5 Books that Explore Identity & Intimacy

5 Books that Explore Identity and Intimacy

These five books delve into how our identities and intimate relationships are formed and revisited, in friendships, tragedy, bereavement, and vindication.

Glass Beads by Dawn Dumont (Thistledown Press): These interconnected stories feature the friendships of four First Nations people against the cultural, political, and historical backdrop of the 90s and early 2000s. Through family catastrophes, travel to Mexico, and the aftermath of the great tragedy of 9/11, readers are intimately connected with each struggle: racism, isolation, cultural identity or repairing early childhood wounds.

Plaza Requiem by Martha Bátiz (Exile Editions): The characters in this collection are most often women trapped in violent relationships, facing dangerous political situations or learning to live with the pain of betrayal. Yet Bátiz’s stories shimmer with the emotional surge of vindication, evoking the rewards women attain after a powerful exploration of their darkest moments.

How to Get Along with Women by Elisabeth de Mariaffi (Invisible Publishing): Longlisted for the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and infused with a close and present danger, these stories tighten the knot around power, identity, and sexuality, and draw the reader into the pivotal moments where—for better or for worse—we see ourselves for what we truly are.

Canary by Nancy Jo Cullen (Biblioasis): An ALA 2014 Over the Rainbow Selection. Working-class, a little queer, and a lot funny, Cullen’s characters-from the hymn-singing Catholic merch salesman to the young lez, hitching rides beside a born-again pile of ashes-encounter the killer decisions that will invisibly, quietly, and quirkily shape our lives.

The Divinity Gene by Matthew Trafford (Douglas & McIntyre): Shortlisted for the 2011 Frank O’Connor Short Story Award, the world’s richest short story prize, this collection bristles with humour, pathos and imaginative power. Caught in the crosshairs of faith and science, its characters—bereaved, sidelined, cast adrift—journey forth to the undiscovered places, in search of something to believe in, someone to love, always with disarming results.

While we have you here, this fall (November 2018), Invisible will publish This Keeps Happening, the debut short story collection from H.B. Hogan. Quill & Quire chose it as one of ten short story collections featured as part of their 2018 fall preview! The stories in This Keeps Happening sizzle like butter on hot cast iron—they’re rich and dark and full of scrappy, sordid and sparkling humanity. Pre-order it now!

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