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The inspiration for the collection comes from American Poet Charles Bukowski who wrote “In between the punctuating agonies, life is such a gentle habit.” Following this theme of extraordinary ordinariness, A Gentle Habit is a collection of six new short stories focusing on the addictions of a diverse group of characters attempting normalcy in an unnatural world.
With this special 20th Anniversary edition, Richard Van Camp re-releases his first bestselling collection of short stories. There is pain in these stories and there is loss. There is death, but there is also rebirth, and there is always the search from each of the narrators for personal truth. This collection of hilarious and profound stories is where beloved recurring characters Torchy, Sfen, Snowbird, Clarence and Brutus first appeared. Larry Sole from The Lesser Blessed>/i> also appears in this collection, alongside many other characters, all of them linked by themes of hope, the spirit of friendship, and hunger.
Richard has gone on to publish four other short story collections, but Angel Wing Splash Pattern is where his love of the short story–“those perfect universes”–all began. This beautifully redesigned 20th anniversary edition, with a new introduction by the author and two new graphic-novel style stories, proves once again that Richard Van Camp is a master of the short story.
Winner of the City of Vancouver Book Award
Finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize.
Carleigh Baker likes to make light in the dark. Whether plumbing family ties, the end of a marriage, or death itself, she never lets go of the witty, the ironic, and perhaps most notably, the awkward. Despite the title, the resolution in these stories isn’t always tragic, but it’s often uncomfortable, unexpected, or just plain strange. Character digressions, bad decisions, and misconceptions abound.
While steadfastly local in her choice of setting, Baker’s deep appreciation for nature takes a lot of these stories out of Vancouver and into the wild. Salmon and bees play reoccurring roles in these tales, as do rivers. Occasionally, characters blend with their animal counterparts, adding a touch of magic realism. Nature is a place of escape and attempted convalescence for characters suffering from urban burnout. Even if things get weird along the way, as Hunter S. Thompson said, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
In Bad Endings, Baker takes troubled characters to a moment of realization or self-revelation, but the results aren’t always pretty.
“Bearskin Diary is a humane, unflinching portrayal of a woman asserting her voice and claiming space in an often hostile nation.”
Basil Johnston was one of the foremost Anishinaabe writers and storytellers, and his comedic stories about life in Residential School, Indian School Days, is a classic. Candies was Johnston’s first collection of humorous works in decades.Excerpt from “Indian on Bicycle” found in Candies:Both cars raced off. Tires squealed. Rubber burned. 50 … 60 … 70 … 80 miles an hour.Behind, the old Indian, his hair flying, his shirt flapping and snapping like a wind-blown flag, was desperately ringing his bell, “ding, ding, ding.” …”Better get ready to flag down a couple of fool kids racing down the road about 80 miles an hour. But you won’t believe this … there’s an old Indian on a bicycle trying to pass them!”
Here is a contemporary Mi’kmaq legend of the life of a great man, who becomes chief, the embodiment of Mi’kmaq values of humility, courage, honour, service and sacrifice of personal gain for the sake of others. He lived a long and storied life, hundreds of years ago, before the arrival of the European scouts and, later, their warships. He was a renowned warrior but, more so, a peacemaker. His people followed him to the point of devotion, yet he was uncannily modest, even embarrassed by his own achievements. He suffered great loss, yet his understanding of his place, his role in a great society, a greater natural world and an inestimable metaphysical world, guided him through his pain.
Mi’kmaq readers may recognize these time-honoured themes based on traditional tales passing values generation to generation. Others will gain a new appreciation for what was lost under colonialism and the attempted genocide of this vibrant, sophisticated and successful culture and society.
With We Were Not the Savages, Daniel Paul changed the way the world understood the history of Eastern Canada and the fully developed civilization that existed before the arrival of the European explorers and settlers, and the nature of the subsequent violent attack on that culture. With Chief Lightning Bolt, Paul shows us exactly what was lost, the beauty of the Mi’kma’ki that once existed, the culture that survived and is only now beginning to recover.
Eighty years have passed since flash floods, droughts, and tornadoes have ravaged the North American landscape and mass migrations to the north have led to decade-long wars. In the thriving city of La Ronge, George Taylor and Lenore Hanson are lawyers who rarely interact with members of the lower classes from the impoverished suburb of Regis and the independently thriving Ashram outside the city. They live in a world of personalized Platforms, self-driving cars, and cutting edge Organic Recreational Vehicles (ORVs), where gamers need never leave their virtual realities.
Lenore befriends political dissenter and fellow war veteran Richard Warner, and George accidentally crash-lands his ORV near the mountain-sheltered haven of a First Nations community, they become exposed to new ways of thinking. As the lives of these near-strangers become intertwined, each is forced to confront the past before their relationships and lives unravel.
Taking its title from the Latin name for the Trickster bird of First Nations, Norse, and Christian mythologies, Corvus examines the illusions of security we build through technology and presents a scathing satire of a world caught up in climate change denial and the glorification of war.
In Ojibwe cosmology there are thirteen moons, and in these pages are thirteen offerings from Ghost Lake, an interrelated cast of characters and their brushes with the mysterious. Issa lives in fear of having her secret discovered, Aanzheyaawin haunts the roads seeking vengeance, Zaude searches for clues to her brother’s death, Fanon struggles against an unexpected winter storm, Eadie and Mushkeg share a magical night, Tyner faces brutal violence, and Tyler, Clay, and Dare must make amends to the spirits before it’s too late. Here the precolonial past is not so distant, and nothing is ever truly lost or destroyed because the land remembers. Ghost Lake is a companion volume to Adler’s Indigenous horror novel, Wrist (2016, Kegedonce Press). It was the winner of the 2021 Indigenous Voices Award in Published English Fiction, and was shortlisted for the 2021 Eric Hoffer da Vinci Eye Award in Book Design.
These short stories interconnect the friendships of four First Nations people — Everett Kaiswatim, Nellie Gordon, Julie Papequash, and Nathan (Taz) Mosquito — as the collection evolves over two decades against the cultural, political, and historical backdrop of the 90s and early 2000s.
These young people are among the first of their families to live off the reserve for most of their adult lives, and must adapt and evolve. In stories like “Stranger Danger”, we watch how shy Julie, though supported by her roomies, is filled with apprehension as she goes on her first white-guy date, while years later in “Two Years Less A Day” we witness her change as her worries and vulnerability are put to the real test when she is unjustly convicted in a violent melee and must serve some jail time. “The House and Things That Can Be Taken” establishes how the move from the city both excites and intimidate reserve youth — respectively, how a young man finds a job or a young woman becomes vulnerable in the bar scene. As well as developing her characters experientially, Dumont carefully contrasts them, as we see in the fragile and uncertain Everett and the culturally strong and independent but reckless Taz.
As the four friends experience family catastrophes, broken friendships, travel to Mexico, and the aftermath of the great tragedy of 9/11, readers are intimately connected with each struggle, whether it is with racism, isolation, finding their cultural identity, or repairing the wounds of their upbringing.
Winner of the 2015 Burt Award for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Literature!
In a world without time and steeped in ceremony and magic, walks a chosen few who hold an ancient power: the Grey Eyes. True stewards of the land, the Grey Eyes use their magic to maintain harmony and keep evil at bay. With only one elderly Grey-Eye left in the village of the Nehiyawak, the birth of a new Grey-Eyed boy promises a renewed line of defence against their only foe: the menacing Red-Eyes, whose name is rarely spoken but whose presence is ever felt. While the birth of the Grey-Eyed boy offers the clan much-needed protection, it also initiates a struggle for power that threatens to rip the clan apart, leaving them defenceless against the their sworn ememy. The responsibility of restoring balance and harmony, the only way to keep the Nehiyawak safe, is thrust upon a boy’s slender shoulders. What powers will he have, and can he protect the clan from the evil of the Red Eyes?
Check out “Grey Eyes in the Classroom,” the IndieGogo campaign aimed to donate copies of Grey Eyes to underfunded First Nation schools across Canada:
In her debut collection of short stories, Islands of Decolonial Love, renowned writer and activist Leanne Simpson vividly explores the lives of contemporary Indigenous Peoples and communities, especially those of her own Nishnaabeg nation. Found on reserves, in cities and small towns, in bars and curling rinks, canoes and community centres, doctors offices and pickup trucks, Simpson’s characters confront the often heartbreaking challenge of pairing the desire to live loving and observant lives with a constant struggle to simply survive the historical and ongoing injustices of racism and colonialism. Told with voices that are rarely recorded but need to be heard, and incorporating the language and history of her people, Leanne Simpson’s Islands of Decolonial Love is a profound, important, and beautiful book of fiction.
Sales and Market Bullets
For readers of Richard Wagamese’s Medicine Walk
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.
On the cusp of the Depression, Sheilagh Driscoll of isolated Rennie’s Bay nearly dies while giving birth prematurely to baby Leah. Sheilagh is attended by a traditional midwife, part Mi’kmaq, Mrs. Mary, as well as by Leah Clarke, a nurse-midwife from England. Baby Leah Mary survives but develops serious asthma, which requires treatment throughout her childhood. Traumatized by the birth, Sheilagh learns about age-old ways of preventing pregnancy. The result is an awakening that impacts on Sheila’s relationship with all the women around her, especially her younger sister Claire. Informed by the occasional newspapers and magazines that make their way to Rennie’s Bay via sea-going schooners, Claire’s worldview contrasts sharply with Sheilagh’s. In contrast to Sheilagh’s acceptance of life in Rennie’s Bay, Claire reacts against it. Claire stumbles into a sexual relationship but sees relations with David–or any man–as a trap and tries to avoid him. She is not entirely successful and finds herself pregnant. Like her sister, she turns to Mrs. Mary for help.
A dystopian novel in which a First Nations professor confronts and assesses the impact of the US annexation of Canada through an examination of personal values and First Nations social mores.
A spellbinding novel celebrating Indigenous sensuality; the first erotic novel written by an Indigenous woman in French. Shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation.
When it was first published in Quebec, The Lover, The Lake was heralded as the first erotic novel written by an Indigenous woman in French. Today, as it is translated into English for the first time, author Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau would rather call it a celebration of sensuality, another first. At a time when Indigenous peoples were being dispossessed of their land and history as well as their relationship to the body, the love explored by Wabougouni and Gabriel is an act of defiance. Their intimate connection plays out on the shores of Lake Abitibi in an affair as turbulent and unfathomable as the lake itself.
“The aim here is to break free of the bonds of wounds the priests’ abuse has left on our bodies and souls, wounds linked to loss–of land, of intimate spaces, of identity both as an individual and community member, of sexual identity, of delight in the body, of innocence and the uncomplicated nature of lovemaking. My hope is that this novel will serve to unearth the seed of joy buried deep in our culture, still profoundly alive . . . The Lover, the Lake shows us that we are not just suffering and victims: we can also be pleasure.” — Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau, from the prologue