The Most Heartless Town in Canada

By (author): Elaine McCluskey

Myrtle is not one of those communities with a town historian or a roster of famous residents. Myrtle does, however, have a poultry plant, and looming above the plant are the eagles, massive birds that roost in trees and feast on entrails left by workers, creatures synonymous with power, freedom and might. The story starts with a newspaper photo taken in an obscure Nova Scotia town after the murder of eight bald eagles. The bizarre photo wins a contest and, over time, the unidentified girl in the foreground becomes, like Diane Arbus’s Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park, infamous. Rita Van Loon decides, after seven painful years, to explain herself and the events surrounding the murders. The Most Heartless Town in Canada looks at media agendas, amateur sport, family dynamics, and the divide between rural and urban Canada.

Selected Praise:
“… McCluskey’s cast of characters ‘and it is quite large’ is anything but ordinary, especially when it comes to Pammy Pottie, Rita’s well-meaning but luckless swim coach, and her motley crew of swimmers. Myrtle is full of oddballs, which is lucky for us, because that, more than anything else, is what gives this novel its quirky charm.” (Quill and Quire)

“The Most Heartless Town in Canada is explicitly about bearing false witness to a place and what that does to the people there. (It?s also extremely funny.) …” (The Globe and Mail)

“McCluskey’s complex small town terrific” (Winnipeg Free Press)


Elaine McCluskey

Elaine McCluskey is the author of a short story collection, The Watermelon Social, and a boxing novel, Going Fast. A Journey Prize finalist, her award-winning stories have appeared in many of Canada’s leading literary journals. A former bureau chief for The Canadian Press, she worked as a journalist before turning to fiction. She teaches journalism part-time and works as a writing coach. She lives in Dartmouth, N.S.


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288 Pages
8.64in * 8.63in * .71in


April 20, 2016



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FICTION / Literary

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