Clear Skies, No Wind, 100% Visibility
Finalist for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award
Finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize
Set against the divergent landscape of British Columbia – from the splendours of nature to its fearsome strengths, from urban grease and grit to dry, desert towns – Clear Skies, No Wind, 100% Visibility, Théodora Armstrong’s first collection of short stories, examines human frailty in its many manifestations. In “Grace” a soon-to-be father and haute cuisine chef mercilessly berates his staff while facing his lack of preparedness for parenthood. In “Whale Stories” an incident borne of a child’s naïve curiosity leaves behind a burden of guilt and grief. In “Mosquito Creek” the dangers of deep canyons and powerful currents enable the reckless behavior of teenagers as they test the limits of bravery, friendship, and sexuality. And in the title story, a novice air-traffic specialist must come to terms with his first loss – the death of a pilot – on his watch.
House of Anansi Press published Clear Skies, No Wind, 100% Visibility in March, 2013 as the inaugural title in its Astoria short fiction imprint.
Rights available: World rights: House of Anansi Press.
Category: Literary Fiction Length: 296 pp
Praise for Clear Skies, No Wind, 100% Visibility:
“Théodora Armstrong’s début collection launches House of Anansi Press’s new short-fiction imprint, Astoria, in impressive fashion. This is a writer to watch, and a book not to be missed. . . . These darkly intimate and subtly heartbreaking pieces are pure pleasure to read. Armstrong is an electrifying new voice on the short fiction scene.”
– Starred review, Quill and Quire
“Théodora Armstrong[’s] first collection of striking, realist stories, Clear Skies, No Wind, 100% Visibility, is an exceptional début.”
– The Globe and Mail
“Armstrong’s themes of agency and inevitability are distilled to their essence and given another ironic twist, and her typically spare language is honed to a fine edge.”
– The National Post
“Armstrong’s tales are indeed satisfying; the book is delicious from start to finish. In fact, when I ran out of books on a weeklong holiday recently, I was quite content to read some of Armstrong’s stories twice or three times. . . . Her gritty realism and rich, crisp prose have been compared to that of Raymond Carver and Flannery O’Connor. High praise indeed. Clear Skies is the kind of collection that leaves you satisfied, but wanting more.”
– The Montreal Gazette
“These fresh, edgy, unflinching stories about contemporary life on the urban and rural West Coast will resonate with readers at all stages of life: parents watching their children grow up too quickly, young couples starting families, brothers and sisters at crossroads in life coping with the fraying adulthood brings to childhood bonds.”
– Winnipeg Free Press
“… a fresh, new voice in Canadian short fiction, but a fresh, new voice that’s already proven her to be a force in the form.”
– The Telegraph-Journal
“The stories in this collection are a rare phenomenon, capable of taking the reader to places so familiar one forgets they’ve never been there. The writing is crisp, taut, and evocative, and each story has a separate pleasure to give. Théodora Armstrong is a terrifically talented young writer, and this is a superb début.”
– Steven Galloway, author of The Confabulist
“In these moving and meticulously described stories, Théodora Armstrong expertly cultivates her characters in the rich, dirty-realist soil of Raymond Carver and Flannery O’Connor. The writing in this collection boils with meaning, beauty, and menace, and signals the liftoff of an exciting new literary talent.”
– Michael Christie, author of The Beggar’s Garden
“[Théodora Armstrong’s] stories are direct and non-apologetic, fluid and intelligent, and especially good at delineating a desire to connect and the lack of ability to make that connection.”
– Mark Anthony Jarman, author of 19 Knives and Ireland’s Eye
Théodora Armstrong holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia. Her stories have garnered many impressive shortlist nominations, and “Whale Stories” won the 2008 Western Magazine Award for Fiction. The stories have appeared in several of the top Canadian literary journals, and have also been included in two anthologies: Coming Attractions 10 (2010) and The Journey Prize Stories(2008). Ms. Armstrong also often has a camera in her hands; photographs from her worldwide travels have appeared in many journals and newspapers. She is at work on her first novel, and lives in Vancouver with her husband and daughter.
Follow Théo on Twitter at: @theoarmstrong