A story collection by award-nominated writer Andrew Forbes that rifles through the domestic and wild moments that make us human.
Escaping government-sanctioned flooding, obsessing over camera-equipped drones, violently mourning a lost brother, discovering a new passion in fencing, watching a wildfire consume a whole town: the stories in Lands and Forests survey the emotional landscapes of women and men whose lives, though rooted deeply in the land and their small communities, are still rocked by great cultural change. These are raw, honest character studies reminiscent of the work of Alexander MacLeod and Lisa Moore, but with a style and energy all their own.
Andrew Forbes was the 2019 Margaret Laurence Fellow at Trent University. His first book, the story collection What You Need, was a runner-up for the 2016 Danuta Gleed Literary Award, and was shortlisted for the 2016 Trillium Book Award. His second book, The Utility of Boredom: Baseball Essays, is currently in its fourth printing. Born in Ottawa, he spent much of his childhood in Atlantic Canada, lived in Oxford Mills, Ontario, and currently resides in Peterborough, Ontario with his wife and three children. Find him at andrewgforbes.com.
“Beautifully flawed characters negotiate tension-fuelled relationships in strangely familiar scenarios… Beyond the emotional resonance of the characters and their situations, the real draw-in is Forbes’s soft, poetic prose, which intertwines crisp imagery with creative, delicate use of language.”—Broken Pencil
“Forbes puts these dysfunctional, sad, thoughtful characters in the natural world. A lot of it feels like it takes place in Peterborough; there are kayak trips, forest fires, deserts, etc. We see the settings reflected in the characters. The settings often change the characters. It’s a really powerful book.”—Michelle Berry, Hunter Street Books
“A gift to short fiction lovers—a spare, smart, thoughtful collection.”—Open Book
“Forbes works hard to track the landscapes of the human heart in this eclectic album of stories.”—Quill & Quire
“Full of quiet tension and a cast of fully-realized characters that feel like they could step off the page, Andrew Forbes’s Lands and Forests shows us what the short story was made to do: delight us, surprise us, and prompt us to more fully recognize ourselves.”—Johanna Skibsrud, Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning author of The Sentimentalists, Quartet for the End of Time, and Tiger, Tiger
“Warning: There are floods and fires in here. And life and death struggles. And long journeys. And near misses. The weather, like love, is always uncertain. But there is no need to fear. Andrew Forbes will get us through. He knows the way. These stories are elemental, wise, and beautiful.”—Alexander MacLeod, Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated author of Light Lifting
“In this superbly stark, brooding collection, disillusioned men and women struggle along, the potential for grandeur in their futures long since faded. And yet there is still awe amid their resignation—for the beauty in the world, and sometimes for each other. With Lands and Forests, Andrew Forbes digs beneath stunning, wild landscapes to find all of the unhappiness buried there, unearthing life’s cruel disappointments and splaying them out on the dirt one by one. These are bleak, sharp, ruthless stories, and I loved them.”—Jessica Westhead, author of Things Not to Do and And Also Sharks
“This is a breath taking collection—in that it is literally hard to breathe while you read these stories, such is their power, insight, and ability to expertly mine the secret vein of sorrow that runs below every ordinary, extraordinary life. Forbes’ stories manage to be gritty and elegant at the same time, rendered with Munro-esque mastery and restraint.”—Grace O’Connell, author of Be Ready for the Lightning and Magnified World