Shortlisted for the 2012 Ottawa Book Award
“As a potential heir to the tradition of Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro, McInnis is off to a promising start.”—Publishers Weekly
An affair that begins in an apothecary’s garden brings Joyce to a hospice, where she tends to the dying alongside her own grief. A middle-aged woman recalls the lovable, lavable secret of the first night spent on her husband’s farm. A mother and daughter discuss suicide while hiking a shipwreck survivor’s trail.
In Nadine McInnis’s sophomore collection, boozers repent, gamblers reform, cheaters suffer, the deaf speak volumes, and cancer patients string flowers in their hair. Probing and compassionate, executed with a steady hand, Blood Secrets is an excavation of endings and their revelations: the affair that ends a marriage, the disease that ends a life, the effect of a long-ago suicide. And as her characters struggle to administer to each other in their final moments, each story becomes an autopsy, dissecting bodies for their secrets and daily life for the things it hides.
Praise for Blood Secrets
“So finely drawn, at once evocative and narratively fulfilled, each one greater than the sum of its subtle parts. Exquisite.”—Ann-Marie MacDonald, author of Fall on Your Knees
“Nadine McInnis’s extraordinary images add an eerie clarity to her fiction mix as she distills the ardent ways we perceive or deceive one another in these marvelously swift examinations of loss and redemption.”—Elisabeth Harvor, author of Excessive Joy Injures the Heart
“McInnis’s prose is galvanized by deft dialogue and imagery that keens with a poet’s sensibility, and her recurring themes are hauntingly conveyed without lapsing into excessive grimness.”
—Quill & Quire
“I feel like I’ve uncovered a treasure—the mind’s brilliance and transcendence embedded in a deep geology of love and pain.”
“McInnis alerts the reader that she’s not messing around; what follows will be aching and very bodily, in these stories blood will spill and hearts will break … [she] puts you on the inside of [her] characters, mapping their meaty interiors.”
“McInnis is a master of nuance, the unsaid that speaks volumes … stunning, highly nuanced, utterly moving and profound.”
—The Winnipeg Review
“[With] lean and lyrical language…and arresting images…Blood Secrets is a deceptively gentle book, a desperately tender succession of tales that bruise the heart with their sadness, while at the same time offering the salve of kindness”. —Literary Review of Canada