H.W. Browne’s debut short fiction collection, A Moose in the Dark, questions our ways of knowing. In a world where cathedrals, churches, and temples no longer bind communities, hers is a search for connectivity. Whether a moose prepares the way for old friends desperate to communicate, or a skull saves a child from drowning, Browne’s stories risk the intervention of the uncanny, and immersion in the elements.
“Heather Browne had been known to me as an award-winning poet, and more recently a much anthologized short fiction writer. She has a unique style, meticulously rendering each word for the strongest narrative while maintaining a parallel under voice. Her imagery is priceless. A Moose in the Dark is tight, deep, yet sexy; a pleasure to read, savour, and reread.”—Wayne Curtis, author of In the Country
“Aflame with characters in pursuit of connection and salvation, this fine debut collection is saturated with language that is, like all the best truth-telling, both a conflagration and an inundation: seductive, slippery, and sometimes a little shifty-eyed.”—Diane Schoemperlen, author of This Is Not My Life
“A Moose in the Dark explores the complex loyalties of husbands and wives, lovers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. Browne offers a glimpse of the lives of ordinary people—a trucker, a shoe saleswoman, a school bus driver – illuminated briefly in the headlights, moments of disappointment, reconciliation and resignation. She writes those moments as they deserve to be written, in language rich with poetry and lightened by wit.” Kelly Cooper, author of Eyehill
“If you have a house, then there is always something to do—especially when the hours are stretching out in front of you like a long centre line on a dark night on a lonesome highway. In that time, civil dusk, that time just before it all goes black as pitch, you can make a homemade moose call and see what comes. Just as those were Heather Browne’s words, that moose call is exactly what she’s made, and so who comes to it? All those peculiar half-forgotten relatives who are just as human as we are—the quick and the dead, the old folks and the children, the long gone and now. Can Heather’s house stand up to all these visitors? If you run your hands over the wood, you will feel how well constructed it is, how she’s built it solid and sanded every beam. We don’t know if a moose will come or not, but we will. We can all live in Heather Browne’s house because that’s where we are already.”—Keith Maillard, author of Difficulty at the Beginning
H.W. Browne writes poetry and short fiction and received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of British Columbia. She has published several books of poetry, and her story, “Beach Glass,” was recognized as a notable short story by the judges for the 2014 Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award. A native New Brunswicker, she now lives in Ontario and continues mentoring creative writers, and of course, learning from the water.