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In 1871, nineteen men, women, and children, voyaging on the Arctic explorer USS Polaris found themselves cast adrift on an ice floe as their ship began to founder. Based on one of the most remarkable events in polar history, Afterlands tells the haunting story of this small society of castaways -- a white and a black American, five Germans, a Dane, a Swede, an Englishman, and two Inuit families -- and the harrowing six months they spend marooned in the Arctic, struggling to survive both the harsh elements and one another. As the group splinters into factions along ethnic and national lines, rivalries -- complicated by sexual desire, unrequited love, extreme hunger, and suspicion -- begin to turn violent. Steven Heighton's provocative novel fills in the blanks of the Polaris's documented history and explores the shattering emotional and psychological consequences faced by those who survive.
An astoundingly original and tightly curated collection of stories from the award-winning author of Every Lost Country and Afterlands. It is remarkably easy to accept Al Purdy's assertion that Steven Heighton--renowned for his craftsmanship, risk-taking, insight and range--"is one of the best writers of his generation, maybe the best." The Dead Are More Visible highlights his strengths at writing fiction that does not sacrifice humour, depth and emotion for the sake of brevity. These 11 profoundly moving and finely crafted stories encapsulate wildly divergent themes of love and loss, containment and exclusion. In the title story, a parks & rec worker faces an assailant who does not leave the altercation intact. A medical researcher and his claustrophobic fiancée are locked in the trunk of their car after a failed carjacking (the thief can't drive standard). A young woman enters a pharmaceutical trial in the outer reaches of suburbia and slips between sleeping and waking with increasingly alarming ease. Pairing the cultural acuity of Lost in Translation with the compassion and reach of The World According to Garp, Heighton breathes new life into the short story, a genre that is finally coming into its own.
First published in 1983, Murder in the Dark is Margaret Atwood's seventh work of fiction or her tenth book of poetry, depending on how you slice it. These short prose forms range from fictionalized autobiography through prose-poetry, mini-romance, and mini-science fiction. A feast of comic entertainment, Murder in the Dark is Atwood at her wittiest, most thoughtful, and most provoking.
Steven Heighton is already recognized as one of the best writers to come to the fore in the nineties, a winner of numerous literary awards, whose work is widely translated. In The Shadow Boxer, he delivers a stunning portrait of the artist in the tradition of such great tales as Jude the Obscure, Candide and even Don Quixote, and gives literary life to the Northern Ontario landscape of "the Soo", and the demanding, muscular life of Lake Superior where giant ore-barges make their way over the grave of The Edmund Fitzgerald. Intricately patterned and multi-layered, this is the story of Sevigne Torrins, poet and boxer, who sets off into the world to make it, and whose romantic and professional misadventures take him as far as Egypt before he finds his way back to the Great Lakes. But the classic writerly dream that Sevigne pursues turns out in practice to have a different and darker reality than any he had foreseen.A passionate love story, a gripping narrative, The Shadow Boxer is also about the power of dreams and regret. It heralds a major new Canadian novelist and a master storyteller.