For Spooky Season, Erica McKeen reads from Tear

It’s Spooky Season and we’re featuring readings from some of our authors whose books explore the horrors and vulnerabilities of a life lived. Here, Erica McKeen reads from her novel Tear (Invisible Publishing, 2022).

Memory, experience, and imagination collapse into a dizzying narrative of grief, isolation, and illness, spanning years of a young student’s life, reaching to the depths of her inner turmoil, and the depths of her basement apartment. In prose rich with texture, Tear throbs on the page, holds one in its grip until it’s finished. McKeen writes like she can’t help it.”—Fawn Parker, author of What We Both Know, finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize

Cover: Tear, a novel written by Erica McKeen. Image features an illustrated nose and mouth against black background.

With the thematic considerations of Mary Shelley and Shirley Jackson’s work, and in the style of Herta Müller and Daisy Johnson, Tear is both a horrifyingly deformed Bildungsroman and a bristling reclamation of female rage. Blurring the real and the imagined, this lyric debut novel unflinchingly engages with contemporary feminist issues and explores the detrimental effects of false narratives, gaslighting, and manipulation on young women.

Erica McKeen was born in London, Ontario, where she studied at Western University. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, longlisted for the Guernica Prize, and shortlisted for The Malahat Review Open Season Awards. Her stories have been published in PRISM internationalfilling StationThe Dalhousie Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. Tear (Invisible Publishing) is her first novel.

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