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magic realism short stories

Strange Love / Romance Not For Sale – short stories

Love stories from the twilight zone…

“Standout fiction…. subtle and altogether lovely… impressionistic, quiet and very real.” – James A. Lee

Eighteen contemporary fairy tales of magic realism expose the dark, tender hearts of quirky characters seeking connection and redemption. Serving offbeat narratives, edgy realities, shifting identities, the stories blend the ironic with the erotic, nature and rural environments with the paranormal and surreal. The collection’s artful, poetic prose portrays passionate longings and missed opportunities, turning over genre expectations to see what lives beneath.

The first section, Strange Love, features nine twisty tales of thwarted romance and haunted forests, with an array of characters depraved or disappointed, accepting or ever hopeful. Plot twists in “Strange Love” are echoed in unexpected narrative loops and mergers of character. When love plays a deadly game with reality, the next move is dangerous. Yet without love’s sly magic, what moves are left?

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The companion section, Romance Not For Sale, employs more conventional storytelling to delve into that territory of the heart not amenable to formula or cliché. These nine stories of aching realism reveal the mysteries and perils of romantic promise, resolving with a philosophic perspective, a touch of irony, a way to carry on. The “fully fleshed-out, living and breathing” characters crave, and sometimes find, light in the labyrinths of the heart.

Strange Love / Romance Not For Sale removes the wrappings to unpack romantic love, dispelling illusions while modelling aesthetic resolution. Intimacy is achieved not between the characters so much as between narrator and reader, as narrative frames are twisted into heart shapes.

“Character-driven tales that make you think, and cry… fully fleshed-out characters, living and breathing.” – S. L. Saboviec (4-star review)

Many of the stories in this collection were inspired by my experiences as a teacher in the Quebec Arctic in the 1970s, and by my subsequent two decades on a “back to the land” homestead in interior British Columbia. (For more writings from that environment, see My Country: Essays and Stories From the Edge of Wilderness. Please note: half of the stories in this collection also appear in My Country, alongside 18 other stories and essays.)

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Read sample chapter: Creation

Read reviews of Rendezvous | > Interview with Nowick Gray