“It is the part that is missing that I am drawn to, that I try to pin down. My gaze is always divided by what is here and what is no longer here. That, for me, is where the deepest pleasure lies, where the sweet overcomes the bitter.”
A couple coping with a recent loss are tasked with taking stock of a late biology enthusiast’s hoard. A support worker dedicated to rehabilitating young women suffering from, among other things, a certain unexpected effect of the climate apocalypse faces a truth that shatters the illusion separating her work and her personal life. An archaeologist formerly working in Syria struggles with her decision to flee from unrest, while the people she has left behind face an uncertain fate.
In Jennifer Falkner’s richly imagined first collection, past and present glancingly converge, making the familiar outlines of myth, history, and everyday life seem suddenly strange. With spare, elegant prose, Falkner introduces the reader to those whose narratives are written in the language of empty space. Above Discovery is a stunning debut collection from an author to watch.
Jennifer Falkner lives in Ottawa, on the traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabeg First Nation. She has degrees in ancient history, and currently works as a library technician. Her stories have won the HWA/Dorothy Dunnett Short Story competition, the Retreat West Short Story Contest, and the Little Bird Short Story Contest. She is the author of the novella Susanna Hall, Her Book, inspired by the life of Shakespeare’s daughter. Find out more at www.jenniferfalkner.ca.
“Falkner’s stories are dark, transportive, and intimately detailed character studies. Her expansive interest in history is apparent, ingrained in the minutiae of each fiction [wherein] looking backward, the constraints of the past are unexpectedly and undeniably revealed as intertwined with those of the present. …[An] exciting debut from Falkner.”—Quill & Quire, Starred Review
“The twelve exquisite, elegant stories that make up Above Discovery navigate the liminal territory between reality and dream, life and death, the past and the present in a way that feels utterly fresh and enchanting.…[A] literary performance that soars.”—Steven W. Beattie, Toronto Star
“Above Discovery is Jennifer Falkner’s debut collection, but being a first-timer didn’t hold Falkner back in the least: epic, far-ranging, and filled with lavishly imagined tales, these stories are complex and unflinching, obsessed with history, myth, geography, the climate, and the inequalities and strangeness inhabited in those subjects[:] work and labour, loss and connection.”—Open Book
“[A] thoroughly riveting set of stories, impressive in breadth of topic and style. Falkner’s debut collection is one to read, and one to watch.”—The Miramichi Reader
“Jen Falkner’s stories bring us not only into wondrous worlds, but deep into vivid and fascinating lives. It isn’t often that a collection invites you into its stories so completely that you come to inhabit its characters, but that’s exactly what’s on offer in Above Discovery. We as readers are enthralled, challenged, and implicated. This book is one to savour, and Jen Falkner is a writer to watch.”
—Andrew Forbes, author of The Utility of Boredom and Lands and Forests
“Elegant and atmospheric. Falkner’s beautiful writing puts her readers right in her characters’ worlds and heads. … I recommend treating this collection like a box of chocolates: read just one per day and savor it.”—Historical Novel Society