Taut, stylish stories take on big moral questions from surprising perspectives.
A teenager’s job mucking stalls at a dog track takes a strange turn when his co-worker finds a new religion at odds with winning streaks. Two brothers set out in search of fame in the icy waters of a subarctic lake. A pregnant high school student tries to make rent by winning the Unitarian Church’s Annual Young Writer’s Short Story Competition (“No foul or off-putting language” permitted). An incarcerated man considers the nature of choice between shifts with his fellow inmates at Nations at War, the ultimate live-action experience for tourists eager to learn about the Canadian Civil War—nevermind the fact that there was no such war when the fake blood spatters so dramatically.
Spanning states and provinces, and featuring an apocalypse, a coterie of ghosts, nuns on ice, and an above-average amount of dogs, the stories in Hello, Horse consider sundry sins and the search for redemption, justice and the impulse to hold to account, the mirage of authenticity and the decisions we make—for better and for worse.
Praise for Richard Kelly Kemick
“Kemick convincingly wrests the sublime from the trivial. He manages, astonishingly, a tone both earnest and ironic, with details and insights that are lively, unexpected, funny, and poignant.”
—National Magazine Awards
“Richard Kemick spends a summer in Alberta’s Bible Belt where it may be easier to find God than a vegetarian meal. There, he confronts age-old questions about belief with near-miraculous freshness, honesty, and humour. A deeply personal investigation of the blurred border between faith and imagination.”
—Marcello Di Cintio, author of Driven: The Secret Lives of Taxi Drivers
“Laugh out loud funny … Kemick’s own faith or lack thereof is … one of the deeper themes that courses beneath the comedy.”
“Wisecracking, earnest, and charmingly obsessive, Kemick introduces himself here as a poet who believes in something larger than his own self, and so is a poet to watch.”