of poems Short Takes on the Apocalypse.
Victoria Butler Book Prize

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Boundary, written by Andrée A. Michaud and translated from the French by Donald Winkler, was named to the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist. World Literature Today says Boundary is “a haunting novel, rich with the details of the families’ daily lives and brilliant internal monologue, but the translation doesn’t draw attention to itself, a common flaw in translators too conscious of the masterful prose they are rendering. This is particularly appropriate here as Michaud’s remarkable writing seems entirely relaxed, belying what can only be very meticulously composed. Boundary has been recognized by a number of prizes in Canada, including the author’s second Governor General’s Award for Fiction. She deserves to be better known as one of the best writers in North America.”

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Scotia Bank Giller Prize: 2017 Long List Announced
World Literature Today: Book Review

And last but not least, Elaine Dewar was a Governor General’s Literary Award Finalist for her controversial book The Handover: How Bigwigs and Bureaucrats Transferred Canada’s Best Publisher and the Best Part of Our Literary Heritage to a Foreign Multinational. The book is all about the shady backroom deals that went on in order to package McClelland & Stewart off to international megapublisher Random House, robbing Canadians of one of the most definitively Canadian presses in the name of bigger profits and global monopolization.
Read the Maclean’s article on the deal and Dewar’s book here!

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Phew. All that and we’ve barely skimmed the surface. There’s so much more to discover–all of our authors have been killing it and there’s so much great coverage and great responses to their amazing work out there.  Come down to the shop or stumble around the website here and find out more.  Congratulations to all our amazing Biblioasis authors and thank you so much to all our readers!  See you in the New Year!

Biblioasis in The New York Times

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Have a look at Alan Riding’s review of Bookshops and what he has to say about author Jorge Carrión’s “Love affair with bookstores.”

“[Carrion’s] purpose is to celebrate bookstores. And he does so by wandering the globe in search of those that play — or have played — a special role in the intellectual and social lives of their communities. They become Carrión’s personal mappa mundi.”

Full Review at nytimes.com 

Bookshops has also been chosen as one of the 10 Best Books of 2017 by Maclean’s.  

Other Praise for Bookshops

 “Every bookshop is a condensed version of the world,” begins Mr. Carrión’s literary and unabashedly sentimental exploration of bookstores around the globe …  [Carrion] wanders through volume-laden aisles in Athens, Paris, Bratislava, Budapest, Tangier and Sydney, and invokes many other shops, both open and closed, telling stories about writers, readers and literary circles … By the end, you may feel poorly read—but well armed with titles and bookshops to visit on your own.” Wall Street Journal

“Excellent…entertaining…this quietly intelligent little book speaks volumes” —Washington Post

“Sublimely entrancing…brilliant…[Carrión’s] Borgesian book—it can be opened at any point and read forward, or backwards for that matter—is not at all sad. To read is to travel in time and space, and to travel from bookshop to bookshop is an ecstatic experience for Carrión, a joy he conveys page after page.” —Maclean’s

IN THE MEDIA: Peninsula Sinking by David Huebert

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Peninsula Sinking offers up eight urgent and electric meditations on the mysteries of death and life, of grief and love, and never shies away from the joy and horror of our submerging world. Check out the buzz on David Huebert’s debut short fiction collection:

Quill & Quire: Book Review

“…establishes Huebert as one of Canada’s most impressive young writers … the stories are far-reaching, but tightly woven, each focused on characters in significant moments of development or change.” – Quill & Quire

Open Book: David Huebert on Inspiring a Dress Code, Being Haunted by Cows, and his Bachelorette Canada Connection

All Lit Up: Where in Canada – Peninsula Sinking

Western Gazette: ‘Sinking’ signals a career on the rise

“Huebert first captured the public imagination when “Enigma,” his short story about a woman grieving the death of her horse, won the CBC short story contest in 2016. His debut collection features Maritimers “marooned on the shores of being.” One of the many striking features of his work is his respect for the relations between humans and other animals.”– Chris Benjamin, Atlantic Books Today
“I absolutely loved this book. I’ve gone back and read stories multiple times, I have recommended it to countless people … It is descriptive and honest and real.”Bibliotaphs

CBC coverage

Plus! David’s CBC interviews have been all over CBC syndication lately!

And look for forthcoming coverage in:
-The London Free Press
-Londoner
-Dalhousie Review
-The Puritan