Shortlistedfor the Cover Design Award at the 2016 Alberta Book Publishing Awards!
Afterthe accidental death of a teenaged friend, the Lansing family has split alongfault lines previously hidden under a patina of suburban banality. Every familyhas secrets, but for the Lansings those secrets end up propelling them indifferent directions away from their border town to foreign shores and toprison.
Told in thirty-three flash fiction narratives,Border Markers is fractured like the psyches of its characters,all keen edges and tough language. It’s a slice of prairie noir that straddlesthe line between magical and gritty realism. Jenny Ferguson’s debut is acompelling collection of commonplace tragedies and surprisinginsights.
Excerptfrom “The Story of the New Bumper”
Running late. Cruising along on empty, the light flashing, that warning gong making itselfknown as Mike attempted to minimize the visual impact of his bald patch in therear-view mirror by tilting his head in increments. On the passenger seat lay asad looking bouquet of grocery store checkout flowers, heavy on the limp,little white ones. He drove to that little store, half diner, half grocerystore at lunch, out in Lashburn today. That’s why his tank hadn’t lasted theweek. An unintentional trip. The red sticker caught Mike’s eye and he thoughtabout peeling it from the Cellophane. Changed his mind as he shifted lanes,accelerating. It might be best if she saw he’d spent a few dollars thinkingabout her today.
The gas station was coming up on the left. If he didn’t turn in, he’d wind up late for work tomorrow. He’d be late for themorning meeting, would miss those minutes when everyone was busy and he couldflirt with the new redhead, the secretary, transferred from out east, when hecould take a shit in the bathroom on the second floor before the employeesworking there showed up and wanted to spend twenty minutes in the bathroomtaking a shit of their own. So Mike turned into the gas station, reached out tokeep his coffee mug from falling from the too-small cup holder, like he didevery time he turned left.
One empty spot. Only one on accountof the afternoon price drop.
Mike went for it, driving a bittoo fast around the corner. He’d have to back in, but it would get him homequicker, to work on time in the a. m. A red dually truck, its bulky wheelsheading towards Mike’s spot. Trying to take it from him. “Not going to happen,buddy. Never going to happen. Wait your own turn, asshole. ” He whipped aroundthe second corner with a wicked squeal.
The dually stoppedwhen Mike took the corner. Gave in to Mike, backed off. Time to go for thebrake, but during that last left turn, Mike had forgotten to hold a hand out tosteady the coffee mug and it came up out of the too-small holder, fell to thefloor, rolled under the brake. Mike jumped the curb and hit the pump. A hissescaped from the pump. The woman at the pump ahead of Mike dropped her gas capand ran for the road, her arms flailing above her.
Mike feltaround the passenger seat for his cellphone, mangling the flowers when they gotin his way. He hit the speed-dial. “Yeah, I’ve got a problem. At the Esso justeast of Lloydminster. ” He took a breath, his hand shaking as he reached for acigarette. The people around him still standing at their pumps, admiring thetruck and damage from a distance, began yelling. “Yeah. An accident,” Mikereplied into the phone, flicking at his lighter.
"Thisis a quick yet emotional read—a look at a place full of people that stay withyou long after you’ve read it. "
~ Suzanne Baltsar,Bookish
"Turningthe pages of Ferguson's terrific first book is a clue-finding mission thatleaves the reader wanting more. "
~ Rebecca Geleyn, TheFiddlehead
"Fergusonis a master of short form… [Border Markers is] the kind ofbook you instantly want to re-read. "
~ Will J. Fawley,The Winnipeg Review
"Inthese subtle stories, what is left out carries more weight than what is stated. The delicate structuring and balance of the flash fiction can be upset byremoving a sentence…. Ferguson knows how to craft flash fiction, and, in theend, her stories become a novella told from many perspectives. "
~Ava Homa, Herizons