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Promise of Shelter by Robyn Sarah

Finalist for The Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction in 1998


Known since the early 1980s as an accomplished poet, Robyn Sarah turns her talents to prose with this collection of short stories. Promise of Shelter is linked not by a common setting or characters, but by narrative intent. It is storytelling that steers a path between layers of a situation so as to tell two stories at once, setting up a counterpoint between the real and the imagined, the literal and the figurative, the mundane and the spiritual. The stories themselves, with their recurring motif of keys and doors, play variations on the theme of shelter: of security lost and found, refuge sought and denied. Details accumulate and interact like chords in music, ordinary events and objects have the resonance of signs and omens, and ordinary lives brush the margins of their own vulnerability even as they affirm their resilience.

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short stories



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