Featured in Toronto Star’s Most Anticipated Books, 2024, and Quill & Quire’s Spring Preview
A tourist town folk tale of stifled ambition, love, loss, and the bird women who live beneath the lake.
Every summer the peaches ripen in Port Peter, and the tourists arrive to gorge themselves on fruit and sun. They don’t see the bird women, who cavort on the cliffs and live in a meadow beneath the lake. But when summer ends and the visitors go back home, every pregnant Port Peter girl knows what she needs to do: deliver her child to the Birds in a laundry basket on those same lakeside cliffs. But the Birds don’t want Georgia Jackson.
Twenty years on, the peaches are ripening again, the tourists have returned, and Georgia is looking for trouble with any ill-tempered man she can find. When that man turns out to be Arlo Bloom—her mother’s ex and the new priest in town—she finds herself drawn into a complicated matrix of friendship, grief, faith, sex, and love with Arlo, his wife, Felicity, and their son, Isaiah. Vivid, uncanny, and as likely cursed as touched by grace, their story is a brutal, generous tale as sticky and lush as a Port Peter peach.
Sydney Hegele (they/them) is the author of The Pump (Invisible Publishing 2021), winner of the 2022 ReLit Literary Award for Short Fiction and a finalist for the 2022 Trillium Book Award. Their essays on life with Dissociative Identity Disorder have appeared in Catapult and Electric Literature, and have been featured by Lithub, The Poetry Foundation, and Psychology Today. Their novel Bird Suit is forthcoming with Invisible Publishing in Spring 2024, and their essay collection Bad Kids is forthcoming with Invisible in Fall 2025. They live with their husband and French Bulldog on Treaty 13 Land (Toronto, Canada).
Praise for Bird Suit
“Gorgeously strange, marvelously written, bursting with peril, howling with life, Bird Suit is a splendid novel, the kind you don’t want to end, the kind that follows you (listen for the flapping) around.”—Laird Hunt, author of Zorrie and In the House in the Dark of the Woods
“Bird Suit is soft and perfumed as a peach, with a hard, brutal, and wildly strange pit at the centre. This is a special novel, in the sense that it feels like something biological and rare, found in a mossy forest, but it is of our world, however skewed it may seem, because it investigates the difficult, true things of life. Love, sex, friendship, hatred, cruelty, violence, faith. Sydney Hegele’s writing is a delight to read, and their characters are compelling and absorbing. You will love them, cry for them, and shake your fist at them. Bird Suit marks the arrival of an original, brilliant new voice.”—Richard Mirabella, author of Brother & Sister Enter the Forest
Praise for The Pump
“What a strange surprising delight this collection was… at once untenable and grotesquely beautiful.”—Heather O’Neill, author of When We Lost Our Heads
“The Pump opens the door to a haunted world that is not easily forgettable. But proceed with caution: this collection will undoubtedly get under your skin.”—Quill & Quire
“In foregrounding the queer aspects of their stories and literalizing the horror that traditionally remains metaphorical, [Hegele] has created a collection that doesn’t tug at the edges of our literary pieties so much as tear them to shreds. By contorting beloved symbols of Canada’s national literature and character into bizarre and unfamiliar shapes, [Hegele] simultaneously locates their stories within a tradition and explodes that tradition for future practitioners.”—Toronto Star