Friday 5 January 2024

Angel Dionne, "Sardines"


Angel T. Dionne is an Associate Professor of English literature at the University of Moncton Edmundston campus. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Pretoria, and she is the founder/head editor of Vroom Lit Magazine. Her writing has been featured in several journals and anthologies. She is the author of a full-length collection of short fiction, Sardines (ClarionLit, 2023) and two chapbooks, Inanimate Objects (Bottlecap Press, 2022) and Mormyridae (LJMcD Communications, forthcoming). She also served as co-editor for Rape Culture 101: Programming Change (Demeter Press, 2020). She currently lives in Canada with her wife and cats. 

About Sardines
It is a universal enough truth that human beings are social by nature. There is space within us which normally fills up with relationships and rich experiences. When we are rendered solitary by circumstance or temperament, however, that space fills instead with the symptoms of loneliness. Angel Dionne’s dry, observant short stories pull back the lid of that claustrophobic way of life, giving us a vantage on the minor existential pains of people talking most often to themselves.

In this, the author’s first collection, readers will find twelve tinned tales of a world both familiar and disquietingly austere. For all of her economy of expression, Dionne’s investigations into the scenes - hair salon, butcher’s, library, zoo, café - and occurrences - a read-through of the paper, a conversation at the cash-out, an inquiry into the open job - of everyday life are meticulously observed.

Dionne’s story-telling is a kind of narrative atomic theory, in the same philosophical school as the writing of Nancy Huston, Édouard Louis, Valeria Luiselli, Thomas Bernhard, I. L. Peretz. Life, Dionne shows, is not so abstract or so complex that it cannot be made sense of. With sympathy, wit, and a relentless eye for detail, she demonstrates how to discern the commonplace minutiae of human existence, and how to see the ways they interact and compound until the mundane begins to resonate with human meaning.

You can read more about Sardines on the publisher's website here. Below, you can read an excerpt from one of the stories in the collection. 

From Sardines, by Angel Dionne

Sardines (excerpt)

Antoine had always marveled at the way the concrete walls and darkened windows of city buildings were transformed at night. By day, they stood benign, but at night they rose and became towering giants looming high over narrow streets. The tenement buildings and brick storefronts, in crowded desperation, attempted to blot out the moon, and the city sank into a tepid darkness from which Antoine wasn’t certain it would ever rise.

Antoine had been born in this city, had grown up in this city, had toiled and agonized and would, as far as he was concerned, die in this city. At sixty-two years of age, he awaited death like one awaits a long-departed lover. He occupied a little ground-floor apartment in a tenement building, facing neither the sunlight by day or the damp luminescence of moonlight by evening — the perfect place for a forgotten pensioner burdened with arthritis and a stubborn cough.

Although thin-walled, the apartment was good enough to suit him. It wasn’t quite home. In fact, the city never really had been despite the fact that he’d never left it. The oppressive air and colourless pavement made up the sum total of his life. Sometimes, he wished things had been different for him ... 

No comments:

Post a Comment