Books·Canadian

How You Were Born

How You Were Born is Kate Cayley's first collection of short fiction.

Kate Cayley

How You Were Born is a collection of short stories looking at the bizarre, the tragi-comic and the unbelievable elements that run through our lives. An aging academic becomes convinced that he is haunted by his double. Two children believe their neighbours are war criminals in hiding. A dwarf in a circus dreams of a perfect wedding. An eleven-year-old girl becomes obsessed with the acrobat who visits her small town. Two women fall in love over a painting of the apocalypse. A group of siblings put their senile Holocaust survivor father into institutional care, while failing to notice that he is reliving the past.

Each story examines, from a different angle, the difficult business of love, loyalty and memory. With elegance and restraint, in spare language, these narratives run the gamut from realistic to uncanny, from ordinary epiphanies to extremities of experience. Settings range from present-day Toronto, to small town Ontario in 1914, to West Virginia in 1967, characters ranging from the very young to the very old, the manifestly unhinged to the ostensibly sane. These are dark stories in which light finds a foothold, and in which connections, frequently missed or mislaid, offer redemption. (From Pedlar Press)

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