Inspired by the work of Alex Colville, the linked stories in K.D. Miller's Late Breaking form a suite of portraits that evoke the paintings' looming atmospheres and uncanny stillness while traveling deeply into their subjects' vividly imagined lives. Throughout, the collection bears witness to the vulnerability of the elder heart, revealing that love, sex and heartbreak are not only the domain of the young, and deftly rendering the conflicts that divide us and the ties that bind.
Husbands and wives struggle to communicate, romantic relationships flare and falter, parents and children navigate their complicated feelings, and older women struggle with diminishing status in a youth-obsessed culture while the threat of violence haunts young women and girls. Yet as the stories intersect and the characters' lives are increasingly entwined, fear, guilt, estrangement, and the fact of death are met by courage, redemption and the fragile beauty of love, in all its myriad guises. (From Biblioasis)
Late Breaking was on the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist.
Late Breaking is a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction. The winners will be announced on Oct. 29, 2019.
- See all the finalists for the 2019 Governor General's Literary Awards
- How the art of Alex Colville inspired K.D. Miller's latest short story collection
Miller's previous books include the short story collections The Other Voice and All Saints, which was a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize in 2014.
From the book
Len Sparks has started to look forward to the advice column in the Sackville Tribune-Post. Reading about the situations people get themselves into charges him up in the morning. "Idiot!" he will all but snort over his cereal. "How and why?" Crackling the paper, shaking his head, while Sister watches him with her worried beagle eyes. "How and why?"
This morning, what he reads makes him go so still and quiet that Sister comes close, needing his palm on her head to forestall a whine. A woman has written in about her impending death. Specifically, her burial. She wants to be placed in her late husband's coffin, turned on her side to face him, so that when the last trumpet sounds and they wake to the Resurrection, they will embrace each other with joy and rise together.
From The Last Trumpet in Late Breaking by K.D. Miller ©2019. Published by Biblioasis.
"In 2014, I went to the AGO [Art Gallery of Ontario]. I saw the Alex Colville exhibit there and I had a real moment. I always liked Colville, but I hadn't really thought why. I stood in the middle of the biggest dream, looking at those paintings and a phrase came into my mind. The Colville stories, the Colville stories. It was like a mantra and I suddenly knew that I had my next book. I didn't know what it was going to be like, but I knew that I was going to use those paintings as visual writing prompts and just kind of pull stories out of them.
I didn't know what it was going to be like, but I knew that I was going to use those paintings as visual writing prompts and just kind of pull stories out of them.- K.D. Miller
"I didn't have a horrible childhood and my adolescence was no more torture than most people's, I would say. I just find that, maybe because I'm a writer, that [being older is] a more contemplative time. It's a time when you can slow down and take your time reading a book or writing. It's a good place to be now. That said, I'm very lucky. I have relatively good health, good friends and I have a good life."