Longlisted for the 2014 Frank O’Connor Award
Longlisted for the 2014 Giller Prize
“Moody, shape-shifting, provocative and always as compelling as a strong light at the end of a road you hesitate to walk down…but will.”—Amy Bloom
“Tight, strange, nifty stories.”—Margaret Atwood
The rubble of an ancient civilization. A village in a valley from which no one comes or goes. A forest of mother-trees, whispering to each other through their roots; a lakeside lighthouse where a girl slips into human skin as lightly as an otter into water; a desert settlement where there was no conflict, before she came; or the town of Wantwick, ruled by a soothsayer, where tourists lose everything they have. These are the places where things begin.
New from the author of The Story of My Face, Paradise & Elsewhere is a collection of dark fables at once familiar and entirely strange: join the Orange Prize-nominated Kathy Page as she notches a new path through the wild, lush, half-fantastic and half-real terrain of fairy tale and myth.
Praise for Paradise & Elsewhere
“This vibrant, startlingly imaginative collection reminded me—as few collections have done in recent years—of both where stories come from, and why we need to tell them. Kathy Page is a massive talent: wise, smart, very funny and very humane.”—Barbara Gowdy
“Short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.”—The Barnes & Noble Review
“A mind-bending collection of stories about transformation and adaptation, full of startling ideas, capricious characters and uncanny goings-on … Paradise & Elsewhere is composed of elastic language and distorted reflections, each story boldly illuminating as it playfully confounds.”—Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“The Canadian author Kathy Page has been compared by critics to Angela Carter, and it’s easy to understand why … as with Carter, Page enlists the tone of myth and fable to tell nuanced feminist stories, to undermine mythic structures by grounding them in the body. But whereas Carter is using fairy tales to talk about the cruelty and power of fairy tales, for Page the mythic idiom is a means, is incidental … Whereas Carter rejects the comforts of myth, treats it as patriarchal structure to be opened wetly by the recursive blade of fairy tale, for Page the fantastic, the mythic, is a means to tell the story of connection and transcendence, of escape. In service of that story she ropes into these odd tales discussion of tourism, of loneliness, of possibility, of tea. Carter beats on iron that we might hear the din; Page, in this remarkable collection, would rather watch the sparks.”—Music & Literature
“I really love the attention to a language that drives itself straight into me as a reader and holds me there, alive and waiting the next word. It’s thrilling for me to experience … terrific.”—Peter Levitt
“Her fiction is sensuous and verdant, grafting lyrical prose onto stories and situations that appear almost as legends … Page recalls Angela Carter in these stories, employing fable and myth, along with Gothic elements and moments of horror, to jar her reader out of a settled complacency.”—The National Post
“The intensely familiar and the strikingly odd combine here to form a reading experience similar to that of fable. Indeed, though Paradise is set in modern times, here we cover similar ground as that of Greek myth or Grimm’s fairy tales … but rest assured, these contemporary tales are as insightful as their older counterparts.”—The Globe & Mail
“Rebelling against a literary orthodoxy that holds up stalwart realism as the true writer’s best and only friend, [Page is] obviously comfortable with exotic tales that don’t fall into preordained categories and which unfold in ways equally unpredictable and strange… marvellous … immersive and mystery-laden.”—The Vancouver Sun
“Extraordinary … edgy and deeply disturbing …I was often reminded of the very best kind of travel reportage that not only transports you to foreign climes but describes the culture, the food, the people and tries to put it into context.”—Reading Matters
“Kathy Page’s new collection is cast in the fabulist mode of Angela Carter, with stories about a society that has outlawed kissing due to an orally transmitted virus, a sea creature who takes the place of a lighthouse-keeper’s missing wife, and a journalism student who takes the notion of communing with nature to a bizarre and unsettling extreme.—That Shakespearean Rag
“Fans of Winter’s controlled intensity will see her trademark style present again in The Freedom in American Songs.”—The Chronicle Herald
“Resonantly imaginative.”—The Georgia Straight
“All at once the stories in this collection are realistic, feminist, apocalyptic … [Kathy Page] has got it all, and she is unapologetic about delivering the goods … this book is full of beautiful intelligent writing that is sharp, raw and to the point. And it just might make us all better human beings.”—The Winnipeg Review
“Kathy Page has made me love short stories with this wonderful, visceral, and sometimes disturbing collection…The stories are surreal and strange, with a strong undercurrent of human emotion coursing through them … The writing is elegant, but often fills you with disbelief … The book, as a whole, is a work of art.”—Worn Pages & Ink
“The genius of [Page’s] book is the way magic seeps into the stories. It seems so inevitable. Somewhere deep in the ancient part of our brains, there must still be a grasp of the connectedness of all things, of the endless flux of creation and destruction.”–Amanda Leslie-Spinks, Canadian Literature
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