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Paradise and Elsewhere

Overview

Longlisted for the 2014 Frank O'Connor Award
and 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 ...

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Overview

Longlisted for the 2014 Frank O'Connor Award
and 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

Longlisted for the 2014 Giller Prize

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
04/21/2014
Best known as a literary realist, Kathy Page (nominated for the Orange Prize for The Story of My Face) has created a collection of 14 fabulist short stories that marks a somewhat unsatisfying shift in her writing. The stories feature an eclectic mix of characters ranging from a poor young villager in "G'ming," to a shape-shifting selkie in "Low Tide," to a cannibalistic yet tender mother in "Lambing." Page links these tales together with a folkloric writing style which seems foreign to her and which constricts her characters' dialogue to the point where their personalities bleed together. Page addresses political issues such as globalism and feminism throughout her collection but allows these issues to overshadow the stories themselves. "Clients," the impressive standout within the collection, abandons these fetters, allowing Page the opportunity to explore the unique idea of a world in which couples hire professional conversationalists in order to speak with one another. Page's talents also shine through in "The Kissing Disease," a story about a contagious kissing virus that causes infected individuals to develop ludicrous alternate personalities. The politically-charged demi-fables in this collection tend to sound prescriptive. However, when given the freedom to develop organically and with subtlety, Page's stories demonstrate her impressive creative abilities. (June)
From the Publisher
Praise for Paradise & Elsewhere

“Kathy Page embraces and illuminates the unknown, the creepy, the odd, the other and the rest of us. Her unforgettable prose is moody, shape-shifting, provocative and aways as compelling as a strong light at the end of a road you hesitate to walk down...but will.”—Amy Bloom

"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

“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

"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

Praise for Kathy Page

"Marvellously well-crafted … I can't remember the last time I was so compelled, impressed and unsettled by the emotional world of a novel."—Sarah Waters, author of Tipping the Velvet

"Kathy Page writes beautifully, combining strong storytelling with emotional candour."—Helen Dunmore, author of The Siege

“Kathy Page is one of our most daring writers ... If you don’t know Page’s work yet, she’s a find.”—Caroline Adderson, winner of the 2006 Marion Engel Award, author of Pleased to Meet You.

“Intricate and suspenseful … This is a book that stirs admiration for both the characters and their author.”—Pearl Luke, winner of the Commonwealth Prize, author of Burning Ground

"Quietly gripping."—Sunday Express

“Sometimes novelists go too far—and sometimes they manage to demonstrate that too far is the place they needed to go.”—Time Out, UK.

"Page throws mixed up hope into a world where only fantasies and delusions dare to grow … I found myself longing for more."—Globe and Mail

“Page's writing … is lit with an immediate sense of period, summoning images which are by turns softly painterly, sharply filmic or as murky as those first television images of the moon landing.”—Times Literary Supplement

"A most impressive achievement.”—Daily Telegraph

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781927428597
  • Publisher: Biblioasis
  • Publication date: 6/10/2014
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 376,778
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathy Page is the author of seven novels, including Alphabet (a Governor General's Award finalist in 2005), The Story of My Face (longlisted for the Orange Prize in 2002), and The Find (shorlisted for the ReLit Award in 2011), as well as many short stories, previously collected in As In Music. She recently co-edited In the Flesh (2012), a collection of personal essays about the human body, and has written for television and radio. Born in the UK, Kathy has lived on Salt Spring Island since 2001. The first U.S. edition of Alphabet is scheduled for release by Biblioasis in Fall 2014.

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