Setting Fire to Water

Setting Fire to Water

by Phoebe Tsang
Setting Fire to Water

Setting Fire to Water

by Phoebe Tsang


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Shifting restlessly from dark to light and back again, written in lithe, precise prose, the stories in Phoebe Tsang's Setting Fire to Water illuminate the lives of those who exist inside otherness. A young Asian woman, an artistic over-achiever turned drifter, endures a mind-bending night of reckoning as she struggles to find her way "home," careening between flirtation and thievery, dream and memory. A reality TV star obsesses about the real stain that blemishes the set of her fake, made-for-TV life. A modern fairytale is told from the point of view of a fox having an argument with its enemy, hunger. A heart-broken accountant goes on a pilgrimage to India to get his fire back, and his attempt to ask for mercy from the most holy of rivers fizzles like his former fiancée's tepid devotion. These seventeen stories unfold outside the Canadian mainstream, where longing—for home, for love, for artistic achievement, for spiritual fulfillment—is a given, and acceptance—of self, of the knowability of others, of the limits to knowing—is always in question. Using unconventional storylines and slippages in time and space, these stories explore the mystical possibilities inherent in contemporary life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781771872195
Publisher: Thistledown Press, Limited
Publication date: 05/30/2022
Pages: 220
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Phoebe Tsang is a Hong Kong-born Chinese, British, and Canadian poet, author, librettist, and playwright who makes her home in Toronto. She has published a poetry collection, Contents of a Mermaid's Purse (Tightrope Books, 2009), and her short stories have appeared in Geist, Broken Pencil Magazine, Litro Magazine, Rivet Journal, Asia Literary Review, The Bombay Review, and other places. Her writing is informed by lyricism and rhythmic sense, inherited from her background as a professional classical violinist. Setting Fire to Water is her debut collection of stories.

Table of Contents

A Buddhist Nativity 9

1 Hunger 13

2 Imaginary Solutions 25

3 The Real Macaron 33

4 System Down 43

5 Parlour 55

6 The Stain 71

7 Nights in Arcadia 81

8 Breathe Now 103

9 Words and Colour 119

10 Legacy 125

11 Vintage Chanel and a Paper Fan 135

12 Night Watch 145

13 Visions of Sophia 149

14 The Truth About Aging 161

15 Model Shown Is Actual Size 165

16 Quartet for a New Generation 181

17 Setting Fire to Water 213

Acknowledgements 227

About the Author 229

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