The Counsel of the Moon

Counsel Of the Moon cover“There’s a wonderful new short story writer called Dorothy Speak. Have you caught up with Dorothy Speak?” Margaret Atwood

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This first collection of stories creates a community of familiar characters who are at once cynical and loveable, selfish and pathetic. In exploring small-town life, Speak exposes the simple but sinister stratagems that bind together families, neighbours, lovers and friends. The heroism of older brothers, the corruption of grandmothers, the treachery of sisters, the fond antipathy between mothers and daughters come to startling three-dimensional life here. In so doing, Speak illuminates the alliances and betrayals, and the competition for love in all our lives. The diverse characters in these stories are all bound together by a desire to rise above the mundane realities of their own existence – to win a singing contest; to leave behind a dreary hometown for the glamour of a larger city; to succeed as a writer far away from home. Ironically, within each character there also exists a desire, be it large or small, to maintain the security of a known life, or to return to a simpler time. Gentle, warm and bittersweet, this collection of stories marks the debut of a strong new voice in Canadian fiction.

“Foreign Landscapes” – excerpt from The Counsel of the Moon

Praise for The Counsel of the Moon

“Speak probes into uncomfortable places and lays bare ambivalences in relationships that, in polite company, are not normally dissected and scrutinized with anything like this author’s degree of candor. The Counsel of the Moon has a sort of cathartic quality – one reads it, in places, with the guilty feeling that it might be a diary meant for the writer’s eyes only.” Globe and Mail

“What pleasure to encounter the urbane, polished prose of Dorothy Speak. This first collection is humorous, gentle, and insightful and made a delight to read by the controlled, sophisticated writing that would not be out of place in the New Yorker… Dorothy Speak’s entrance into the world of Canadian literature is as auspicious as was that of Alice Munro.” Calgary Herald

“The power in Speak’s portrayal of characters rests in the snatches of vivid detail, the ear for the precise word, the narrator’s deft irony, and the almost compassionate sensibility which informs the individual pieces. This collection heralds a short story writer of enormous talent and promise.” Canadian Literature

“Speak’s graceful style, piquant wit, and the leisurely naturalness of her narratives make The Counsel of the Moon an immensely readable volume, one for which the phrase plaisir du texte seems coined.” Books in Canada

“A stellar debut.” Edmonton Journal

Read all the reviews of The Counsel of the Moon