Pub date: Fall 2018
Tread and Other Stories is a moving, unsettling, and ferociously humane collection of short fiction. The characters are achingly real: the moments at once gut-wrenchingly singular and utterly recognizable. There’s a satisfying range here—from a female prison guard with a yen for bad boys to a lost young man who finds common ground with the French artist René Magritte. Dempster deftly explores the distortions that often accompany our closest relationships, and yet his gaze is always compassionate, never critical. He has created a series of intimacies, each built to make us feel things that we usually only allow ourselves to feel when we’re at our boldest: the desire to pinch the world and have the world pinch us back.
“Barry Dempster writes stories of the everyday that are not everyday stories. They release depth charges of feeling, unease, and strangeness too powerful for that. They take us to places we’ve known but never so vividly.” —Greg Hollingshead, author of Act Normal and Bedlam
“These marvellous stories by Barry Dempster are all about love—the striving for it, the rejection of it, and the unexpected collisions with it. These characters find love difficult. They don’t know the language; the survival skills they were taught as children fail them as adults; they want love but only on their terms. Dempster’s characters are often seemingly hapless, sometimes funny, bursting with baggage and startling moments of awareness. Always, they are heartbreaking in their resiliency and in their push for joy. Dempster knows how to write about the human heart, flawed and hopeful as it is.” —Leslie Greentree, author of A Minor Planet for You: and Other Stories
“Dempster’s stories do what all good short fiction should: give us characters who live and breathe and themes that braid themselves effortlessly around a memorable premise.” —Mark Sampson, Quill & Quire
Barry Dempster, twice nominated for the Governor-General’s Award, is the author of sixteen poetry collections, two novels, and two previous books of stories. His poetry collection The Burning Alphabet won the Chalmers Award for Poetry in 2005. In 2014, he was nominated for the Trillium Award for his novel The Outside World.