How to Be Alone by Heather Nolan

How to Be Alone is a book written by Heather Nolan.
The book cover with some blurry shadow figures in grey with a beige background
How to Be Alone is a short story collection by Heather Nolan. (Goose Lane Editions)

A breathtaking duet of spare, poetic novellas documenting the double-edged sword of self-acceptance.

Heather Nolan returns with How to Be Alone, a pair of novellas that depict the euphoric highs of a Queer awakening and the crushing lows of feeling Othered in a world that isn't built for you. In this short but weighty book, Nolan explores themes such as isolation, trauma, and loss against the vibrant streets of Montreal. Here, in a city famous for bringing people together, the streets serve as a palette with a different purpose: a foil for those struggling to connect with the world around them.

How to Be Alone on Boulevard Saint-Laurent follows a fragmented trail left by Kaitlin, a narrator who finds moments of astonishing absurdity and beauty in the mundane as she wanders along Boulevard Saint-Laurent. In How to Be Alone on Rue Sainte Catherine, Lev moves to the Gay Village in Montreal to escape his mother, but what he finds is not what he expected.

A writer of uncommon talent, Nolan creates characters that reveal themselves through an understated confessional — the empty spaces holding meaning as much as the worded ones. (From Goose Lane Editions)

When you can read it: Sept. 19, 2023

Heather Nolan is a neurodiverse writer from St. John's. They are the author of Land of the Rock and This is Agatha Falling, which was shortlisted for the ReLit Award and longlisted for the BMO Winterset Award. Nolan was on the longlist of the 2017 CBC Poetry Prize for Home and Native Land. Nolan was also a reader for the 2022 CBC Poetry Prize.