Longlisted for the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada’s richest literary award, The Dark and Other Love Stories is an energized, irreverent, novelistic book of short stories full of longing, strange humour, and the complications of human entanglement from Governor General’s Award nominee and Edmonton-based Deborah Willis. The characters in these thirteen masterful and engaging stories exist on the edge of danger, where landscapes melt into dreamscapes and every house is haunted.
A drug dealer’s girlfriend signs up for the first manned mission to Mars. A girl falls in love with a man who wants to turn her into a bird. A teenage girl and her best friend test their relationship by breaking into suburban houses. A wife finds a gaping hole in the floor of the home she shares with her husband, a hole that only she can see.
Full of longing and strange humour, these subtle, complex stories—about the love between a man and his pet crow, an alcoholic and his AA sponsor, a mute migrant and a newspaper reporter—show how love ties us to one another and to the world. The Dark and Other Love Stories announces the emergence of a wonderfully gifted storyteller whose stories enlarge our perceptions about the human capacity to love.
A master at inhabiting the minds of outsiders, of immigrants, transplants, and refugees, Willis moves deftly between stories that span entire lifetimes and others that detail tiny moments: a summer, two weeks in Russia, one Halloween night. The book explores love in its flawed guises, never relying on easy clichés, and—despite its darkness—always allowing a light, feathery hope to sing through at the end.
Deborah Willis‘s first book, Vanishing and Other Stories, was named one of The Globe and Mail‘s Best Books of 2009, and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for fiction. Her second book, The Dark and Other Love Stories, was published in Canada and the United States in spring 2017 and will be translated into Italian by Del Vecchio Editore.
Her work has also appeared in The Walrus, The Virginia Quarterly, The Iowa Review, Lucky Peach, The Wall Street Journal, and Zoetrope. She has worked as a bookseller at Munro’s Books in Victoria, BC, as a technical writer, and as a writer-in-residence at Joy Kogawa House in Vancouver and at the University of Calgary.
Deborah was born and raised in Calgary and is currently the Writer in Residence at MacEwan University in Edmonton. For more information about her work, visit deborahwillis.ca.
Catch Deborah at the Saturday Afternoon Showcase: Timely & Tasty Short Fiction at Wordfest 2017 in Calgary on October 14 from 1 – 2:30pm at the John Hutton Theatre on the 2nd floor of the Calgary Public Library. More info and Tix at Eventbrite.