First Fiction Friday: Small Predators

At the centre of Jennifer Ilse Black’s debut novel Small Predators (ARP Books) is the fallout between a group of Millennial-generation activists struggling to hope in the wake of climate doomsayers, when one of their own commits a violent political demonstration, and their activism turns toward and within their own bodies.


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What: Small Predators (ARP Books, 2018)Who: Jennifer Ilse Black has a B.A. and M.A. in English, Film and Theatre from the University of Manitoba. Black spent the majority of her time at the U of M as a student activist, working in feminist, queer, and anti-racist collectives, and serving terms on the campus students’ union council and executive. She was a student at Cartae Open School 2016-17, where she studied healing and meaning-making through the ritual and labour of textile artistry. She lives in Winnipeg.Why you need to read this now:Jennifer Ilse Black’s vibrant debut novel combines prose, lists, poetry, and structural experimentation to tell the story of a collective of student activists as they cope with the fallout of a violent political demonstration carried out by a member of their collective. Fox, the narrator, and her friends are Millennials born into the era of climate anxiety. Struggling to imagine a resistance that isn’t futile, they turn violently on themselves and each other, creating sites of political action and care within their physical bodies.Black deftly creates a powerful narrative of climate change, guilt, generational strife, and self-harm that peels back the preoccupations of Millennial-aged people.Small Predators was named a 2018 Most Anticipated Spring book by 49th Shelf – so why not stop anticipating, and start reading?X plus Y:Mix one part Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers with one part Donna Tartt’s The Secret History and add a splash of Michael Ondaatje’s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid and you get Small Predators—the Millennial activist’s handbook for the total destruction of self and others—featuring a few words on forgiveness.
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