We All Need to Eat is a collection of linked stories from award-winning author Alex Leslie that revolves around Soma, a young Queer woman in Vancouver. Through thoughtful and probing narratives, each story chronicles a sea change in Soma’s life. Lyrical, gritty, and atmospheric, Soma’s stories refuse to shy away from the contradictions inherent to human experience, exploring one young person’s journey through mourning, escapism, and the search for nourishment.
The stories slipstream through Soma’s first three decades, surfacing at moments of knowing and intensity. The far-reaching impact and lasting reverberations of Soma’s family’s experience of the Holocaust scrapes up against the rise of Alt Right media. While going through a break-up in her thirties, Soma becomes addicted to weightlifting and navigates public mourning on Facebook. As a child, Soma struggles to cope with her mother’s sorrow by becoming fixated on buying her a lamp for seasonal affective disorder. A friend’s suicide prompts a drinking game that takes mortality as its premise. But alongside the loss in Soma’s life is a pursuit of intimacy, resounding in the final story’s closing words: “Look me in the eye.”
“With assured debuts in two genres, Alex Leslie melds remarkable acuity of vision with a refreshing eagerness for formal experimentation. She’s at once a writer’s writer and an accomplished teller of tales.”
—Dayne Ogilvie Prize Jury Citation, The Writers’ Trust of Canada
Praise for We All Need to Eat:
“We All Need to Eat is a stunning inquiry into the sharpness of the world as it collides with the fragility – the ambiguities and possibilities – of the self. Alex Leslie is a tremendously gifted and compassionate writer. This bold and searing collection is a wonder.” —Madeleine Thien, Scotiabank Giller Prize winning author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing
“Alex Leslie has written a refreshing set of interlocking narratives about family and heartache. A far cry from the self-discovery credos of the millennial age, her protagonist Soma ruminates and broods. And with Soma’s painfully careful and wonderfully-crafted considerations, the reader might also weigh the many small, trying moments that connect us to chosen and blood family.” —Amber Dawn, author of Sodom Road Exit
“A magnetic collection that must be read over and over.” —Kirkus Reviews
“[Leslie’s] surprising juxtapositions, strong and deftly deployed metaphors, and dynamic sentence structures create dense emotional landscapes tied to a well-developed sense of time and place. From those landscapes, a rich, subtle portrait of Soma emerges and then evolves as the stories expose more facets of her life.” —August C. Bourré, Quill and Quire
“Leslie’s prose is fluid, occasionally leaving this reader lightheaded.” —Fiona Raye Clarke, Broken Pencil
“There’s plenty to say about We All Need To Eat, all of it good. In her second story collection Vancouver’s Alex Leslie has created a thematically rich and sophisticated portrait of an individual and her entwined networks — family, friends, lovers.” —Brett Josef Grubisic, Toronto Star
“Since the election of Donald Trump, many of us have considered the Holocaust in light of increased displays of outright anti-Semitism and white nationalism – only more so after the attack on the Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue in October. This afterimage is the setting of Alex Leslie’s linked stories in We All Need to Eat.” —Jade Colbert, The Globe and Mail
“We All Need to Eat is a work of precision. As the stories layer on top of each other, Alex Leslie opens many of urban life’s paradoxes.” —Jonathan Valelly, Canadian Notes and Queries
“Absorbing and melancholy, Leslie delivers a stellar collection of interwoven stories.” —Pages and Bones
“Dreaming of the Day I’d Get to Be on That Stage” Talking Festivals, Writing Tips & Nerves with 3 TIFA Guest Authors —Open Book
December Spotlight on Excerpts: Get a Taste of We All Need to Eat by Alex Leslie —Open Book
ALEX LESLIE. Phenomenal author, poet, creative soul!: An episode of Diversity and Inclusion,with Njoroge Mungai —Upendo Books podcast
Alex Leslie was born and lives in Vancouver. She is the author of the short story collection People Who Disappear (2012) which was nominated for the 2013 Lambda Literary Award for Debut Fiction and a 2013 ReLit Award, as well as a collection of prose poems, The things I heard about you (2014), which was shortlisted for the 2014 Robert Kroestch Award for Innovative Poetry. Winner of the 2015 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers, Alex’s short fiction has been included in the Journey Prize Anthology, The Best of Canadian Poetry in English, and in a special issue of Granta spotlighting Canadian writing, co-edited by Madeleine Thien and Catherine Leroux.
1 October 2018 | Fiction | Short Stories
8×5.25 inches | 184 pages
Trade paper: ISBN 9781771664196
Book*hug Press wishes to acknowledge the land on which it operates. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.