The city of Fontainebleau, situated on the banks of the Detroit River, is undergoing growing pains and strange things are happening. There's something poisonous in the water, something menacing in the sky and the soil, laced with an ancient curse, is yielding up unidentified bones along with corn. In this collection of linked stories (part surreal picaresque, part dark comedy, and part murder mystery) magic meets the mundane as misfits and miscreants struggle to free themselves from untenable situations. A girl with mermaid syndrome disappears into a field, a fugitive boy dreams of finding anonymity in Toronto while his abandoned pregnant girlfriend hallucinates his second coming, and a nostalgic chambermaid finds her memories vanish when she puts on a stranger's wig. There's a rash of killings in the city that attract a lovesick police officer. No one knows who's responsible for the crimes, but the city has plenty of candidates, like the crazy son of a judge who murdered a man in Disney World and the grieving vandal who's obsessed with the idea of cutting a woman in half. Then there are the abusive husbands, snuff film producers, inconspicuous con women, and pederasts who live secret double lives. Are the characters in this oddly probable world masters or victims of their own fate? How do their lives intersect? Is it likely that destruction will ultimately prevail over this desolate land or will consciousness, like a flaming firebird, lead at least some of the city's inhabitants to self-acceptance, redemption or escape? (From Anvil Press)
Madeline Sonik is a writer and teacher from Victoria. Her essay collection Afflictions & Departures was a finalist for the Taylor Prize. Her other books include the poetry collection Stone Sightings, the novel Arms and the short story collection Drying the Bones.