Upcoming Event: Esplanade Spring Launch

Join us tonight, Wednesday, May 6 at 7 p.m. to celebrate new titles from Esplanade Books (fiction imprint of Véhicule Press)! Featuring Anita Anand, author of Swing in the House and Other Stories and Andy Sinclair, author of Breathing Lessons, as well as Christine Fischer Guy whose book The Umbrella Mender is published by Wolsak and Wynn. The evening will be hosted by Esplanade editor Dimitri Nasrallah.

Swing in the House paints an utterly contemporary portrait of Canadian families in their most private moments. Anand pulls back the curtains to reveal the unspoken complexities within the modern home, from sibling rivalries to fracturing marriages, casual racism to damaged egos, hidden homosexuality to mental illness. Each of these stories offers a deftly-constructed morality play. In the novella-length title story, a young mother timidly explores the possibilities of an affair to alleviate the suffocation of a loveless marriage, to detrimental effect. In “Indelible Markers,” a girl vacationing in Greece learns that growing up with a schizophrenic father has affected her relationships with men. In “Something Steady,” a lonely, mentally challenged teen vents his anger on a co-worker’s boyfriend. Throughout, Anand’s incisive intelligence, sharp prose, and sly wit infuse dark undercurrents into these seventeen cautionary tales.

These stories are full of undercurrents that disturb the surface, and these disturbances, in their turn, dazzle as they reflect light. Anita Anand is a sensitive observer of human behaviour and, because she is unafraid to explore difficult emotions, her stories reveal–in broad strokes and subtle shadings–glimpses of truth. –Elise Moser, author of Lily and Taylor and Because I Have Loved and Hidden It

This is a wise, assured and wonderfully intelligent collection that announces the arrival of an exciting new talent. –Dennis Bock

Anita Anand was born in Montreal. She moved back and forth between her hometown and such places as the Bronx; Bedfordshire, England; and Richmond, B.C. In every neighbourhood where she has lived, she has been the only person her age of Indian origin. Her writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Frostwriting and the Louisiana Review. This is her first book.

A bold and explicit debut novel by one of the most visceral new voices in gay fiction, Andy Sinclair's Breathing Lessons is the story of Henry Moss, a homosexual everyman whose life knows none of the limitations or abuses his predecessors experienced. 

When a teenaged Henry came out to his mother, she worried only that he’d be lonely. At the time, he thought her concerns were old-fashioned. Two decades later, he’s had supportive family and friends, he’s well-liked by the athletes who train with him, trusted in his professional life, parties whenever he pleases, and performs all manner of sexual acts with whomever he wants. But as he gets older and, increasingly, the men he sleeps with are married, Henry finds that his mother may have been right. Can he find the lasting intimacy he craves in his life amidst the equal-opportunity freedom afforded by his generation’s openness? Learning to navigate between the two is as delicate as learning to breathe again.

Readers will recognize themselves in these scenes, even when they least want to. I’m not exaggerating when I say that, with Breathing Lessons,Andy Sinclair is doing something no other Canadian writer has done,possibly something no other Canadian writer has dared to do. –Angie Abdou, author of The Bone Cage

Andy Sinclair was born in Cowansville, Quebec and grew up in North Bay, Ontario. He now lives in Toronto. His work has appeared in fab, The Moose & Pussy, The Globe and Mail, and Dragnet Magazine. Breathing Lessons is his first book.

In her haunting debut novel, The Umbrella Mender, Christine Fischer Guy transports us to 1950s Moose Factory, where the beleaguered staff of the local hospital are fighting to stem the tide of tuberculosis among the indigenous peoples of the North. At the heart of the novel is Hazel MacPherson, a promising young nurse who finds herself increasingly drawn to the surrounding wilderness, made manifest in the person of a troubled drifter.

Like her heroine, Fischer Guy is equally at home within the walls of the hospital and without. In language rich with sensual detail, she brings Hazel’s dualized experience into sharp focus, evoking the ghostly beauty of an X-ray one moment, the living presence of the Moose River the next. The Umbrella Mender is a gorgeous book— a moving meditation on human frailty, a sensitive portrait of conflicting cultures brought together in an uneasy truce, and a heartbreaking tale of unsanctioned love.— Alissa York, author of Fauna and Effigy

The evocative setting of a TB hospital in remote Moose Factory, a passionate and clandestine love affair, and the irresistible voice of intrepid nurse Hazel join forces to make The Umbrella Mender an absolutely compelling read from start to finish.— Miriam Toews, author of All My Puny Sorrows and A Complicated Kindness

Christine Fischer Guy’s fiction has appeared in Descant, Prairie Fire and Grimm, and has been nominated for the Journey Prize. She reviews fiction for the Globe and Mail and contributes to Ryeberg.com. Her debut novel, The Umbrella Mender, has been excerpted in the summer 2012 issue of Descant and the Spring 2013 issue of Ars Medica. She is also a journalist whose work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Eighteen Bridges, Toronto Life and Reader's Digest, among others. She won silver at the National Magazine Awards for her Eighteen Bridges profile of a Métis blogger. She has been teaching writing in various forms since she earned her MA in 1990 and is currently teaching creative writing at the School for Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto. She has lived and worked in London, England, and now lives in Toronto.

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