Thistledown Press Fall 2019

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  • 1
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    An Honest Woman JoAnn McCaig Canada
    9781771871785 Paperback FICTION / Erotica Publication Date:September 15, 2019
    $20.00 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.75 in | 475 gr | 304 pages Carton Quantity:27 Thistledown Press
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      Description

      If there ever was a time and place to explore the territory of mature women and their journeys this would be the time. The subjects of sex, passion, confidence in JoAnn McCaig’s An Honest Woman are beautifully played out against society’s stereotypes of women as they age and as they confront the truths of themselves outside the societal frameworks in which they have been boxed.

      There are metafictional elements turned loose in this novel. First, there is an intensely self-conscious narrator and second, there are characters who live inside fictional worlds and travel outside those worlds for intense real-life encounters. Their storytelling draws attention to themselves as both living, breathing people but also fleshed-out fictional world characters.

      The structure of the novel is complex, layered, and interwoven. There are several narrators, stories within stories, and writers making things up and fantasizing while living real (albeit fictional) lives. There are literary allusions galore and cameo appearances by thinly disguised famous authors. It can all get a little crazy, so McCaig has provided a few support materials: an infographic that maps out the different characters, and relationships and authorships, a fairly detailed table of contents, a few postscripts, and a couple of appendices. Watch for symbols that indicate that the narrator has lapsed into fantasy and for when she returns to her "real" life, such as it is. That said, An Honest Woman has enough grounded familiar plot lines to keep a general reader interested and layered ambiguities to keep the well-read interested. While there is some undermining of traditional literary conventions, there is nothing lost in McCaig’s exploration of the relationship between literature and life. The novel is humorous, and sometimes really funny; it is also a smart and warm and moving read.

      Bio

      JoAnn McCaig is a very bookish person, and is the author of a novel, The Textbook of the Rose, and of a critical study, Reading In: Alice Munro’s Archives. She taught university English for many years and now is the co-owner of an independent bookstore in Calgary.

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    • Awards & Reviews

      Awards
      Deborah Hecht Memorial Prize in Fiction 2008
      W O Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize 2001, Winner
      Georges Bugnet Award 2001, Short-listed
      Reviews
  • 2
    catalogue cover
    Lost Boys Darci Bysouth Canada
    9781771871754 Paperback FICTION / Short Stories Publication Date:September 15, 2018
    $20.00 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.77 in | 450 gr | 328 pages Carton Quantity:48 Thistledown Press
    • Marketing Copy

      Description

      Each of the (eighteen) stories in Darci Bysouth’s debut collection Lost Boys documents a world in the process of unravelling, as the inhabitants of these richly drawn narratives face losing what they hold most dear.

      The rivalry between two brothers in "Meat" mirrors a nation divided, with bitter consequences. "Cryptodome" sets two sisters’ guilty collusions against Mount St. Helens, which is on the brink of eruption. In "Petey", a father realises the ghastly implications of his daughter’s all powerful love for him. A teenage girl outgrows her idolized brother in "The Heartbreaks", after a road trip to a seventies rock concert goes awry. A randomly violent incident in "Sacrifice" reveals the treachery within a lonely woman’s relationships, while "Hold" gives a grieving widow a glimpse of hope in the supernaturally dark waters of a childhood lake. The title story depicts a sister struggling with her brother’s declining mental health, only to question her own grasp of reality.

      Bysouth’s writing style leans toward the literary and traditional, but it does employ threads of magic realism especially as the characters’ react to their loss and grief. These emotional shifts create moods that range from love to horror and from hope to confused absurdity. The story elements, though, remain traditional with accessible plots, varied and unique settings, and well-made characterizations.

      Bio
      Darci Bysouth was raised in the ranchlands of British Columbia, and studied literature at the University of British Columbia and creative writing at the University of Edinburgh. She has been an artist, a naturalist, and a rather tuneless pianist, and has regularly imposed these gifts upon her students during her many years as a teacher. Above all, she is a lifelong reader and writer. Her stories have appeared in The Antigonish Review, The Bridport Prize Anthology, New Writing Scotland, The Bristol Prize Anthology and The Cutthroat Journal of the Arts.
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  • 3
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    Corridor Nine Sophie Stocking Canada
    9781771871815 Paperback FICTION / Thrillers Publication Date:September 15, 2019
    $20.00 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.75 in | 450 gr | 320 pages Carton Quantity:50 Thistledown Press
    • Marketing Copy

      Description

      Seven years ago Bernadette Macomber did everything she could to cut her ties to her father Fabian, his opiate addiction, gun collection, and increasingly bizarre behaviour. She moved with her husband and four children, leaving no return address. Now, following his suicide, her father paradoxically makes contact again, and Bernadette finds herself not liberated but tethered to him ever more tightly by the bonds of familial guilt. Desperate for absolution, Bernie returns to her father’s home to hunt for evidence of his insanity and to try and understand why suicide became his answer. While she remains driven in her quest to understand the power of the parent/child bond, her father, Fabian, locked into his after-life purgatory, pushes for freedom via any available loophole through the punishing bureaucracy of personal evolution. While exploring his options, he encounters his jailor, the demon/angel Bune in the afterlife space of Corridor Nine.

      The colliding events trigger a complicated set of mysteries: there is the planet at the centre of Bune’s "master plan" diagram and the puzzle of its eventual connection to Bernadette’s painting; there is the addiction artifact that Bune pulls out of Fabian’s chest, and a host of other symbols and rites such as a blastoshere and embryo division all revealed while Fabien wanders the constant maze of Corridor Nine. On planet Earth Bernadette continues obsessively in her need to solve the mystery of her father’s death and his continued contact with one question guiding her: how can she achieve a father and daughter reunion that will bring them both peace and liberty?

      Bio

      Burdened by the notion that a career should encompass everything, Sophie Stocking changed her major so often she narrowly escaped a degree in General Studies. Chapters in social work, architecture, and motherhood followed. She finally noticed that she’d always been writing, and as for encompassing everything, writing fit the bill. From there she found the courage to pursue fiction at the Alexandra Writers Centre and went on to study with Aritha van Herk at the University of Calgary.

      Corridor Nine is her debut novel.

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  • 4
    catalogue cover
    9781771871846 Paperback FICTION / Short Stories Publication Date:September 15, 2019
    $20.00 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.75 in | 475 gr | 304 pages Carton Quantity:50 Thistledown Press
    • Marketing Copy

      Description

      The past haunts the characters in The Eater of Dreams. In fifteen interconnected stories, Kat Cameron’s vivid characters — teachers, singers, writers, and misfits — examine the inner fractures in their lives. A woman muses about her miscarried child while watching a friend’s daughter play; an opera singer in Edmonton is stalked by an abusive ex-lover; a student’s story of bullying reminds a woman of her own childhood traumas; a woman cuts out the heart of a faithless man; the ghost of Lafcadio Hearn haunts the bedroom of a grieving teacher in Japan.

      The title for the collection is taken from a Japanese folktale about the baku, a mythological creature that eats nightmares, and her tales pulsate with this energy. In the darkest moments of her characters, they find or discover the energy they need to survive, but not without breaking down the surface to see clearly who they really are. Her portraits bear witness to the longing, yearning, unspoken desire of her characters’ dreams and to the uncertainty and contemplation of their lives in the flux of travel and change. The Eater of Dreams is at once contemporary but also ancient in its probing; it is a collection that blurs the borders between realism and the magic that lies outside it.

      Bio

      Kat Cameron was born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of New Brunswick and has worked for two years as an ESL teacher in Japan. Her debut collection of poetry, Strange Labyrinth, was published by Oolichan Books in 2015. Her fiction, poetry, and book reviews have appeared in over fifty journals and anthologies in Canada and the United States, including The Antigonish Review, Canadian Literature, Descant, The Fiddlehead, Forage, Grain, Literary Review of Canada, NonBinary Review, Paperplates, Prairie Fire, PRISM international, The New Quarterly, Room, subTerrain, 40 Below: Volume 2, and Beyond Forgetting: Celebrating 100 Years of Al Purdy. Her poems have been shortlisted for the Malahat Review’s Far Horizons Award for Poetry and FreeFall’s Prose and Poetry contest. She teaches English literature and writing at Concordia University of Edmonton.

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    • Awards & Reviews

      Awards
      The Malahat Review Far Horizons Poetry 2014, Short-listed
      FreeFall Short Fiction and Poetry Contest 2014, Short-listed
      Reviews

      “While the book [Strange Labyrinth] is rich with free form and constrained lyric poetry, its strength lies in her conceptual maze of time, imagination, and remembrance. Strange Labyrinth is brilliant and contains a promise of so much more from this unyielding poet.” — Jacqueline Valencia, Room Vol. 39, No. 3, 2016.

  • 5
    catalogue cover
    9781771871877 Paperback FICTION / Visionary & Metaphysical Publication Date:September 15, 2019
    $20.00 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.8 in | 550 gr Carton Quantity:44 Thistledown Press
    • Marketing Copy

      Description

      Jesse Green, the young narrator of the first novella, wants to escape the developed world (Vancouver) and with her boyfriend takes a meandering trip down to Panama, the land bridge to South America. The central short story has an ambiguous setting and period, and is about the loss of a child. Charles Darwin, hero of the closing novella, whose historical namesake found his life work’s inspiration in South America, finds his inspiration in studying village life. The collection takes its visual form (novella-story-novella) from the shape of the Americas, North and South, and its psychological trajectory is from the present "daylight" world to the collective unconscious or archetypal. Carl Jung looms in the background and a fictionalized Charles Darwin dominates proceedings.

      The collection’s obsessions are Darwinian diversity read into human inner life; what happens when diversity is lost to homogeneity? That is, what happens when we do not accept parts of ourselves; what happens when genre and classification engulf "freedom" and spirit. New storytelling requires diversity within mind underwritten by the implicit paradoxes of the unconscious. These characters’ journeys are as much into the psyche as into the world. Kenyon’s people often find outer form in their lives through inner exploration and vice versa. This book is full of expressions of escape and commitment, knowledge and acts, introversion and extroversion, feminine and masculine.

      Bio

      Michael Kenyon is the author of four books of poetry, seven of fiction, and four chapbooks. The Beautiful Children won the 2010 ReLit Award for best novel. Other work has been shortlisted for the ReLit Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize, the SmithBooks/Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Baxter Hathaway Prize (Cornell) in fiction, The Malahat Review Novella Prize, Prism international’s fiction contest (won twice), the Journey Prize, and the National and Western Magazine Awards. His work is concerned with form and style, but always strives to get in touch with the deepest human moments. Kenyon lives in Victoria, BC.

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    • Awards & Reviews

      Awards
      ReLit Award 2010, Winner
      Reviews

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