The Dark and Other Love Stories

Publisher: Hamish Hamilton
Energized, irreverent, novelistic stories full of longing, strange humour, and the complications of human entanglement from Governor General’s Award nominee Deborah Willis


The characters in these thirteen masterful and engaging stories exist on the edge of danger, where landscapes melt into dreamscapes and every house is haunted. A drug dealer’s girlfriend signs up for the first manned mission to Mars. A girl falls in love with a man who wants to turn her into a bird. A teenage girl and her best friend test their relationship by breaking into suburban houses. A wife finds a gaping hole in the floor of the home she shares with her husband, a hole that only she can see. Full of longing and strange humour, these subtle, complex stories—about the love between a man and his pet crow, an alcoholic and his AA sponsor, a mute migrant and a newspaper reporter—show how love ties us to one another and to the world. The Dark and Other Love Stories announces the emergence of a wonderfully gifted storyteller whose stories enlarge our perceptions about the human capacity to love.

READ AN EXCERPT

She got a boyfriend, which surprised her—
she hadn’t realized she wanted one. He was a mill boy she met while sitting by herself at the marina’s outdoor restaurant, waiting for her steak dinner. She’d learned this from her mother: a good way to meet people was to take yourself out for...
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PRAISE FOR

“Willis is an immensely talented writer, and her new collection is a thing of beauty: sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes funny, always sharply observed, elegant and incisive.” —Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven

"Willis’s fiction comes complete with a seal of approval from Munro herself. The similarities are certainly evident: Both writers are concerned with matters of the heart, and more specifically those moments in which the heart betrays its owner." —The Globe and Mail

“The Dark and Other Love Stories is a kaleidoscopic, dazzling meditation on the switchback nature of love. Deborah Willis examines every side of love, dark and light, past and present, with precision, fierceness, honesty, and sensitivity. Who do we choose to love, and who do we choose to leave behind?  That question haunts the thirteen stories of this magnificent collection.  Every story is ultimately a love story, Willis reminds us, even and especially the strange, wondrous stories of our own lives.” —Marjorie Celona, author of Y

“strange, beautiful, and sometimes a bit frightening — just like real life.” Times Colonist

“The Dark and Other Love Stories
is a bright, adventurous and lively collection. Deborah Willis seems to be able to go anywhere and do anything, taking the reader from the Ukraine to Mars. Beautifully told and strangely moving, these stories made the world seem like a slightly different and much more interesting place after I had read them.” —Kevin Canty, author of Everything and The Underworld
 
“The Dark and Other Love Stories
is an exhilarating book—funny and fearless, empathetic and sharp—and Deborah Willis is a dazzlingly smart and strikingly original writer. I didn't want this book to end.” —Molly Antopol, Author of The UnAmericans

“These are stories that I marvel at as a writer. From a reality show on Mars to post-Cold War Russia—the book has been meticulously researched. Yet the stories are not weighted by that labour—they're enlivened, made real. Truly the most impressive collection I've read in a long time.” —Eliza Robertson, Author of Wallflowers

“These poignant, sharply-observed stories examine love in its many guises. A marvelous collection." —Kirsten Valdez Quade, Author of Night at the Fiestas

“The emotional range and depth of [Willis’s stories], the clarity and deftness is astonishing.” —Alice Munro

“This is a fully mature, beautiful realized collection. Indeed, in this dazzling suite of stories, Willis cements her rightful claim as a major new voice in Canadian fiction.” —The Toronto Star

"Willis’s subtle machinations are masked by her urgent and propulsive prose." —Quill & Quire