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Ampersand F21 UTP Special Omnibus ON & QC

Chemical Valley
By (author): David Huebert
David Huebert





Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


General Trade
Oct 19, 2021
$22.95 CAD


8in x 5 x 0.42 in | 280 gr
FICTION / Nature & the Environment
Fiction: general and literary|Short stories
Oil-soaked and swamp-born, the bruised optimism of Huebert’s stories offer sincere appreciation of the beauty of our wilted, wheezing world. 

From city-dwelling preppers to long term care nurses, dishwashers to professional hockey enforcers to refinery workers, Chemical Valley’s caring and carefully-wrought stories cultivate rich human emotional worlds in all the dankness of our bio-chemical animacy. Full-hearted, laced throughout with bruised optimism and a sincere appreciation of the profound beauty of our wilted, wheezing world, Chemical Valley does not shy away from urgent modern questions—the distribution of toxicity, environmental racism, the future of technology, the climate, and the human body—but it grounds these anxieties in vivid and often humorous intricacies of its characters’ lives. These are stories about big questions, but they are not scared of sentiment. Swamp-wrought, they run wild with vital energy, tilt and teeter into crazed and delirious loves.

  • Contemporary issues: climate crisis, social justice, 21st century alienation. The characters in these stories are struggling with feelings of dislocation and exile from their natural and social worlds: a man struggling to care for the environment and his dying girlfriend while still working at a power plant that's poluting his city,
  • Genre: Huebert's stories engage with the ecological world in surprising ways, expressing wonder at the world around us, dismay at its destruction, and using that world as a metaphor for humanity's own floundering, a new genre of ecological/climate fiction he conceives of as 'dirty nature writing'
  • Huebert is one of Canada's most exciting younger generation writers across multiple genres. He has been a finalist for the 2020 Journey Prize, winner of the CBC Short Story Contest, and winner of the Walrus Poetry Contest

David Huebert’s writing has won the CBC Short Story Prize, The Walrus Poetry Prize, and was a finalist for the 2020 Journey Prize. David’s fiction debut, Peninsula Sinking, won a Dartmouth Book Award, was shortlisted for the Alistair MacLeod Short Fiction Prize, and was runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. David’s work has been published in magazines such as The Walrus, Maisonneuve, enRoute, and Canadian Notes & Queries, and anthologized in Best Canadian Stories and The Journey Prize Stories. David teaches literature and creative writing at The University of New Brunswick.

  • Print run: 5,000 copies
  • Co-op available
  • Advance reader copies
  • Edelweiss digital review copies
  • National TV & radio campaign
  • National print media campaign
  • Online and social media campaign
  • E-book available at same time as print edition
  • Virtual launch and festival appearances
  • Excerpts and interviews in Lit Hub, Orion, Mother Jones,

For more information contact
[email protected]

Praise for Chemical Valley

"In this courageous collection, David Huebert holds little back as he weaves superbly crafted stories of the dark, difficult, and gritty reality of being human. Whether it be the destructive impact we have on our environment, each other, or ourselves, Huebert tackles this challenge with intelligence and compassion, both in his language and style, and in the empathy with which he portrays the human experience. The intertwining of ugliness, beauty, metallic cold and human warmth, and destruction and hope, creates a visceral, hopeful, and rewarding experience for the reader."—Alistair MacLeod Prize Jury Statement

"Huebert’s uncanny facility for spinning densely poetic fiction out of the tawdry horror of twenty-first-century life has made him one of the most captivating authors of the past decade."Literary Review of Canada

"Huebert has a razor-sharp wit and an exacting eye for human foibles ... A masterful assemblage of environmentally minded tales."—Kirkus

"Huebert’s prose shines, frequently catching the reader off guard with startling but memorable turns of phrase and delirious imaginative leaps. And while the manic energy, eccentric humour and wry observations on life and love keep us entertained, the book’s rich emotional core draws us in, touching us at the most profound level."—Miramichi Reader

"Huebert is a gifted short story writer. His characters do contain multitudes, each story a set of worlds. Collectively, they reflect our times, and help us contemplate the most dire of threats to our singular habitable planet."—Atlantic Books Today

"[A] masterful exploration of dirty nature writing ... Chemical Valley’s stories, for all their dystopian demons, are balanced by Huebert’s insistence on penning his characters with an empathetic hand. His gaze may be harsh, like the reality we inhabit, but his love for his fellow man, and our desperate desire for connection, is unwavering."—Hamilton Arts & Letters

"Huebert's stories feel polished, elevated and expansive. Their intensity invites readers to reread, whether out of necessity or enduring curiosity ... Huebert digs deep, things get messy, and there's often a glitter of unanticipated discovery in the recesses of his stories—but only for the potential to illuminate another layer of darkness."—Marcie McCauley, Event

"Thought-provoking, smart, and frighteningly surreal, David Huebert’s Chemical Valley is a brilliantly crafted collection of short stories that confront the violence of human nature in the natural world."—The Farside Review

"Huebert works to create a world that seems almost futuristic then slowly reveals that he speaks of now and how our choices are destroying our health and our planet. He makes us feel the emotional side of well-developed characters as they face the world in fear and wonder."—bUneke Magazine

“David Huebert’s short stories explore environmental dread and creeping climate chaos, but also the power of love and community in a damaged world.”—Laura Lynch, CBC What on Earth

"The characters in ... Chemical Valley live in a world that has been molded and shaped by neoliberalism and the oil industry ... It’s a situation that could easily elicit nihilism, doom, and mourning—a kind of eco-grief—and yet, the various stories in this collection strive and yearn towards a sublime toxicity that finds beauty amidst the debris, and accordingly, in the lives of its inhabitants."PRISM International

"The stories are varied, featuring oil refinery workers, teenage climate activists, long-term care nurses, and more, showing the issues and intricacies of their lives in lush detail. The grim explorations of wealth inequality, illness, and bereavement are counterbalanced by the rich and lyrical prose, providing heartfelt insights into today’s damaged world and the individuals who inhabit it."—ZYZZYVA

"Chemical Valley is full of stories that are beautiful, gross, depressing and uplifting all at once. Through the use of dazzling language and complex characters, this deeply thoughtful collection will truly get you thinking."—Dalhousie Gazette

"[D]ark, disturbing, excellent ... As a result of [Huebert's] poetic literary powers, I found myself mesmerized by the words and stories in this book, despite the grim contents. Or, even, because of them."Consumed By Ink

"Chemical Valley—both in terms of its storytelling and presentation—shines on just about every meaningful level."—Always A Critic

"By delving into the lives of a range of characters, feral hockey players, grieving shift-workers, and love-sick teenagers, Huebert asks an urgent question—how to survive in a world that values chemicals and capitalism over human life? Lively, affecting, tragic, careful, and shot-through with humor, the stories seeped under my skin. I won't forget them any time soon."—Claire Cameron, author of The Last Neanderthal

“These stories are a making and unmaking, a feeling into the world and then a kind of visceral wrenching so that all that is or was once living unwinds and flashes of story break free—binding the reader into the flesh of a burdened earth, still breathing. An ecstatic surrender of beloved flesh, and dream, and carbon beings through geological and human (altered) time. Huebert tinkers human time across industrial effigies that make and break and will one day also be broken—a dream not yet quite dreamt, but this work is part of the dreaming. This collection is, in Huebert’s own exquisite play of words, ‘beautiful and polluted, toxic and sublime.’”—Angélique Lalonde, author of Glorious Frazzled Beings

“Visceral, intelligent, and original, David Huebert’s Chemical Valley displays a deep empathy and understanding of human relationships and a profound concern for our world. I was struck by how Huebert can take the grittiest of subject matter and turn it beautiful with his lyrical, alchemical prose. The stories in this collection are saturated with imagery and full of exquisite, textured language: this is the kind of writing that deserves to be read closely.”—Shashi Bhat, author of The Most Precious Substance on Earth

Praise for David Huebert

"In David Huebert’s 'Chemical Valley,' the narrator’s remarkable voice is laced with dark humour while displaying a tremendous depth of feeling as he cares for his dying partner and navigates a dangerous workplace replete with unpleasant coworkers. This is a complex story about love, death, and grief set in a contemporary Canadian community plagued by petrochemical-induced diseases and environmental ruin. The attention to language is so meticulous that tragedy is imbued with an aura of beauty. Each exquisite sentence in 'Chemical Valley' produces a sense of wonderment as the narrative crescendos to its harrowing conclusion."— 2020 Journey Prize Jury statement

"A paean to intimacy and to things rarely seen, 'Enigma' is an eloquent meditation on the mystery of life and death, love and grief, both human and animal. This is a vivid personal narrative of remarkable spiritual and emotional grace." —2016 CBC Prize jury statement (

"David Huebert’s short story collection, Peninsula Sinking brings all of the beauty, grace and heartbreak that the form excels at and then rattles you with its imagery."—The East Magazine

"A sense of wonderment penetrates the everyday lives of characters from the Maritimes in this well-crafted, compelling collection that displays a mastery of classical short-story structure and technique. Huebert’s vibrant language juxtaposes tough characters with tender preoccupations, creating narratives that are unsettling and mesmerizing, making ordinary moments in relationships thrilling and dangerous."—2017 Danuta Gleed Jury

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Peninsula Sinking David Huebert 9781771961929 $19.95 CAD Oct 24, 2017

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