With dreamlike stories and dark humour, Anecdotes is a hybrid collection in four parts examining the pressing realities of sexual violence, abuse, and environmental collapse.
Absurdist flash fictions in “The Boy is Dead” depict characters such as a park that hates hippies, squirrels, and unhappy parents; a woman lamenting a stolen laptop the day the world ends; and birds slamming into glass buildings.
“We’re Not Here to Talk About Aliens” gathers autofictions that follow a young protagonist from childhood to early 20s, through the murky undercurrent of potential violence amidst sexual awakening, from first periods to flashers, sticker books to maxi pad art, acid trips to blackouts, and creepy professors to close calls.
“This Isn’t a Conversation” shares one-liners from overheard conversations, found texts, diary entries, and random thoughts: many are responses to the absurdity and pain of the current political and environmental climate.
In “My Dream House,” the past and the future are personified as various incarnations in relationships to one another (lovers, a parent and child, siblings, friends), all engaged in ongoing conflict.
These varied, immersive works bristle with truth in the face of unprecedented change. They are playful forms for serious times.
Praise for Anecdotes:
“Part coming of age and part end times, Anecdotes is a bold and brilliant mixture of dark humour, understated literary experiments, and a poet’s eye for the truth. Mockler’s writing isn’t afraid to look at the world and see it for what it is. Her stories are so deeply immersive you’ll never want to leave. An absolute must-read if you live on this planet and even if you don’t.” —Carleigh Baker, author of Bad Endings
“‘What happened to you?’ Terrible things do happen. Daily. From the opening story of a dead boy nobody loved, to anxiety-ridden days of overcrowded public buses and murderous job interviews, to birds dropping from the sky, to no one needing money anymore [or a stolen laptop] because the world is ending today and everyone still thinks it’s happening to someone else while it’s happening to them. Is it too late? Of course it is! ‘What do they need?’ Don’t ask Pastor Rick. Like you, dear reader. ‘They need to hold on real tight.’ Mockler’s Anecdotes is an instant ‘post hope’ classic!” —Kirby, author of Poetry is Queer
“Utterly original, bracingly acidic, and always vulnerable, Kathryn Mockler channels Donald Barthelme having a psychotic break in this magnificent collection of coming-of-age stories for late stage capitalism.” —Emily Schultz, author of The Blondes and Sleeping With Friends
What We’re Reading: Staff Writers’ Picks, Spring 2023 —Hamilton Review of the Books
24 Books by Past CBC Poetry Prize Winners and Finalists Being Published in 2023 —CBC Books
What to Read this Summer —Frieze
Most Anticipated: Our 2023 Fall Fiction Preview —49th Shelf
Our books editor on the 30 (plus!) new reads we can’t wait to cozy up with this fall —Toronto Star
Books of the Month: September 2023 Edition —Vol. 1 Brooklyn
7 Tragicomic Book That I Love: Kathryn Mockler—49th Shelf
Power Q&A with Kathryn Mockler—River Street Writing
An Interview with Kathryn Mockler—All Lit Up
“Kathryn Mockler’s debut collection of short fiction is a deliciously dark and clever experiment that succeeds beautifully. Across four parts, the book riffs through flash fiction, connected stories, and micro conversations, ending with a past/future blend of hopelessness that will appeal to any cynic—or perhaps even realist.”—Candace Fertile, The British Columbia Review
“I was pleased to have Anecdotes in my hands and immerse myself in Mockler’s work…Against this darkness, the light shines ever brighter. Mockler bravely looks into the void and reports what she sees. Again, Beckett comes to mind”—Michael Bryson