First Fiction Friday: Egg Island

August 5, 2022 By: Russell Smith

In this week’s edition of First Fiction Friday, editor Russell Smith from Dundurn Press shares why less really is more in Sara Flemington’s new novel Egg Island , via her unique and clever minimalist approach. 

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What: 

Book Cover of Egg Island

Egg Island (Dundurn Press)

 

Who: 

Sara Flemington’s stories have appeared in several journals, including subTerrain, the Humber Literary Review, and the Feathertale Review. Egg Island is her first novel. Sara lives in Toronto.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why you need to read this now:

Read a page of this writing and you will see that it’s a little unusual. It’s a minimalist style that takes a little getting used to. It hints and it withholds.

The book is written in the first person. A narrator called Julia is telling her story. This is how it opens:

By the time I arrived at the first gas station my shoulders were rubbed raw from the straps of my backpack. My t-shirt and bra all soaked through with sweat. The old man behind the counter asked where I was headed and why the heck I was walking to get there on a day hotter than heck.
I answered, “Because I have feet. Can I use your washroom?”
He pointed past me where a tall kid about my age with messy brown hair and a studded belt stocked dripping cans of Sprite into a fridge.
The old man said, “Colt, show her the washroom.”
Colt looked over his shoulder. He looked me in the eyes like he was going to love me then murder me, then spend the rest of his life building a shrine for me.

Throughout the narrative, Julia notes and comments on things like this – things she sees, things she imagines. But she never explains herself. We are always in the moment with her . Sometimes that moment will remind her of something, and that’s where we get quick remembered flashes of where she comes from. 

In Egg Island, the narrator and the protagonist are one. And the voice of the author is hidden away so deeply in this monologue it is almost completely invisible. Author Flemington has strict control over point of view: Julia’s voice, and what she sees, are pure throughout. The conclusion is so much more satisfying because we are taken there by Julia and Julia alone. 

 

X + Y:

The End of the F***ing World + Dawson’s Creek = Egg Island

 

The End of the F***king World + Dawson's Creek = Egg Island

 

 

*This piece has been edited and condensed. With thanks to Russell Smith at Dundurn Press for sharing Egg Island with us.

 

 

 

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