Books & Writing

That Tiny Life by Erin Frances Fisher
House of Anansi Press | Amazon | Munro’s

THAT TINY LIFE was a finalist for the 2019 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and runner-up in the 2018 Danuta Gleed Literary Award.

In settings that range from the old American West to pre-revolutionary France, from a present-day dig site in the high tablelands of South America to deep space, That Tiny Life is a wide-ranging and utterly original collection of short fiction and a novella that examines the idea of progress — humanity’s never-ending cycle of creation and destruction.

Praise for Erin Frances Fisher’s That Tiny Life:

“That Tiny Life by Erin Frances Fisher is a book built of exquisite details. They all demand to be looked at under the microscope of Fisher’s penetrating and irresistible prose. And when examined, the meaning is so stunning, you are enraptured by the grand themes tackled in each story. The juxtaposition of small and large, nature and science, cowboys and space travelers renders the reading experience of this book startling and exhilarating, making you rejoice in the perplex mystery of your own tiny life.”

—Jury comments by Heather O’Neill, Ayelet Tsabari, and Richard Van Camp for the 2018 Danuta Gleed Literary Award

“Moving with ease from seventeenth century France to the American wild west to the outer edges of space, these stories are limitless and filled with a complicated wonder. That Tiny Life is a book of startling reach and ambition. An extraordinary debut.”
—Steven Price, author of By Gaslight

“Grim and riveting, Erin Frances Fisher’s stylistic virtuosity in these six dexterously crafted tales is by turns macabre and blackly funny. Characters search for absolution, miss, struggle for, and sometimes make their connections. We root for their negotiations of the morbid topography of change. The harshness and magnificence of That Tiny Life is seen through a lens intensely magnified by the brevity and transience of existence. Anyone interested in the human condition will appreciate this book.”
—Yasuko Thanh, author of Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains

“Readers of this extraordinary collection will be taken by the scope and range of the stories. By the precision of craft and visceral detail. The true inhabiting of bodies, in the characters, the creatures, and also in the natural world as a body beyond. But what truly separates Fisher’s prose is the heart, the blood, the guts, the all of it, that drive this book, as a body. It seems so distinct in parts, but runs together with a singular, unifying force that very few writers could muster. It is a collection that thrums with that undeniable heart and energy, no matter where the stories land or lead.”
—Kevin Hardcastle, author of In the Cage

“Every time I opened this book I expected to find clumps of feather or rabbit fur or grit from one of Saturn’s moons. Erin Frances Fisher evokes place and wildness like no other. In these stories, you’ll find cowboys, space nomads, and a menagerie of beasts—all united by Fisher’s dogged prose and a thematic undercurrent of exile. That Tiny Life is a bold, impressive collection.”
—Eliza Robertson, author of Demi-Gods

Praise for Stories:

A visceral tale guaranteed to make you shiver, “Girl” reminds us of the truth that humans are more than blood and bone. With a surprising and perfect ending, flawless sentences throughout, and a consistently realistic tone, this short story is as vast and satisfying as a great novel. Erin Frances Fisher is a writer you will see again. – Michelle Berry, Diane Schoemperlen, and Tanis Rideout (2014 Writers’ Trust of Canada RBC Brownen Wallace Jury)

The entire story is crafted as tightly as an enduring poem, and is full of fuse-like sentences that fizz and explode in unexpected places. – John K. Samson (PRISM 49:4)

She has a knack for choosing the right word, the right metaphor, the right structure, the right line of dialogue. This prize is the literary equivalent of a warning shot over the bow of the establishment. It won’t be the last time you read her name —trust me, I’ve seen what she’s got coming next. – Matthew Hooton (The Ring)

(Apiculture) is a deceptively ambitious story, anchored with details and threaded with the bewildered hope of late childhood. I look forward to more from this writer. – Padma Viswanathan (The Malahat Review)

With gentle humour belying heart-rending scenes, this story is sweet as honey yet stings like a bee. – The Malahat Review, Malahate Lite April 2012