From Christy Ann Conlin, the critically acclaimed and award winning author of Heave, comes a breathtaking and unforgettable collection about how the briefest moment can shape us forever.
In these evocative and startling stories, we meet people navigating the elemental forces of love, life, and death. An insomniac on Halifax’s moonlit streets. A runaway bride. A young woman accused of a brutal murder. A man who must live in exile if he is to live at all. A woman coming to terms with her eccentric childhood in a cult on the Bay of Fundy shore.
A master of North Atlantic Gothic, Christy Ann Conlin expertly navigates our conflicting self-perceptions, especially in moments of crisis. She illuminates the personality of land and ocean, charts the pull of the past on the present, and reveals the wildness inside each of us. These stories offer a gallery of both gritty and lyrical portraits, each unmasking the myth and mystery of the everyday.
CHRISTY ANN CONLIN is the author of two acclaimed novels, Heave and The Memento. She is also the author of the short fiction collection Watermark, which was a finalist for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award and the Forest of Reading Evergreen Award. Heave was a national bestseller, a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book, and a finalist for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, the Thomas H. Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, and the Dartmouth Book Award. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals including Best Canadian Stories, Brick, Geist, Room, and Numéro Cinq. Her short fiction has also been longlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and the American Short Fiction Prize. Her radio broadcast work includes co-creating and hosting CBC Fear Itself, a national summer radio series. Christy Ann studied theatre at the University of Ottawa and screenplay writing at the University of British Columbia. She was born and raised in seaside Nova Scotia, where she still resides.
PRAISE FOR CHRISTY ANN CONLIN AND WATERMARK
Finalist, Danuta Gleed Literary Award
Finalist, Forest of Reading Evergreen Award
Gold Medal, The Miramichi Reader’s “The Very Best!” Book Awards: Best Short Fiction
“Christy Ann Conlin’s stories achieve a dizzying balance of light and dark — the magical with the murderous. Over and over again, Conlin masterfully depicts the lush, somehow uncanny splendour of high summer only to chill us with a counterbalancing night world of hidden creatures and terrible human secrets. The results make for mesmerizing reading.” — Lynn Coady, author of The Antagonist and Hellgoing
“Watermark is propulsive. These linked stories are gothic dark and sparking with brilliant twists. Characters so vivid you can hear their voices, feel their pulse. Here are deep psychological fractures and betrayals, loss and longing. Adventure and abandon. Conlin’s characters are splendidly complex; they are sometimes prisoners, and sometimes breaking free. This book is a dangerous joyride.” — Lisa Moore, author of Caught and Something for Everyone
“Watermark takes us beyond mere appearances, offering intimate portraits of characters you quickly realize you only think you know. These are powerful stories that tell secrets — that are interested in, and unafraid of, all the messy details that make up a person, a life.” — Johanna Skibsrud, author of Quartet for the End of Time and The Sentimentalists
“A sometimes-mystical Gothic in which the horror arises from those closest to us … Watermark is taut, sharp writing.” — Globe and Mail
“Eerie and haunting stories.” — Toronto Star
“Conlin’s characters are fierce, lonely, dangerous, and wild. This is the best short story collection I've read in years.” — Annabel Lyon, author of Oxygen and The Golden Mean
“From the Gothic heart of the Annapolis Valley to the dreamlike shores of British Columbia, these stories sparkle with wickedness and dark beauty, reminding us again that Conlin is one of Canada’s most daring and original writers. The range and breadth of style and voice in this collection is astonishing, and her gift for the uncanny is as assured as her masterful writing. Whether it’s through the skewed vision of a heartbroken widower or the vivid delusions of an unrepentant killer, she presents a moving and uncompromising exploration of the deep undercurrents of the human psyche, and the tricks that our minds play — on ourselves and each other.” — Kerry Lee Powell, author of Willem de Kooning’s Paintbrush
“If you have faith in Flannery O’Connor’s fiction, or if you watch Werner Herzog’s films with a sense of awe, then Christy Ann Conlin’s collection of stories is for you. Equal parts lovely and loathsome, terrifying and tender, this elemental book works with the rawest of raw materials. This is honest and revealing writing from an artist at the top of her craft.” — Alexander MacLeod, author of Light Lifting
“Rich with humanity and atmosphere.” — Booklist
“These stories are deliciously discomfiting … Suspenseful excavations of family secrets, as smart as they are creepy.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Riveting, disturbing tales … Watermark has enough to fascinate and scare throughout.” — Winnipeg Free Press
“A stunning, highly novelistic collection of stories … In Watermark, Conlin, in keeping with her two previous novels, depicts richly complex characters intersecting with memory and place … Conlin’s language, concise and gorgeously vibrant, seduces readers into her detailed, empathetically imagined worlds … From its first lines, Watermark, a collection like no other, will seize your heart and refuse to let go.” — Hamilton Review of Books
“There is purpose, precision, and an incredible haunting darkness, all of which are the reasons why Watermark is such a pleasure to read from cover to cover.” — Pickle Me This
PRAISE FOR CHRISTY ANN CONLIN AND THE MEMENTO:
“Nothing short of dazzling … The dizzying speed of revelation produces, in its masterly way, the effect of what T. S. Eliot calls ‘genuine poetry.’” — Toronto Review of Books
“The Memento is a classic spine-tingler, centering on a haunted house and children hovering between evil and innocence, power and vulnerability … Conlin’s novel lingers on relationships between children and servants, children and their (often absent) parents, and elderly relatives — all within the span of one sultry, sordid summer.” — Globe and Mail
“The Memento is a novel of the uncanny, drawing together a coming-of-age story with elements of ghost stories, haunted houses, family curses, and folk tales. It’s a dizzying feat … a masterful accomplishment from a powerful writer.” — Toronto Star
“Expertly weaving gothic elements, maritime superstition, and the lingering effects of grief, The Memento is an eerie return to form — ceaselessly tense until the last page.” — The Coast
“Trust in Christy Ann Conlin. Follow the mythic thread she has expertly woven through this rich labyrinth of a novel and you will be transported. This is the work of a master storyteller operating at the height of her craft.” — Alexander MacLeod, author of Light Lifting
“In this exuberant novel, Christy Ann Conlin offers us a grab bag of gothic delights — a creaking groaning mansion, a precocious twelfth-century-born twelve-year-old, tea parties with the dead, and an unnerving number of fleeting darting “somethings” only glimpsed in the corner of your eye. Wildly imaginative.” — Caroline Adderson, author of Ellen in Pieces
PRAISE FOR CHRISTY ANN CONLIN AND HEAVE:
Finalist, Amazon.ca First Novel
Finalist, Thomas H. Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award
Finalist, Dartmouth Book Award
A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book
“Simply a marvellous book … The writing is fine, smooth, and tight. This is an honest tale of family love and hate … Heave is a powerful book. It’s hard to believe this author is just beginning. I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes next.” — Globe and Mail
“One book I will not be passing on is Nova Scotian writer Christy Ann Conlin’s marvellous first novel Heave. This book prompted a whelp of excitement from me.” — National Post
“[Conlin] has produced an extraordinary book … that won’t soon be forgotten.” — Toronto Star
“Conlin proves herself a keen observer of family life, adept at teasing out the loose ends and following them to uncover the lumps and knots in the fabric.” — Hamilton Spectator
“Highly visual and visceral prose … Right from the first line Heave is a crazy ride.” — Halifax Daily News
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