“Sarah Meehan Sirk’s stories are grandly written, stunningly beautiful, celebratory and profane. They make us laugh, break our heart. We witness a powerful and important debut.”
—David Adams Richards
“The Dead Husband Project is high-definition in the details of life it captures across its stories. No matter the situation–an art opening, a cottage dinner, the discovery of a new colour—Sirk pushes through jarring truths to subtle beauty.”
—Emily Schultz, author of The Blondes
“Fiercely imaginative, original, and deeply affecting. These stories explore what is essential about human experience—the implications of living in a body, how the spirit is chained and defined by flesh and bone, and how we escape those constraints. Sarah Meehan Sirk is a bold writer and these stories are seeking, searing, and oddly beautiful. Like Margaret Atwood and Barbara Gowdy, Sirk reminds us the imagination has no borders.”
—Lisa Moore, author of Caught
Perfect for readers of George Saunders, Jennifer Egan and Heather O’Neill, a rich and inventive collection of exquisite short stories by a major newcomer to Canadian literature.
In this deeply felt, compulsive and edgy work, Sarah Meehan Sirk shines a distinctive light on love and death in their many incarnations, pushing against the limits of the absurd while exposing piercing emotional truths about what it means to be gloriously, maddeningly alive.
In “The Dead Husband Project,” an artist who has planned to make an installation out of her terminally ill husband’s dead body has to recalibrate when his diagnosis changes. In “The Date,” an online dating match takes an unusual turn when the man who shows up to the restaurant has no face. In “Ozk,” a young girl longs to connect with her socially isolated mother, a professor of mathematics who makes a radical discovery.
Uncanny, sometimes violent, achingly sad and always profound, these stories showcase a writer with skill and empathy, and draw us in with a steady, unyielding grip.
“An inventive, often intense – and highly readable – collection… The writing is sharp, crisp and alive. We are inserted firmly into the action and the emotion of the story, the headspace of the protagonist and the tension surrounding him or her (usually her). Sometimes, Sirk achieves this all in a single humdinger of a sentence… These concise portraits of life are often devastating – but always delightful.”
– The Globe & Mail review (August 2017)
“Somehow Sarah Meehan Sirk’s debut short story collection The Dead Husband Project manages to transcend much of life’s inherent darkness to land in a tender, humane place that’s recognizable to all… Powerful stuff efficiently packed into a tight, compelling narrative… Bypassing the formulaic and predictable, The Dead Husband Project is a stellar shout out to the power and relevance of the short story.”
– The Toronto Star review (August 2017)
“Sirk is a gifted stylist; her sentences are lyrical and clean and pulse with a quiet, fervent energy… Each story is its own delicate universe, a grouping of unfamiliar worlds built on a familiar terrain of sadness and longing. This juxtaposition is skilfully effected: in the hands of this storyteller, love in all its guises can, for a time, feel entirely new.”
– Quill & Quire review (August 2017)
“The Dead Husband Project, the summer’s most macabre short story collection, taps into the latent horrors of modern romance… Somehow, author and CBC Radio producer Sarah Meehan Sirk brings tenderness to the Gothic grotesquerie.”
– Toronto Life feature (August 2017)
“Toronto’s Sarah Meehan Sirk [is] adept at misdirection and wry comedy. If this amusing and intriguing book is any indication, she has a very promising future… All of the stories… are powerful, intriguing and fresh. They are terse but pleasurably expandable through the fracturing of chronology and misdirection. The Dead Husband Project is a very lively read.”
– The Winnipeg Free Press feature (September 2017)
Doubleday Canada, Canada, August 2017