You likely already know Pamela Mulloy as the editor of The New Quarterly. She’s a fierce community-builder both through her work on the magazine and as creative director of the Wild Writers Festival. She’s also a phenomenal writer and her debut novel, The Deserters, has been described as “just about as perfect a story as you can get in under 200 pages.” When I was reading The Deserters, I found myself deeply immersed in the setting and in the characters’ lives. The claustrophobia of their situation was palpable and I found myself thinking about the book long after it ended.
Pamela grew up in Moncton, New Brunswick, and has a master of arts in studies in fiction from the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom. Her short fiction has been published in the United Kingdom and Canada; and she has been awarded the Waterloo Regional Arts Council award for fiction. Do yourself a favour and head over to Words Worth Books or your local independent bookseller and pick up a copy of her novel (and an issue of TNQ too!).
Excerpt from “The Deserters”
Hiring Dean was a start. She had to keep a hold on things. It was not just the wind whistling through the cracks, the smoking stove, the creaks and moans of a house that had survived more than a hundred winters but had been left to rot the last five. There was more to the place than that, and Michael knew it when he convinced her they should take up the place, make a go of it.
The place has ghosts, she’d told him, but he was a man who tended to see what was before him so he dismissed her, telling her the dead don’t haunt.
When Eugenie hung up the telephone she realized she’d forgotten to tell Michael about Dean. Then from the window, she watched Dean go to the fence and survey the posts, then kick them, one after another.
At least another month. Maybe two. That’s what Michael had promised.
She pulled on her jeans, threw a sweater over her head, ran a brush through her hair. Getting the fence fixed would make her feel better, she reasoned as she went downstairs. As though by mending the fence, she too would be rendered stronger.
(written by Pamela Mulloy, read by Chioke I'Anson)
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