Maine, 1980. A utopian community is on the verge of collapse. The charismatic leader’s authority teeters as
his followers come to realize they’ve been exploited for too long. To make matters worse, the eleven-year-old son of one adherent learns that his mother has cancer.
Taking refuge in his imagination, the boy begins to speak of another time and place. His parents believe he is remembering his own life before birth. This memory, a story within the story of Blood Fable, is an epic tale about the search for a lost city refracted through the lens of the adventures the boy loves to read. But strangely, as the world around them falls apart, he and his parents find that his story seems to foretell the events unfolding in their present lives.
Praise for Blood Fable:
“A family drama, a fantastical voyage, and a poetic reflection on love, death and betrayal, this extraordinary coming-of-age novel exposes the difficult relationship between free-thought and blind faith, evasion and enlightenment. Oisín Curran’s Blood Fable is an adventure for the heart and soul.” —Johanna Skibsrud, Scotiabank Giller Prize winning author of The Sentimentalists and Quartet for the End of Time
“This careful and loving rendering of a child’s mind proves that acts of storytelling were once not so much vehicles for escape but instead crucial rehearsals for being. A remembrance of lost time—or maybe, to reference its Buddhist undergirding, an alaya-vijnana, a storehouse consciousness—Curran’s vision of boyhood is perfect in details and sublimely moving. Blood Fable is a magnificent double take, which—like a bistable optical illusion (duck or rabbit?) —allows two universes to coexist. A rapturous adventure tale where the very essence of adventure is subverted so that fantasy and reality conflate; this is done not for temporary trickery but to deepen our comprehension of the real.” —Eugene Lim, author of Dear Cyborgs
“The dark magic in Blood Fable is just a story (within a story), but that somehow makes it more, and more truly, magical. It is a story about how stories are made, how they help and refuse to reflect our lives, as resonating versions of the world refracted through the prism of imagination. On almost every page something threw me gloriously off balance and I couldn’t stop asking myself: how does Oisin Currin manage to write so consistently, compellingly, hauntingly well? I will reread this book.” —Jacob Wren, author of Rich and Poor and Polyamorous Love Song
“Blood Fable is, for me, a perfect book; it is the novel I always wish I were reading. In its twin stories—one of an eleven-year-old boy and his flawed, beloved parents and the other a wild tale of love, peril, and adventure across underground tunnels and seas—are all the wonder and terror of childhood, refracted by a luminous imagination. Through the wide eyes of a child, Curran plumbs the world of adults with compassion and acuity. Blood Fable is a quest, a question, a story of searching—for understanding, insight, heroes—and of failing, finding in their stead the imaginative mercy of love. This is a joy of a novel, glittering, wondrous, and strange. I remain in its thrall.” —Rebecca Silver Slayter, author of In the Land of Birdfishes
Press Coverage for Blood Fable:
Read an Excerpt from Oisín Curran’s forthcoming Blood Fable! —Open Book
Excerpt from Blood Fable by Oisin Curran —The Winnipeg Review
Most Anticipated Fall 2017 Fiction Preview —49th Shelf
“I loved this book! It’s something a little different and it’s incredibly well-written.” —Jaaron Collins, Worn Pages and Ink
“In his sophomore novel Blood Fable, Oisin Curran sets up two interlocking, wildly different narratives.” —Trevor Corkum, Toronto Star
“An ambitious undertaking, beautifully executed.” —David Pitt, Atlantic Books Today
“Spliced through Blood Fable is a parallel story, the blood fable itself. Reading as a cross between Journey to the Centre of the Earth and the Bardo Thodol, the fable is, in the saddest of ways, the narrator’s justification for his own existence.” —Jade Colbert, The Globe and Mail
“Blood Fable‘s sly reflection upon its own devices, its insistence that the reader continually reconsider their own tentative interpretation, provides one of its greatest satisfactions.” —Jesse Eckerlin, Canadian Notes and Queries
“What an unusual and intriguing book it is.” —Consumed By Ink
Husband and wife both nominated for fiction award —The Ellsworth American
Cape Breton couple to duke it out for same Atlantic Book Award —CBC Cape Breton
Congratulations to the 2018 Atlantic Book Awards Winners! —Atlantic Book Awards
Report from the 2018 Atlantic Book Awards Gala —Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia
Your 2018 Atlantic Book Award winners —The Coast Halifax
Married writers Sarah Faber and Oisin Curran both win Atlantic Book Awards —Quill and Quire
Jury Citation of Blood Fable for the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award:
Blood Fable is a fascinating exploration of how imagination can sustain our lives. Based upon the memories of a sensitive 11-year-old boy, enhanced by an adult perspective, the novel takes place in the 1980s as a disaffected generation searches for an alternative reality—in this case within a Zen commune in Maine. When his cat dies and his mother is diagnosed with cancer, the boy creates a fantasy world which his parents view as a vision from a former life and eagerly transcribe to counterbalance the dissolution of their real existence.
Curran’s innovative style is replete with vivid insights, great characterization, humorous detail, and deep thought. He bears witness to a time after the devastation of the Vietnam War when many alternative societies began with such hopeful energy, to be swept away by the Reagan years when everyone would “cut their feathered hair, taper their bell-bottoms, narrow their collars and buy new stuff.” There are no Lost Cities to be found, nothing can protect one from the vagaries of life, yet people will always continue to search for an ideal world as new generations of children “come flaming through the atmosphere to be born.”
Oisín Curran grew up in rural Maine. He received a BA in Classics and an MFA in Creative Writing from Brown University (where he was the recipient of a national scholarship and a writing fellowship), and a diploma in Translation (French to English) from Concordia University. He is the author of Mopus (2008) and was named a “Writer to Watch” by CBC: Canada Writes. Curran lives in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, with his wife and two children.