Winter/Spring 2024 Fiction Preview: These Songs I Know By Heart by Erin Brubacher | Book*hug Press

Winter/Spring 2024 Fiction Preview: These Songs I Know By Heart by Erin Brubacher

The next title in our Winter/Spring 2024 Fiction Preview is These Songs I Know By Heart by Erin Brubacher!

Married and divorced in her 20s, looking for friendship in her 30s, and contemplating pregnancy at 40, our narrator wonders if she’s going through life out of order. But Alice, The Turtle, The Kid, and other beloveds show her that motherhood is more than giving birth, art is never finished, and love is not linear.

Through a three-day canoe trip, chance encounters, fierce female friendship, step-parenting, IVF, pandemic isolation, and quiet moments between humans, These Songs I Know By Heart weaves vignettes of everyday mythology into an absorbing and honest meditation on the connections in our lives. With razor-sharp reflection, humour, and most of all love, we are reminded that there’s no formula to life and that instead, we must celebrate what makes the small moments of our lives extraordinary.

“Erin Brubacher’s gorgeous new book is a collection of stylish, original and artfully observed sketches of 21st century romance and modern friendship, and her optimism about the tiny beautiful connections we make in life is happy-making. These Songs I Know By Heart is an odd, winsome, and winning piece of writing.” —Hannah Moscovitch, Governor General’s Literary Award–winning author of Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes

Erin Brubacher has shared a video to introduce These Songs I Know By Heart in anticipation of the book’s release:

We’ve also selected an excerpt from the novel to share with you today! These Songs I Know By Heart will be released on May 7, 2024, and is available for pre-order from our online shop or from your local independent bookstore.

My Childhood Friend has a child called The Fig. Before The Fig was born, My Childhood Friend and I, both secular symbol makers and not godparent-inclined, decided I would be The Fig’s “mentor.” I was there the day she was born, and the moment I met her was one of four times that I have cried for happiness. Every year for The Fig’s birthday we make a cake together. For her third birthday, the cake was strawberry with cream-cheese icing, fresh berries, and a dozen kinds of artificial edible decorations in unnatural colours. I’d laid all the ingredients out on my kitchen table and constructed a tower from them, balancing tubes and canisters on top of bags of flour and bowls of berries. I was quite pleased. The Fig would like it. Then My Childhood Friend called to say The Fig was having a tantrum and didn’t want to put on any warm clothes to leave the house, and could I come over to their place instead?

A three-year-old cannot actually stand you up. A three-year-old is just being a three-year-old. Still, it made me sad to take the tower down. After I’d packed up all the ingredients to take to their house, My Childhood Friend called again to say The Fig had her coat on and wanted to come to my place. That’s how it goes sometimes. Which is why it’s always best to have flexible expectations. Especially around birthdays.


Erin Brubacher is a multidisciplinary artist. She is the author of the poetry collection In the small hours: Thirty-nine months & seven days and co-author of the hybrid, performance-based book 7th Cousins: An Automythography. Her award-winning work in theatre has taken her to contexts including the National Arts Centre (Ottawa), the Aga Khan Museum (Toronto), Festival Internacional Cervantino (Mexico), Theater der Welt (Germany), and the Edinburgh International Festival (UK). She is driven by the desire to make meeting places: for her, art is a framework that serves to gather people who might not otherwise be in a literal or figurative room together. Erin lived in ten cities before returning to Toronto, where she makes a home with her husband and four children.

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