Ian Thomas Shaw wrote about my near future YA novella Mountain in ORB, the Ottawa Review of Books. His second novel, Quill of the Dove was recently released by Guernica.
The beauty of Pflug’s writing is her ability to deliver a narrative which juxtaposes the consumer-driven frivolity of teenagers with their vulnerabilities to harm caused by adults around them. In an age where abuse of any kind is decried in very public spaces with strident calls for draconian measures, Mountain is about healing, not punishment. And in it, we are directed to the importance of victims helping other victims to heal.
There are few writers who can draw their readers into the personae of their characters as eloquently as Ursula Pflug. Mountain is a novel that leaves no room for detached bystanders. It sweeps you up and infuses you with the emotions of its young protagonist and in the end, leaves you enmeshed in her sorrow.
Read more here.
My son Edward Back created a beautiful video/book trailer for Mountain. Edward has worked with internationally known artists and authors including Doug Back, Dorothy Caldwell and more.
Watch the video here.
Jim Fisher wrote about this year’s release, the fantasy novella Down From in The Miramichi Reader.
A story that may seem strange at first, Down From slowly coalesces into a narrative on dreams, alternate realities and even ecology, for Sandrine knows (and rants about) the ways we are slowly destroying this world (don’t get her started on fluoridation, or Aspartame!). A very different read to be sure, but one can easily sympathize with Sandrine and Vienna for the losses they have suffered and the burdens that they carry. Worth a look!A story that may seem strange at first, Down From slowly coalesces into a narrative on dreams, alternate realities and even ecology, for Sandrine knows (and rants about) the ways we are slowly destroying this world (don’t get her started on fluoridation, or Aspartame!). A very different read to be sure, but one can easily sympathize with Sandrine and Vienna for the losses they have suffered and the burdens that they carry. Worth a look!
Read more here.
Also, if you’re interested in buying the book, please purchase it through the Amazon link on this page or The Miramichi Reader page. It’s a way to support authors and reviewers. Alternatively, order it through your neighbourhood bookstore. These are a few of the ways you can support a robust literary community, and we all appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Down From was also recently reviewed by Djibril al-Ayad in The Future Fire.
Down From is the shortish (a little over 20,000 words, I guess), dreamlike, fabulist fifth novel by Ursula Pflug, published by Snuggly Books, purveyors of bite-sized experimental and neo-decadent fiction. This is a classic unreliable narrator story, offering themes of uncertain memory, revelation, magic and reality, and featuring a viewpoint character who is uncertain about her own history, relationship with the thinly sketched secondary characters, and even which world she is in. The first half of the book unsettles with missing memories, shifting character names, stilted conversations—putting us firmly into the mindset of the discombobulated Sandrine. The second half changes both direction and pace, giving us a quite different story than we may have been expecting, albeit no less fabulist and semi-realist, and leaves as many new mysteries as we started with. After a slow start, this book rewards the faithful reader, especially if they love magic, uncertainty, fierce and unapologetic women, and stories within stories (and art within art)…
…This whole story plays with concepts of magic and reality: features such as the invisible mountain, mind-reading, parallel worlds and witchcraft are—in fabulist fashion—taken for granted by the characters, shaking the reader’s temptation to interpret these as symptoms of (or metaphors for) Sandrine’s amnesia and confusion. In the second half of the book, the narrative throws a fairly major viewpoint shift at us; it’s a credit to the subtlety of the writing that this is more obvious in retrospect than it is in medias res. The latter part of the novella then feels more impactful, with less of the uncertainty and artisanal awkwardness of the opening scenes, as Sandrine reconnects with her best friend Vienna (who briefly becomes the first person narrator), and the context and tone of the story both shift fairly drastically. Although most of the mysteries the story opens with are never fully explained, and new mysteries both practical and metaphysical appear, the story ends with a satisfying—albeit intriguing—dénouement.
As with many semi-realist/fabulist stories, Down From is not in any sense a narrative with a traditional arc, quest, character development or easily relatable characters, but none of these is the point of the story. It is full of risky topoi: characters waking from dreams, expository dialogue, stories within stories, but in every case the craft carries it through. This is a very poetic book, full of ekphrasis (one of my favourite images is Vienna’s twig-and-garbage-string spider webs), extended parable, ghosts of past, future or parallel lives, and the odd piece of beautiful nonsense. It is very hard to write this review in a way that would make me pick up this book, but it is a wonderful, and short, read, so if I haven’t managed to put you off yet, then I sincerely recommend it!
Read more here.