Thistledown Press Fall 2014 catalogue

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  • 1
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    Rose's Run Dawn Dumont Canada
    9781927068816 Paperback FICTION / Native American & Aboriginal Publication Date:October 01, 2014
    $19.95 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.6 in | 400 gr | 244 pages Carton Quantity:25 Canadian Rights: Y Thistledown Press
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      Description
      Rose Okanese, a single mother with two kids, has been pushed into a corner by Rez citizens to claim some self-respect, and decides that the fastest way to do that would be for her to run the reserve's annual marathon. Though Rose hasn't run in twenty years, smokes and initially has little motivation, she announces her intention to run the race. One quality Rose doesn't lack is spontaneity which sometimes clashes with her iron will and though she has initial regrets about opening her mouth, her life begins to dictate that she must follow through. But as fate will dictate, one rather huge unforeseen outcome of her decision is that she will have to do battle with an old inadvertently conjured demon that feeds off the strength of women. She is a truly mean old spirit who can invade other women and have them do her bidding and in no time has the Rez in an uproar. As Rose discovers, the old demon has been unintentionally called forth by Rose's teen daughter, Sarah, which complicates Rose's life just a little more. The spirit woman creates a reign of fear and havoc by appearing to people on the reserve and freaking them out, all of which leads to incidents of extreme humour and plot-twisting bemusement, liberally sprinkled with some jittery acts of valour. With a cast of unusual and unfamiliar characters, Dumont interweaves a tale of motherly love, friendship, lustful longing, wîhtikow lore, and Rez humour and keeps the hoopla going until the race is done.

      At the story's vortex is Rose, a woman destined to face her fears and provide some rich laughter while doing so. Will she send the demon back to where it came from before the spirit claims her teen daughter? Will she get back together with her philandering, rock musician husband before her girls grow up? Will she sort out her best friend's winter pregnancy? But more importantly, will she get this all done before her big, face-saving race with Dahlia Ingram, a woman whom God has designed for one purpose: to run long distances at high speeds with effortless grace.
      Bio
      Dawn Dumont is the author of Nobody Cries at Bingowhich was published by Thistledown Press in 2011 and was shortlisted for the City of Edmonton Award and the Alberta Reader's Choice.  She writes and performs comedy across Canada and sometimes sneaks into local poetry nights. You can also catch her on the APTN reality comedy series,Fish out of Water which she co-hosted with comedian Don Kelly. (She's the one screaming and falling out of canoes.)She is also the afternoon drive DJ for Voices Radio, broadcast across Canada (Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver, and Edmonton).  She writes a monthly column for the Eaglefeather News called, "That's What She Said." She divides her time between, Saskatoon, Edmonton, and the rest of Canada.
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  • 2
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    9781927068908 Paperback FICTION / Literary Publication Date:October 01, 2014
    $19.95 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.6 in | 400 gr | 244 pages Carton Quantity:40 Canadian Rights: Y Thistledown Press
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      After You've Gone is the story of two generations of musicians, a jazz grandmother and a punk granddaughter, who each struggle with balancing life, love, and art in their respective eras. The novel opens in 2007 with Elsa Taggart and her ex-husband watching their son's convocation from Seattle University. The events that bring about this everyday moment are then revealed in a series of spirited flashbacks that move convincingly between Elsa and her grandmother. Lita and Elsa's lives are revealed in a procession of parallel events.
      In 1935 Regina, Lita, as a young woman of gypsy ancestry, develops a passion for playing the guitar. Encouraged and wide-eyed she joins a Regina jazz combo and begins a life that she couldn't imagine and didn't expect. From the first moment that she falls in love with the group's lead singer, to the dark moment of his death, Lita's fate is sealed.
      In paralleled abandon, Elsa has become the lead singer / songwriter and guitarist of Speed Queen, a Regina punk band. Her boyfriend Mark Taggart is also in a punk band. In love with the music scene, with each other, and their new baby, they decide their musical prospects would be better in Seattle than in Regina, a move that will prove to bring about significant changes
      Though fifty years exist between Lita and Elsa, their circumstances reflect and conform to the lives they have chosen. The daunting risks of the musician's life coupled with the pursuit of intimate relationships lead to the heartache and grief that comes with such adventure. The pain of rejection and betrayal has to be managed, just as the responsibility of commitments must be maintained. After You've Gone is also the story of these two musicians' generations and how those forces that pushed against a jazz-musician grandmother from the Great Depression and those of a female Punk artist from the 80s, are comparable. Balancing career and art in their respective eras was difficult; balancing love, men, and babies was work. Though they are part of different worlds, both are challenged by the pitfalls of women musicians, both are haunted by the love they had for their men, and both were changed by the babies they birthed. Though neither was looking, they were both sagacious enough to link together their common experience and provide strength for each other, bound by their muse and their blood.
      Bio
      Descended from a long line of music lovers, Lori Hahnel is the author of three previous fiction collections including Nothing Sacred (Thistledown, 2009), which was shortlisted for the Alberta Literary Award for fiction. Her writing has been published across North America and in the U.K.; her credits include CBC Radio, The Fiddlehead, Prairie Fire, and Room. During the early days of Calgary's punk scene, Hahnel was a founding member of The Virgins, a power-pop punk group that carved its place in Calgary rock history as the city's first all-female band. Hahnel lives in Calgary where she teaches creative writing.
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      Awards
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      "After You've Gone vibrates with authenticity: two eras, two young women caught up in the giddy thrall of love and music and feckless men." - Lee Kvern, author of The Matter of Sylvie and Seven Ways to Sunday

  • 3
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    Motherwild Ken Rivard Canada
    9781927068854 Paperback FICTION / Literary Publication Date:October 01, 2014
    $19.95 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.7 in | 475 gr | 276 pages Carton Quantity:28 Canadian Rights: Y Thistledown Press
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      Motherwild is an unvarnished journey, a celebration and depiction of struggles to survive on a sometimes violent, sometimes loving, always alive, Montreal working-class street. Set over the course of a year beginning in December 1959, Joey Cantell is trying to figure out his relationship with his mother. Joey's personal confusion with her has continued to grow from infancy to adolescence. The rest of the family occasionally present their own challenges, but it was Joey's "Ma" who exasperated him with her quick wit, strong will, and her drinking.

      Then there was Celine Lesage, a girl living downstairs in the apartment block who reminded him of his mother as Celine too was a puzzle that drove him mad but attracted him like no one else.

      Most of Joey's relationships flow from his connection to Celine and his mother, and most of his experience comes from studying their ways. But a pervasive melancholy overrides certain days as Joey struggles with thoughts of what his mother might do to herself or what he might do to her. He even contemplates using the gun he found on slippery Dion Street during a winter bank robbery to silence this mother confusion. Tension builds. Can Joey trust himself not to carry out his violent plan? What can he do to intervene and break the craziness his mother feels? Will his fantasies of Celine ever become reality? What will then become of him? Then an incredible event occurs that will change him for the rest of his life.

      Motherwild is a tense drama about the growth to maturity and a teen son's desperate relationship with his mother, but it is also the story of a working-class family and the social conditions of working-class life in the 1960s.

      Bio
      Ken Rivard was born and raised in Montreal. He is the author of ten published books of poetry, fiction, and children's literature. His writing has appeared in numerous anthologies, in many regional and national publications, and on the CBC. His books have been finalists for the Writers Guild of Alberta Book Awards and the City Of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize. He has worked as a juror for both the Alberta and Saskatchewan book awards and has been the Writer-in-Residence for the Calgary Public Library and the Writers Guild of Alberta. He lives in Calgary.
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  • 4
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    Parallel Rivers Michael Kenyon Canada
    9781927068823 Paperback FICTION / Short Stories Publication Date:October 01, 2014
    $18.95 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.6 in | 400 gr | 244 pages Carton Quantity:40 Canadian Rights: Y Thistledown Press
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      Parallel Rivers is a collection of stories that were coaxed into existence from Kenyon's interest in seeing what fiction might learn from film, particularly the German, French, Italian, and Japanese cinema of the 70s. While Kenyon's fictions are often immersed in postmodern sensibilities, adding the rituals and techniques and experiments of film to the process changes some of the ground rules.

      The collection has two sections that run stylistically parallel to each other. The first section consists of short, often surreal or uncomfortable fictions; the second contains longer stories of larger, more realistic worlds. In the shorter fictions, each story creates its own world order, and presents hyper-utilizations of point of view, time shifts, and disconnected physical detail. Here you will find stories about construction buddies who are violently transformed by their marriages; a cold war incident that causes a Canadian circus in Russia to fragment and disintegrate; a political runner at a Ravi Shankar concert who must cope with death and detachment; and a surreal train that derails the purpose of a man dying.

      In the longer pieces considerably more tradition and familiarity are used. There's the story "Jane Hart's Airband" where the Tom Waitsian energy sweeps the reader along in a tale of music, quirky adventure, and character conjecture. Or in the memory lament "That Time in Palm Springs", that closes out the collection. Gone is the anarchy and randomness that purpose the earlier shorter pieces. Here the speaker, a man caring for his ancient father, efficiently gathers his memories around him and recounts in a controlled reliability those moments that may have shaped him. In Kenyon's fictions, the concept of memory as in our narrator's case may not be reliable nor may his life have been lived as he suggests, and his immersion in movies and television might create enough distrust that the reader can easily be left unsure. These fictions exist as dreams exist, yet within this framework truth is revealed and the full play of language exercised.

      Bio
      Michael Kenyon is the author of eleven books of poetry and fiction. 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), and the Journey Prize. He divides his week between Pender Island and Vancouver.
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  • 5
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    9781927068922 Paperback FICTION / Short Stories Publication Date:October 01, 2014
    $18.95 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x ..35 in | 250 gr | 144 pages Carton Quantity:68 Canadian Rights: Y Thistledown Press
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      In an inviting and challenging series of fictions, Sean Johnston's We Don't Listen to Them will leave readers puzzling while they smile at the acrobatics of his words and techniques. Some of Johnston's stories border on "flash fiction" where incidents rather than an actual narrative drive the story. In the open piece "How Blue" the boy Ronnie is caught in the vortex of his father who drinks and a mother who condones, and a church representative who reforms. There is no plot, just Ronnie eating his purple ice cream and thinking his way through the maze. Several stories, particularly "Whose Origins Escaped Him" and "We Don't Celebrate That" feature meta-fiction that explores writing about writing. In the former elaborate footnotes delineate the characters and their actions, explaining why the story is unfolding the way it is and why the writer has chosen to do this. In the later story "We Don't Celebrate That", the narrator, a writer, explains how rules can be absurdly imposed on writers in a futile attempt to govern the writing process. The story, which might have been about someone looking intently into their dying mother's eyes and finding confusion there isn't about that because section 18 of the rules says 'All stories must say what they are not'. Such paradox is at work in many of the fictions in this collection, but so too are the small epiphanies of the characters who evolve within the work.
      At various junctures in the collection Johnston employs devices that adjust his writing to be focused with the lens of meta-fiction. Shifts in narrative, jumps in time, intrusions into the narrative tension are all common here.But so too is pathos as seen in the family dilemma of a recovering alcoholic in the story "We All Considered This". And we do find compassion in the son-in-law who holds sympathy and kindness for his father-in-law afflicted with Alzheimer's in "You Didn't Have to Tell Him", and share the weighted sadness of the husband dressing his dead wife for the funeral in "He Hasn't Been to the Bank in Weeks". While the world will turn upside down in Johnston's stories, and the logic and reality will be violated, and a bank teller will hand a patron his bank robber note, it is fiction that also ebbs and flows with human struggle, that is recognizable and relatable and, despite the challenges and uncertainties placed in the reader's path, there is always a way to see more clearly than think we do.

      Buy an eBook version of this book at Kobo, Amazon Kindle Store, or your favourite eBook store

      Bio

      Sean Johnston is the author of Listen All You Bullets (Gaspereau, 2013), The Ditch Was Lit Like This (Thistledown, 2011), All This Town Remembers (Gaspereau, 2006), and A Day Does Not Go By (Nightwood, 2002), which won the 2003 ReLit Award for short fiction. Johnston lives in Kelowna, BC, where he co-edits Ryga: A Journal of Provocations, and teaches at Okanagan College.

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  • 6
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    9781927068861 Paperback POETRY / Canadian Publication Date:March 30, 2014
    $17.95 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.25 in | 275 gr | 96 pages Carton Quantity:104 Canadian Rights: Y Thistledown Press
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      Miscellaneous Wreckage truly is a miscellany. There are no recurring themes or dominant sections, the subject matter of the poems is all over the map, exploring the poet's past lives, places he has lived, his elderly parents, his children, ex-wives, and his dogs. If there is a unifying force it is his recognition of his mortality and the great beyond of death. But, no matter how dark the subject matter may appear, Simison confronts it all head on with humour. As he says, "After all, you may as well laugh at death.
      Raging against death is as futile as raging against the wind in Saskatchewan." Miscellaneous Wreckage is a sit back, read, and enjoy collection, and, yes, you will likely get more than a laugh or two as you turn its pages. "Though several of the poems in Miscellaneous Wreckage were written some years ago, the majority were written since 2009 when I moved from BC to Saskatchewan. Coinciding with the move from BC were the deaths of several lifelong friends and the realization that, perhaps, I wasn't going to live forever as I had planned. Those events triggered a writing spree that continues today."- Greg Simison
      Bio
      Greg Simison was born in Guildford, England in 1946 and came to Canada as a child. He is a playwright, a former newspaper columnist, and the author of three previous collections of poetry: Disturbances, The Possibilities of Chinese Trout, and What the Wound Remembers. After living in most Canadian provinces at one time or another, he currently calls Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan home.
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  • 7
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    Red Curls Tracy Hamon Canada
    9781927068939 Paperback POETRY / Subjects & Themes Publication Date:March 30, 2014
    $17.95 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.2 in | 250 gr | 80 pages Carton Quantity:120 Canadian Rights: Y Thistledown Press
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      In a series of poems that move between narrative and lyric, the personas of Austrian artist Egon Schiele and his mistress/model Valerie Neuzil are revealed in exquisite detail. Dividing the work into three sections, equal energy is given to the artist, his model, and the alluring energy of Viennese eroticism. Creating intimacy through the use of first person and exposing drama through the use of the third, Hamon's poems resonate with Egon's and Valerie's story: how they met, their intense desires, and the union and bond that would keep them together for years. Red Curls chronicles lives but in the retelling, captures the enterprise and intensity of Schiele as he pushed the culture of desire to new heights.
      But not all of Hamon's poems simply celebrate Schiele's genius nor do they romantically colour the hard love that he shared with Valerie. Many poems are left to the reader to ponder as Hamon gathers the fragments and forces at work in her subjects. Other poems remind us of the mundane moments of Egon's and Valerie's financial struggles, their needling uncertainties, and the mitigating circumstances of family relationships. But never far from any revelation is the arching theme that, in Schiele's world, the pervasive drive is to find inspiration in the erotic and an audience to support it. Sometimes Hamon conjures that Viennese world that would reject his bohemian lifestyle only to celebrate his artistic vision, other times she intensively explores the truth of her subjects through their portraits and Schiele's paintings that themselves became the revolutionary and liberating edge of a generation of artists.
      The various poetic forms featured in the book let the reader visualize the art and lives of Schiele and Neuzil. Throughout, three voices appear as dramatic monologues that allow Schiele, Neuzil, and a voice from the present to speak. Central to the voices is the emotion of desire and how the desire to paint, love, or write inspires us to a different greatness.

      Bio
      Tracy Hamon was born in Regina, Saskatchewan. She holds an MA in English from the University of Regina. Her first book of poetry This Is Not Eden was released in April 2005 and was a finalist for two Saskatchewan Book Awards. Portions of her latest collection Interruptions in Glass won the 2005 City of Regina Writing Award, and was also shortlisted for two Saskatchewan Book Awards in 2010. Most recently she was long-listed for the 2012 CBC Poetry Award.
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      Awards
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      "These are poems that revel in non-conformity and glisten with the joy of how the world might be seen."- Michael Trussler

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