Acclaimed writer Richard Rosenbaum’s short stories range in genre from realism to speculative, and stylistically from literary to experimental. In his stunning first collection of short fiction, Things Don’t Break, readers will discover stories about relationships, robots, videogames, the moon, giant evil chickens, and more.
“Things Don’t Break is an amazing piñata of a book. Crack it open and out will fly all kinds of strange and wondrous things (including a robot or two). A truly smashing collection of stories.”—Neil Smith, author of Boo
“Richard Rosenbaum knows the way people work—the way they love, the way they hurt, the way they break. These are stories that fire on all the emotional cylinders. A Pandora’s box of the strange and beautiful things that live inside us all.”—Ian Rogers, author of Every House Is Haunted
Richard Rosenbaum is the author of the novel Pretend to Feel (Now Or Never Publishing 2017), the novella Revenge of the Grand Narrative (Quattro Books 2014), and of Raise Some Shell (ECW Press 2014), a cultural history of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He is also a regular contributor to the popular culture analysis website Overthinking It. He lives in Toronto.
ISBN: 9781926639819 PRICE: $14.95-special sale price!
Longlisted for the Edge Hill Prize and The Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award!
In settings as varied as industrial England, the Syrian desert, urban Morocco, rural “expat” Spain, Canada’s West coast, and the China–Vietnam border, Royston Tester explores the very human struggles of people caught between cultures, social classes, lovers, family members, and sexualities. In “Dotty,” a young Canadian woman on a work-stay program in a Cornish village tries to make sense of her affair with an Italian factory owner. In “Who Knows Where,” two Canadian daughters grapple with their drug-addled mother whose lovemaking is haunted by the ghost of a stillborn baby. In “Face,” a lovesick Chinese Canadian student lays down the law to his ambitious father over a dinner of monkey brains. In unforgettable, stripped-down prose, the stories in this book observe, with an unflinching eye, those who dare to take steps further.
“You Turn Your Back is a vigorous and daring exploration of the limits of form and character. It is a demanding work, often asking the reader to witness and engage with situations of emotional duress and physical violence. It is also a work that rewards.”—Kerri Lu, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal
Royston Tester is the award-nominated author of the story collections Fatty Goes to China and Summat Else. His short fiction has appeared in North American, Asian, and European publications.
Shortlisted for the 2015 ReLit Award, shortlisted for the High Plains Award, longlisted for The Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award!
The more than 70 stories in I Am Currently Working on a Novel are as diverse as a telephone conversation or your average ocean. There are stories set in Hollywood, London, and the bottom of the sea. There are also pieces about ghosts, robots, love, Pointillism, death, and immortality. Though seldom longer than a few pages, there is more mystery, sadness and sheer mania in Rolli’s slimmed-down fictions than a whole shelf-full of standard novels.
“As dazzling as they are brilliant, these stories are bursting with life. They sing. And they’re very funny too.”—Nik Perring, author of Freaks
“Because this is a magic book, as you absorb its people you begin to realize that the real people around you are and have always been impossible.”—Brian Conn, editor of Birkensnake
“Rolli’s eccentric, whimsical stories exhibit a style and a brand of comedy all his own. There is much to love about this collection for a general audience, but these stories will be most rewarding for Rolli’s fellow writers and artists.” — pankmagazine.com
“The seventy-five stories in mononymous author Rolli’s new flash-fiction collection, I Am Currently Working on a Novel, waver between whimsical and bleak. The best ones are both.”—heavyfeatherreview.com
“Rolli’s imagination is admirable, and his ability to make so much happen in so few words is deeply impressive. Each one of the stories in I Am Currently Working On A Novel is finely-crafted, a miniature triumph.” —neonmagazine.co.uk
Saskatchewan resident Rolli is a writer, cartoonist, and the author of God’s Autobio, Plum Stuff, Mavor’s Bones and Dr. Franklin’s Staticy Cat. His cartoons appear regularly in Reader’s Digest. He lives in Regina, SK.
Kelly Ward’s debut collection of stories teems with characters just on the fringe of the mainstream, and each story examines the mundane and abject sides of normalcy. A middle-aged woman spends her life in the slot machine pit of a rural casino where she navigates her misplaced affections for two men: one a lifelong gambler and couch-surfing cad, the other a kid in his early 20s who makes her forget her own age and place in the world. Twenty-something newlyweds Asa and Maria attempt to conceive for the first six months of their marriage. When her apparent dream of becoming a mother doesn’t pan out quickly, Maria distances herself from Asa. A septuagenarian utilizes younger shoppers as pawns to make her weekly grocery-store jaunt that much easier to navigate. Each of Keep it Beautiful‘s characters find humor and beauty in unlikely places, while often playing victim—or at times accomplice—to their circumstances.
“Ward’s marginal characters—geriatric shoplifters, lovelorn gamblers, Zellers employees, OCD municipal workers—are curious curiosities. Ward lifts the everyday and everyman and transforms absurd disappointments and fragmented joys of the quotidian to reveal a fresh, intimate compassionate perspective, as all gifted writers do.”—Ibi Kaslik, author of Skinny and The Angel Riots
“Ward favour[s] shorter stories that provide just enough information to comprehend their characters’ motivations and morality, while simultaneously refusing to explain things in a blandly expository manner.”—The National Post
“Keep It Beautiful is full of characters both odd and endearing and makes for fantastic summer reading for short story lovers.”—Open Book Toronto
“The author’s deft facility with character and her willingness to trust her readers by infusing her stories with just the right degree of contingency mark her as an author to watch.”—Steve W. Beattie, 49th Shelf
“Observant and compassionate to the end”—goodreads.com
Kelly Ward is a freelance writer and editor whose fiction, poetry, and journalism have appeared in various publications across Canada, including Existere, Matrix Magazine, SubTerrain, Taddle Creek, Word Magazine, and various other literary journals. Her story, “A Girl And A Dog On A Friday Night,” was longlisted for the 2017 Journey Prize. She lives in Toronto.
ISBN-13: 9781926639482 Price: $12.95 – special sale price!
Longlisted for the Edge Hill Prize
Written in original, humorous, and innovative ways, these 11 richly, varied stories expose the risks in finding shelter in unaccommodating places. Exploring the precarious lives of an accident-prone Chinese construction worker with a dark secret, a fatally ill Canadian artist who remains in Beijing after the 2008 Olympics, a grieving barber who makes a gruesome discovery about his Czech lover, and a couple who make a shocking, last-minute decision about their adoptive child, these unforgettable narratives—both dark and emotional—travel from China to Canada and Europe to convey vivid descriptions and a nostalgic appeal.
“When you’re in the mood for a challenge–when you need to stretch your thinking muscles a bit–I highly recommend Fatty Goes to China. It’s not a perfect book, and it may perplex you often, but it’s haunting and damned interesting. I won’t forget this book.”—insatiablebooksluts.com
“Royston Tester is a revelation”—Susie Bright
Royston Tester is an associate editor for online Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. He is the author of the story collections You Turn Your Back and Summat Else. His short fiction has appeared in North American, Asian, and European publications.
ISBN-13: 9781926639-35-2 Price: $10 sale price! Pub Date: Spring 2011
Longlisted for the 2012 ReLit Award!
From critically acclaimed poet and novelist Jim Nason comes a collection of vivid and affecting stories about the brief moments that change lives. The characters in the book’s eleven stories live in a world upside down. From the young professional who leaves her high-powered job to explore street life as a graffiti artist, to the gay man who falls in love with a woman, to the spin class fanatic who learns that there’s a fine line between fitness and addiction, these excessive and radical characters create pandemonium wherever they go. Inspired by everyday people riding the TTC, Jim Nason has crafted a collection of gender- and expectation-bending stories that reveal the extraordinary and often heartbreaking truths behind ordinary life. Poignant and uplifting, The Girl on the Escalator is a fresh look at the world right outside our door.
Praise for The Girl on the Escalator:
“With an unflinching eye—and evoking ‘lapsed’ territories of Raymond Carver and Norman Levine—Jim Nason guides us artfully, and with cutting-edge wit, through a marginalized world whose quiet, devastating terror is that it may be our own . . . Tough, acutely observed, and tender, the stories in this collection bear the hallmark of a prodigious downtown seer whose unforgettable voice is distinctly his own. A gem of a work.—Royston Tester, author of Summat Else
“Nason’s well-drawn characters push themselves to the limit, whatever the limit, and keep going. One excellent story after another, original and very polished. His descriptions and dialogue are right on target—Nason is a terrifically good writer.”—Elisavietta Ritchie, author of In Haste I Write You This Note: Stories and Half-Stories
Praise for The Housekeeping Journals:
“Nason offers readers a glimpse into characters who are bitter and wise, funny and dignified . . . gorgeously and with grace, glimpses into the beautifully fought lives and deaths of his characters.”—Mary Horodyski, Prairie Fire
Jim Nason’s award-winning poems and stories have appeared in literary journals and anthologies across the United States and Canada, including The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2008 & 2010. He has published three books of poetry: If Lips Were as Red (Palmerston Press), The Fist of Remembering (Wolsak and Wynn), Narcissus Unfolding (Frontenac House). His debut novel, The Housekeeping Journals, was released to critical acclaim by Turnstone Press in 2007. He lives in Toronto.
I am sitting under the tree writing to you. How are you? Well I hope. Over here things are usual. The paper shortage is getting worse and worse, which is why I am writing to you on Saran Wrap. Finding an envelope should be real interesting but I guess it doesn’t really matter, as you will never get this letter any way. I don’t even know whether you are still alive. I don’t know whether California is still there, or whether it finally dropped off into the sea like everyone always said it would. Sometimes I feel like going down to the waterfront, finding a boat and rowing to California, if that’s what it takes. Except of course there aren’t any boats. I can’t even remember the last time I saw a boat.
I like to think of you when I’m sitting here under this tree. We sure had some wild times together, didn’t we kiddo?
Last week the rodents tried to cut the tree down. Of course we didn’t let them. We threw garbage and they left; it never fails. They said they wanted to make it into paper. I don’t know what they’d do with paper anyway, except maybe wipe their butts. Bunch of illiterates. It’s funny about the memory. I can’t remember how long it’s been this way. Sometimes I forget altogether that there ever was a Before.
A boy was playing hide-and-seek in the backyard with his sister and her friend. The boy, in an attempt to be impossible to find, went round to the driveway and hod under his father’s spirt utility vehicle. After a few minutes the boy ran back to the backyard, running right into his sister. She fell and bit her lower lip. Bleeding and crying she went inside.
A few minutes later, their mom came out and asked him to be more careful and the game was over. The two girls played inside because it was getting too hot, while the boy wandered around the backyard looking for interesting insects. Eventually he made his way back to the front of the house and opened the door to the truck. He climbed in behind the wheel and closed the door. He passed his hands over the steering wheel in dramatic fashion. He pressed a few buttons on the side arm console and was rewarded with a thunk. The boy took his hand off the console and stared at it, unable to tell what button he had pressed or what he had done.
“Mother, mother, can you hear me? Sure I’m sober, sure I’m sane.
Life is perfect, never better, still your daughter, still the same.
My mother calls me immediately after dinner. My cellphone’s ring beats at my brain like a jackhammer; even though I have call display, I pick it up, just to make it shut up. She doesn’t know about anything that goes on in my life. She doesn’t know what subjects I’m taking, what I like studying, what I do any night of the week. She just wants to know that her investment is working out well—that her daughter will one day become a respected professional that is actually worth something. I hope I don’t live that long. I tell her that I’m fine, that the test went well, that I’m going to have to spend another night at the library. Another project for my abnormal psychology class. A lot of research. Periodicals, you know. I’ll probably see her in the morning, maybe.
Join Tightrope Books at Proof, the Vodka Bar in the Intercontinental Hotel from 3 – 6 pm to launch new books by Jim Nason and Ruth Roach Pierson.
Jim Nason’s collection of shorts stories is entitled The Girl on the Escalator. The characters in theses eleven stories live in a world upside down. From the young professional who leaves her high-powered job to explore street life as a graffiti artist, to the gay man who falls in love… with a woman. Jim Nason has crafted a collection of gender- and expectation-bending stories that reveal the extraordinary and often heartbreaking truths of ordinary life.
Also being launched will be Ruth Roach Pierson’s third poetry collection, Contrary. While humour, fond remembrance, and wry awareness break through, contrariness tinges many of the poems in this collection, a contrariness rooted in rueful self-examination. These are poems that mount an opposition, poems that contradict and argue, sometimes in jest, sometimes in deadly seriousness, poems that read unexpected messages into painting and photographs.
ISBN: 9781926639086 Price:$10 – special sale price! Pub Date: 2010
A startling and original new voice that owes as much to Black Flag and Bikini Kill as it does to J.D. Salinger and Heather O’Neill. A South African copywriter is transplanted to the urban jungle of Manhattan. A recovering rape victim tries to resume a normal life. A Toronto nurse cuts herself to fill her emptiness. In Got No Secrets, Danila Botha takes us into the private lives of twelve different women, with only one question in mind: What if these women were you? From addiction to abuse, from childhood to suicide, from Hillbrow, Johannesburg, to downtown Toronto, Botha’s prose is compassionate, provocative, often funny, and always fearless.
“Intensely original and fantastically written.”—The Literary Lollipop
“Danila Botha is an emerging literary lioness on Canada’s literary landscape… Got No Secrets packs an emotional wallop…powerful and poignant…an honest and freshly forthright debut that is filled with the headaches and heartburns of youth gone awry…”—The Halifax Chronicle Herald
“Danila Botha’s debut collection of short stories makes the personal political. With clear diction, Botha’s prose packs a punch. There’s no skirting the issues, masquerading behind metaphor or dancing between the lines.”—The Coast
“The writing is stark, honest and stripped-down, making no excuses, just like the classic punks that see frequent mention throughout. The question that Got No Secrets asks is: exactly where does bad parenting end and self-determination begin?”—Broken Pencil
“Botha’s story telling technique seamlessly blends tragedy and humour, making this collection a must have”—Reading the Rails, Toronto Word on the Street
Danila Botha was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. She volunteered with Na-me-res, an organization benefiting the homeless, which inspired many of the stories in Got No Secrets. Her writing has appeared in 24 Hours, Yoink! Magazine, and NOW. She lives in Toronto. http://www.danilabotha.com
Fall in love with Julia, an adolescent guerrilla; witness Robin wax philosophic with Batman on regret and loss.
Paul Hong unloads animals, superheros, Korean children, and a Native elder into a big city that rhymes with Doronto. Any reader is like the detective that weaves through this collection of short stories to uncover everyday mysteries. Hong’s stories are a blend of hearsay, folklore and opaque traditions leading us to the simple treasures buried beneath our feet.
Toronto writer Paul Hong‘s short fiction, inspired by everything from religious parables to pulp fiction, has appeared in Blood and Aphorisms, Broken Pencil, Mix Magazine, Kiss Machine and in the anthology Geeks, Misfits and Outlaws edited by Zoe Whittall. Hes also the advice columnist, formerly known as Mr. Well-Hung, for Kiss Machine magazine since 2001.
The stories in After the Fires light the dark places where reality burns away to reveal something fantastical.
In these stories Ursula Pflugs worlds unfold like waking dreams where what was forgotten is remembered. Her narrators accept these shadow worlds as their truth and the reader is seduced into following along to see what has been refashioned and lies waiting to be discovered among the ashes that remain after the fires.
“A mind-tantalising book… evidence of a significant North American short-story writer”—DF Lewis, Dreamcatcher Real-time Reviews
“Ursula Pflug’s stories are the kind you want to carry around with you for those days when it feels like you’re living in a strange and incomprehensible world; her stories will make you feel less alone. They are wondrous and unique little creatures… they are sly and joyous, scary and entrancing, profound, unsettling, amusing, and utterly—perfectly!—unique.” —Matthew Cheney, editor, Best American Fantasy
Ursula Pflug is author of the novel Green Music (Tesseract Books, 2002.) She is also an award winning short story writer, professionally produced playwright, book reviewer, and creative writing instructor.