Gathering the best twenty stories from Cynthia Flood’s career, these spare, stylistically inventive stories explore subjects ranging from the domestic to the political.
In You Are Here, Cynthia Flood navigates a wide range of subject matter with a writing style which gradually becomes more intense, tighter, and sometimes experimental with each story. Most themes are familiar—love, hate, children, the natural world, parents, failure, despair, anger, regret. Other stories are more unusual, but remain perceptively relevant, dealing with topics such as far-left political activity and enduring the social pressures that come from family and peers. Containing what may be some of Flood’s most poignant work, You Are Here is a sharp and engaging exploration of the world today.
PRAISE FOR YOU ARE HERE
“These stories defy categorization; they are wonderful, layered, powerful, and imbued with clear senses of their often-Canadian settings and eras … And they infuse bursts of joy into their cadences and descriptions of people’s literal and mental landscapes … You Are Here is a rich and beautiful short story collection via which the voice of an era can be savored.”—Foreword Reviews (starred)
“You Are Here presents insightful, often incisive, glances into fictional lives … Cynthia Flood employs a realistic style to glances into characters who are products of their respective time and place, while at the same time surprising, sometimes jarring, us with unpredictability.”—BC Review
PRAISE FOR CYNTHIA FLOOD
“The prose of short story writer Cynthia Flood is sharp, minimalist and concise. Her 2013 collection Red Girl Rat Boy was shortlisted for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Her latest book, What Can You Do, is a collection of 12 short stories that features flawed characters who are emotionally broken and adrift.”
—Ryan B. Patrick, CBC Books
“As the fifth collection of short stories from an award-winning author, it’s no surprise that What Can You Do is an exceptionally written and thought-provoking read. The twelve stories make up just under 150 pages, and in each one Flood does a masterful job creating a sense of existence for her characters that extends beyond the pages of their story.”
—Joanna Graham, The Winnipeg Review
“Cynthia Flood scatters fleeting moments of personal insight throughout the dozen intriguing stories of What Can You Do, her fifth collection. Funnily, though, they’re sporadic, unreliable, and not what Flood’s characters (or readers) might expect. With characters muddling through or getting by with what life hands them, wisdom of the transcendent clarity variety turns out to be a rare commodity. In understated yet nuanced pieces that are bittersweet, sobering, or chuckle-inducing, the Vancouver-based author introduces a gallery of figures for whom paths fork unexpectedly, plans go awry, and expectations require extensive revising. Still, Flood’s characters are managing. And committed to their decisions, as on-the-fly as they might be.”
—Brett Josef Grubisic, Vancouver Sun
“Her latest collection, What Can You Do? cements her reputation as a gifted and observant storyteller. Technically superb, demonstrating Flood’s unstinting grasp of complex, subterranean emotion, these twelve stories tread familiar territory. The haunting “Struggle,” about a disturbed woman’s memories of her activist past, mines the rivalries and chauvinism of far-left politics in 1970s Vancouver.”
—Trevor Corkum, Toronto Star
“With rapid-fire narration, power-point prose, and darts of minimalist description, Flood nails her subject. Her characters are impatient to be heard, grabbing your attention, word bullets flying, hope and despair spilling over the pages.”
—M.A.C. Farrent, The Vancouver Sun