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The Little Washer of Sorrows

Author: Katherine Fawcett
ISBN: 9781771870498 Categories: Fiction, Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology, Magical Realism, Short Stories (single author)
Publication Date: 31 March, 2015
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5"

The collection’s opening story “Captcha” begins with a perfect wife – mathematical genius and Kokanee beer model Margo – sending her husband Pete off to work before setting about her household chores. When she finds Pete’s filing cabinet unlocked, curiosity gets the best of her and she makes a life-changing discovery.

In “Dire Consequences” a well-meaning mother learns the hard way to be mindful of the power of language. “All-Inclusive” tells the story of an elderly couple who make an indecent proposal to a pair of young, attractive students on holiday in Mexico.

In “Johnny Longsword’s Third Option” a male stripper sits impatiently in a mysterious waiting room reflecting on his life as the by-the-books gatekeeper tests his patience. “Lunch Date” takes place over the course of an awkward mother-daughter lunch date where a twelve-year-old girl examines her self-absorbed parent through critical eyes.

“Lenny and the Polyamphibians” begins with Lenny’s discovery of a dying mermaid on the beach which he then brings home and secretly nurses back to health in the guest bathtub. As the mermaid grows and becomes more human-like, strange changes begin to occur in Lenny’s wife Helen.

In “The Little Washer of Sorrows” Greg is convinced that the Assistant Estate Manager at a bankruptcy office, green-eyed Chelsea, is an Irish banshee. Could she be a mythological faerie who has appeared as a prophet of doom, washing the dirty laundry of a person whose demise is approaching?

When teenager Katherine gets a job at the Calgary Stampede as a “Promo Girl” for the Freak Show, she thinks she has hit the jackpot of easy jobs. But when she catches a glimpse of her best friends and her father in the crowd, she begins to question whether she should continue to “work it”.

“BLK MGC” tells of the mysterious disappearance of a woman named Emily who vanishes without a trace after getting involved in a pyramid scheme that proves to be even more dubious and lead to more than just financial risk.

In “Cannonball” Luke’s mom says they need to talk, but Luke can’t focus because he’s late for swimming with his best friend Carma.

“The Siren Sisters” live with their aging father on an isolated island, scavenging for food and supplies along the shore whenever a storm ravages ships off the coast and spending their days practicing singing and watching Reality TV. But when three unexpected visitors fall from the sky with a proposal that will change their lives forever, Peisinoe, Thelxiepeia, and Phone must choose between centuries of tradition and the siren song of fame.

In “To Mabel in June” a passive-aggressive husband writes a series of notes to the wife who appears to have abandoned him and forces the neighbourhood paperboy to deliver them. As the month progresses, Arnie’s notes become less coherent as his mental state deteriorates.

“Swimming to Johnny Depp” involves a mother’s lakeside daydreams of taking a racy dip with a Hollywood heart-throb.

The narrator of “Bounty” is a unicorn hunter living in the basement of his family home while recovering from a head injury. His wife’s new boyfriend has moved in and become part of the family, and his daughter has adapted to the new life upstairs with surprising resilience. One morning he thinks he has finally slain the mythical target which will cure his injury, but due to the bouts of confusion he still experiences he may have hunted down a friend’s pet instead.

“Your Best Interests” is about a boy pulled into the principal’s office at his school, the Academy of the Refined Mind, where he is informed that due to his family’s financial troubles, he will soon be auctioned off to a new set of parents.

“Suburban Wolf” follows Wagg, who is spending his fifteenth birthday with his misfit friends robbing convenience stores, kicking over headstones, and terrorizing the neighbours. When the gang accidentally causes a car accident, they are left to face the tough decision of whether to take responsibility.

In “Scratching Silver Linings” Mike dreams of one day walking in the annual Canada Day Parade, but his complicated relationship with his flirty, single mother Petunia causes him to second guess everything and leads to injury after injury. When he finally gets a job as Assistant Traffic Patroller, he thinks his luck is changing but, like his mother’s vivacious personality, it seems some things never change.

“Representing Literature in Music for You” follows a high school English teacher who treats his class to an off-campus excursion to Tim Hortons. When the group starts discussing literary conventions and social commentary in popular music, one young man begins causing a scene.

“The Anniversary Present” is about the complicated relationship between an aging Mother Earth and her neglectful husband Father Time. After Father Time forgets their anniversary, he sets out to get her an appropriate gift but falls asleep in the drive-way, an action he will pay for dearly.

About the Author

Katherine Fawcett was born in Montreal, raised in Calgary, has lived in Japan, and now calls the small town of Pemberton, British Columbia home. She started her writing career as a sports reporter before venturing into freelance journalism and commercial writing. After becoming a mother and turning forty, Katherine could no longer ignore her tendency to dance fancy jigs on the boundary between real and imagined and has since turned her hand to fiction. She teaches music in Whistler, BC, and plays fiddle in a band called The Wild Irises. Her short fiction has been published in Wordworks, Event, Freefall, subTerrain, and Other Voices, and her plays have been performed by several community theatre groups.

AWARD RECOGNITION:Winner Federation of BC Writers Short Story Contest: 2008.
Winner Whistler Writes Creative Non-Fiction Award: 2008.
Winner Event Magazine Non-Fiction Contest: 2009.
Nominated for National Magazine Award for Personal Journalism: 2009.
Finalist Burnaby Writers Society “Lost and Found” Competition: 2009.
Shortlisted for Writers’ Union of Canada Writing for Children Contest: 2009.
Finalist for Writers’ Union of Canada Writing for Children Competition: 2009.
Honourable mention in Freefall Magazine Prose Contest: 2009.Winner Pique “Summer of Funny” Contest: 2009.
Shortlisted for Event Non-fiction Contest: 2011.
Shortlisted for Event Non-fiction Contest: 2012.
Longlisted for Carter V. Cooper/Exile Short Fiction Competition: 2014

Reviews

“An aging male stripper arguing with St Peter at the Pearly Gates, a cuckold hunting unicorn, an android who learns to love Leonard Cohen – Katherine Fawcett is blessed with a fierce imagination. Her style is as original and as wildly diverse as her characters, with stories that range from gritty realism to magical fantasy to wise fable. Fawcett’s voice is bold and confident but also surprisingly playful, with unexpected comedy sprinkled throughout the collection.”- Angie Abdou

“Funny and compassionate, this collection of stories leaves you with an understanding of our humanness – foibles, beauty, warts and all.” – Stella Harvey, author of Nicolai’s Daughters

“Katherine Fawcett works magic here, whips imagination, wit and anarchy into gold. Each story finds a place where our culture is already strange and jumps off from there. ” – Fred Stenson

“Katherine Fawcett’s unique, fast-paced, witty, hits-you-in-the-gut funny short stories appeal to some of our deepest fantasies and darkest questions, such as ‘what happens to us after we die?’ and ‘what if I could create my ideal mate?’ Like a magician, Fawcett uses language to create illusion and to reveal truth in a most engaging way.”- Sue Oakey

“Katherine Fawcett inhabits a bizarre back-alley of carnies and pyramid schemes, daily affirmations, making-do and derring-do: a Diane Arbus world of freaks and fables that is at once hilarious, surprising, and profound, turning our view of the place we live in upside down. . . Oddball, yet strangely familiar, the creatures spawned in Fawcett’s imagination will move into yours. You’ll never be the same again.” -Merilyn Simonds

“Fawcett’s stories turn left just when you think they’ll turn right; they step on the gas and race deep into the heart of her characters’ bizarre lives.” – Stephen Vogler
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