And Also Sharks
by Jessica Westhead
ISBN 9781770860032 | eISBN 9781770860377 | 5.25" x 8" | TPB w/ French Flaps | $21
Categories:Fiction - Literary, Fiction - Short Stories
Purchase:Local Bookstores | mcnallyrobinson.com | archambault.ca | amazon.ca | chapters.indigo.ca
Purchase ebook:kobo | Kindle
Finalist for the 2012 Danuta Gleed Literary Award
A 2011 Globe and Mail Top 100 book
One of Kobo's Best Ebooks of 2011
The forlornly funny stories in And Also Sharks celebrate the socially awkward, the insecure, the unfulfilled, and the obsessed.
A disgruntled follower of a self-esteem blog posts a rambling critical comment. On the hunt for the perfect coffee table, a pregnant woman and her husband stop to visit his terminally ill ex-wife. The office cat lady reluctantly joins her fellow employees’ crusade to cheer up their dying co-worker. A man grieving his wife’s miscarriages follows his deluded friend on a stealth photo-taking mission at the Auto Show. A shoplifter creates her own narrative with stolen anecdotes and a kidnapped baby.
In this collection, society’s misfits and losers are portrayed sympathetically, and sometimes even heroically. As desperately as these characters long to fit in, they also take pride in what sets them apart.
"The book I’m most looking forward to this spring is Jessica Westhead’s story collection And Also Sharks, a great title for her style of play ... like a patient photographer, she catches polite, anxious urbanites in hot, mumbled flashes of passion before they have a chance to notice, blush and recede into the weeds."
- The National Post, Spring Preview
"Westhead’s characterization and narrative style are compelling for the sense of ease with which they are executed. Each story is told through a mixture of second- and first-person perspective, turning the tone from contemplative and self-conscious to interactive and playful ... If you are familiar with Westhead’s writing, you know there’ll always be something that catches you off-guard ... The collection is full of just such catches, and they set off random, jarring and awkward circumstances that get played out from one blundering character to the next."
- The Globe and Mail
"Westhead's use of launguage is skilful and comic, and this collection features many well-crafted sentences timed to perfect effect ... With her penchant for supremely neurotic protagonists and thematic complexity, and her rich sense of the absurd, Westhead may have a claim to being CanLit's Woody Allen."
- Quill and Quire
"A suite of stories that are funny and uncomfortable, often at the same time ... A collection that proves, on points, that short stories are much more than just poor cousins of the novel ... Westhead is adept at providing caustically funny snapshots of lives that are twisted by loss, loneliness or boredom."
- The National Post
"With its well-crafted humanist focus and the usual Westhead confluence of charm, timing, suspense and hilarity, [And Also Sharks] could end up vying for one of the sleeper-hits-of-the season-status by the time we’re all in flip-flops."
- Open Book Toronto
"Rarely can I wrap myself tight in a text, fully engrossed. Jessica Westhead's And Also Sharks is a brilliant exception ... All at once, [Westhead] is unsettling, endearing, funny, sad, surprising and all else. In short, [this is] stunning short fiction."