First Fiction Friday: Only If We’re Caught

Theressa Slind’s debut short story collection Only If We’re Caught (Thistledown Press) looks for the bizarre and extraordinary in the everyday. Humorous, playful, and especially versed in the human heart, Slind’s collection has been called “perceptive, thoughtful, smart, funny and beautiful” (Alice Kuipers).


Share It:

In Theressa Slind’s wide-ranging debut story collection, a grieving children’s librarian is obsessed with jackrabbits, a vampire-barber confronts his son, a funeral director digs for treasure with ghosts, a son-in-law can’t lose at cribbage, a hockey enforcer’s sister instigates, and a pregnant teenager searches for a lost child. Only If We’re Caught explores a world both familiar and strange, a kind of prairie gothic whose characters employ the homegrown tactics (secretive, silly, subversive) that arise from isolation in its many forms. These stories surprise with a big-hearted kind of warmth and humour – sorely needed these days.Slind approaches the short story with the knowledge that it will distill and deliver feeling with particular power. The reader is left feeling something, often a big or lingering or mysterious something. She also says of the form that it “respects readers, trusting them to read attentively, be comfortable with ambiguity, and imagine all that is off the page.”Life of Pi author Yann Martel calls this book “a stellar collection of stories – funny, poignant, wide-ranging and wise. Only If We’re Caught will catch your heart.”

X + Y

Only if We’re Caught mixes the flair for the absurd of George Saunders with the deep insight into people’s interior lives of Alice Munro, and the flamboyant characters of Kevin Barry.


Theressa Slind is a librarian at Saskatoon Public Library. Her writing has appeared in Prairie Fire, PRISM international, The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, Grain, and elsewhere. She grew up on a grain farm in north-east Saskatchewan and lives in Saskatoon with her husband and daughter. Only If We’re Caught is her first book.