eBook - 2014
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"In the opening story of Wallflowers, a girl is cat-sitting for her neighbor, sleeping in the neighbor's house. It's nearly identical to her mother's nearby--in the Copper Waters subdivision, they all are--but she likes it here, eating boiled eggs and watching TV, feeling out her freedom as heavy rains fall. And then a nearby dike fails. And the girl may be the only one left in Copper Waters.Eliza Robertson can handle the shocking turn, but she also has a knack for the slow surprise, the realization that settles around you like snow. Her stories are deftly constructed and their perspectives--often those of the loners and onlookers, distanced by their gifts of observation--are unexpected. In "We Walked on Water," winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, a brother and sister train together for a race that will ultimately separate them forever. In "L'Etranger," shortlisted for the CBC Short Story Prize, a girl abroad in Marseille reconsiders her unendearing roommate after an intimate confrontation. Robertson was raised on rugged Vancouver Island. She's traveled broadly since, and her stories travel, too, but the climate of her collection is influenced by her home. These carefully cultivated forms still flare with wildness, and each is still spacious enough for a reader to get lost in wonder"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury USA, 2014
Edition: First U.S. Edition
ISBN: 9781620408162
Characteristics: 1 online resource (295 pages)
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Alternative Title: Short stories


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ksoles Nov 05, 2014

Short fiction always take a back seat to the revered novel, an unfortunate fact but one that makes the search for a brilliant story so much more worthwhile. Certainly, such awe-inspiring tales grace bookstore shelves just waiting to be discovered and no collection proves this more than Eliza Robertson's debut, "Wallflowers."

While working on her MA, the Victoria writer earned a Man Booker Scholarship and the Curtis Brown Prize for best writer. She received the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for "We Walked on Water" and "L’Etranger" was a runner-up for the 2013 CBC Short Story Prize. Not surprisingly, Robertson includes these stories in her bold and diverse collection, which reads with both a youthful tone and a polish expected of life-long writers. The author displays a keen command of language, pushing and challenging her readers while disquieting them in the most satisfying ways.

"Where Have You Fallen, Have You Fallen?" includes eight short scenes that unfold in reverse chronological order, effectively building narrative tension. "The Art of Making One’s Self Agreeable: A Handbook for Ladies" reads like an etiquette manual to tell a story of violence and subterfuge within a marriage. "Ship’s Log" uses its titular form as imagined by a little boy to gradually reveal a story of loss and heartbreak.

The stories might differ in form and approach but they unite in human emotion: despair, hope, loss and, above all, heartbreak. And, by having to read in unexpected ways, the audience allows the emotional impact of the stories to creep in. Ultimately, everything comes together with a powerful, devastating and rewarding effect.


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