I know you are but what am I?

By Heather Birrell

I know you are but what am I?
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Kleptomaniacs, convicts, roof-walkers and homicidal hippies: here are children and adults, men and women, all struggling to define themselves. The stories in I know you are but what am I? are like snow domes – perfect little self-contained worlds that you can hold in your hand, ... Read more


Overview

Kleptomaniacs, convicts, roof-walkers and homicidal hippies: here are children and adults, men and women, all struggling to define themselves. The stories in I know you are but what am I? are like snow domes – perfect little self-contained worlds that you can hold in your hand, turn upside down, shake until meaning settles in a hundred different ways.

Young Misha learns about the complexities of grownup love when his mother is bitten by a stingray. Oldrick must come to terms with his ex-girlfriend's new lover and a belligerent barista in the midst of a smelly garbage strike. Bus-bound Marion, in love with a married man, finds solace in conversation with a convict and home-schooled Rational gets a tutor and learns that his 'hunker in the bunker' family isn't quite what he thought it was.

‘Heather Birrell's sentences conjure worlds. These stories scintillate. Smart, sharp, alluring, they're full of the chance encounters, mysteries, missed connections and unexpected tenderness of contemporary life. ’ – Catherine Bush

Heather Birrell

Heather Birrell is the author of two short story collections: Mad Hope (Coach House Books, 2012) and I know you are but what am I? (Coach House Books, 2004). Her stories have been shortlisted for both the Western and National Magazine Awards and have appeared in numerous Canadian literary journals. A frequent book reviewer and winner of the Journey Prize, she also works as a high school teacher and a creative writing instructor.

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