Barrelling Forward

Barrelling Forward

Stories

Written by: Crocker, Eva

Winner of the Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction and the CAA Emerging Writer Award, Barrelling Forward is a brilliantly crafted debut collection from one contemporary fiction’s newest literary star.

Eva Crocker sees life in sharper focus than the rest of us. The objects, rituals, and scenes of everyday life take on an almost mythic quality in these stories, even while remaining intimately recognizable to us all. Crocker peers at the underbelly of poverty and work, ambition and apathy, loneliness and love, to find the sliver of beauty in each spot. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems: the boundaries between friendship and sex dissolve; power relationships are turned on their heads, if only long enough to examine them from all angles; transgressions and escapes become new kinds of traps. In “Auditioning,” a young twin makes a desperate attempt to reclaim her individuality. In “Serving,” a father and a son give parallel accounts of what it looks like when you let life eat you from the inside out. In “Star of the Sea,” a man watches his past get literally torn down before his eyes. And in the Cuffer Prize-winning “Dead Skin,” an after-school walk through the barrens leaves two boys forever changed.

In stories that ache with longing even as they pulse with new possibilities, Crocker gives us an unforgettable array of ordinary people, sometimes soaring, sometimes sinking, but always, ultimately, barrelling forward towards what’s next.

Winner of the Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction and the CAA Emerging Writer Award, Barrelling Forward is a brilliantly crafted debut collection from one contemporary fiction’s newest literary star.

Eva Crocker sees life in sharper focus than the rest of us. The objects, rituals, and scenes of everyday life take on an almost mythic quality in these stories, even while remaining intimately recognizable to us all. Crocker peers at the underbelly of poverty and work, ambition and apathy, loneliness and love, to find the sliver of beauty in each spot. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems: the boundaries between friendship and sex dissolve; power relationships are turned on their heads, if only long enough to examine them from all angles; transgressions and escapes become new kinds of traps. In “Auditioning,” a young twin makes a desperate attempt to reclaim her individuality. In “Serving,” a father and a son give parallel accounts of what it looks like when you let life eat you from the inside out. In “Star of the Sea,” a man watches his past get literally torn down before his eyes. And in the Cuffer Prize-winning “Dead Skin,” an after-school walk through the barrens leaves two boys forever changed.

In stories that ache with longing even as they pulse with new possibilities, Crocker gives us an unforgettable array of ordinary people, sometimes soaring, sometimes sinking, but always, ultimately, barrelling forward towards what’s next.

Published By House of Anansi Press Inc - Mar 18, 2017
Specifications pages | 5.25 in x 8 in
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Excerpt

Praise for Eva Crocker and Barrelling Forward:

A National Post Best Book of the Year
Winner, Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction
Winner, Canadian Authors Association Emerging Writer Award
Finalist, Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers
Finalist, NLCU Fresh Fish Award for Emerging Writers

“Eva Crocker is a remarkable stylist, her impressive stories crackle with life and originality. Barrelling Forward is a stunning debut.” — Zoe Whittall, author of The Best Kind of People

“Whether they are flipping over in a car or are at a Deep Purple concert, the characters in Barrelling Forward have no intention of accepting their narrative. Each page is filled with the mundane, steeped in awe. And underneath it all lies a strange rage. Eva Crocker is a bright new misfit in Canlit.” — Heather O’Neill, author of Daydreams of Angels

“Honest, funny, smart and so, so well-crafted, Barrelling Forward is a feast for those starving for the real thing in fiction. The ancient and peculiar mystery of intimacy — how we fit (or fail to fit) into the lives that surround us — winds its murky way through the whole collection, but each story burns with the excitement of a brand new case, completely original, and saturated with sharp detail. This is the work of a debut writer already at the top of her game. Please, Ms. Crocker, we want some more!” — Alexander MacLeod, author of Light Lifting

“[A]n intimate and fascinating read.” — This Magazine

“Suggesting Alice Munro is both high and lazy praise – an easy way to say well-set short fiction and a pretty future for Crocker in CanLit – but there’s a quality to this Newfoundland author’s work that fans of the Nobel Prize winner will recognize, if they’re willing to displace age, place and decoration accordingly. Where Munro so remarkably captures rural banality, Crocker taps a similarly enthralling mundanity in Quebec’s urban bustle and Eastern Canada’s could-be-anywhere suburban sprawls.” — National Post

“A fine and enthralling collection that will excite and seduce readers.” — Toronto Star

Barrelling Forward, is a short-story collection unique for its diverse points of view … Crocker draws us in immediately … these brief pieces resonate with the reader for a long time.” — Winnipeg Free Press

“[B]eautifully tense, packed with true-to-life richness … This is a sure-footed and promising literary introduction.” — The Telegram

Barrelling Forward comes at you in about the same way as her title would suggest: brazen, but entirely enthralling. Crocker may well be our modern Munro, or at least something close when it comes to Canada's greatest storytellers.” — National Post

Praise for Eva Crocker’s Fiction:

WINNER Cuffer Prize for Short Fiction, “Skin and Mud”
NLCU Fresh Fish Award Finalist