Collected Collections: From the Fantastic

Today’s trio of featured short story collections are indeed fantastic – favourably reviewed and award-nominees to boot – but also fantastic. These collections let the short story form do its best work in introducing concepts and characters that are wonderfully weird – and dare we say, fantastical – in ways that might not work in a full-length novel. 


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This Collected Collection: The Fantastic

Ezra’s Ghosts by Darcy Tamayose (NeWest Press)Named a finalist for the 2022 Writers Trust Atwood Gibson Fiction Prize, the four stories in Darcy Tamayose’s collection contend with the intersection of language and culture, all circling the small Albertan town of Ezra. Marginalia, academia, elderly men with wings, and the titular ghosts, among other magical happenings, are brilliant vectors for Tamayose’s experimental writing. Publisher’s Weekly says while the book isn’t for the faint of heart (or casual dabbler of short fiction), that “for those willing to put in the work, [Ezra’s Ghosts] is a treasure.”Suite as Sugar and other stories by Camille Hernández-Ramdwar (Dundurn Press)The magical realism present in Camille Hernández-Ramdwar’s collection can equally cushion and sharpen the blows of the colonial violence its characters face. The stories occur in Toronto and Cuba, Winnipeg and Trinidad, from the perspectives of unhoused people, residents, dogs; what writer Lisa Allen-Agostini calls “transatlantic prose flavoured with ingredients from the Caribbean and Canada.” Its title story takes place on a Caribbean sugar plantation; the operation itself a ghost that haunts its residents. It’s a unique and powerful collection.Meteorites by Julie Paul (TouchWood Editions)Ending our ghostly trifecta is Meteorites by Julie Paul, which in addition to ghosts features massive animals, twins, amputations… fantastical stories that twist in ways you won’t expect. Paul has two previous collections under her belt, and her writing talent continues to shine in Meteorites – it a finalist for the Short Fiction ReLit Award in 2020. While the plots of these stories are on the weird side, Paul’s dialogue is in a familiar dialect – “the everyday shorthand of family and friends” says the Toronto Star.

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We’ll be back each week with more Short Story Month Collected Collections – so stay tuned! If this post inspired you to “collect” one or all of these fantastic books, let us know on social @alllitupcanada.