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Books | Bibliography | Inspiration

South of Elfrida
Brindle & Glass
ISBN 978-1-927366-05-9

“Four books later, South of Elfrida is just as absorbing as Rubinsky's earlier work, [it] captures "the beauty and spirit" of a middle-aged woman on a solitary road trip. Thankfully, we can ride along with her for a while." Jill Mandrake, Geist Magazine

“These are stories about loneliness. They are also stories about aging and the impossibility of improving the past. Set against the searing beauty of the southwest, many of them will take your breath away." Alistair MacLeod
Loyal friend, excellent teacher.

"[...] Quirky, moving, and laugh-out-loud funny." Caroline Adderson

"These eighteen stories are Holley Rubinsky's gift to the world…Her empathy for her characters is vast, her craft pitch-perfect, [the] stories swerve from the loss of wisdom to the wisdom of loss but are never less than absolutely joyful." Adam Lewis Schroeder, author of In the Fabled East

"Rubinsky’s voice is wise and straight-up. In uncomplicated prose with a depth that knows in the end we are all travellers, she explores the impermanence of things: the ethereal quality of desert light, the elusive nature of time and reality." Judy LeBlanc, The Coastal Spectator.

Beyond This Point
McClelland & Stewart
ISBN 0-7710-7854-4

"The characters in Holley Rubinsky's terrific debut novel are both sinned against and sinning, to varying degrees…There's death and betrayal and retribution, but also a generous measure of levity — all rendered with the polish and verve of a skilled storyteller... Beyond This Point has the texture and complexity of real life, rendered with wisdom, insight and humour. " Barbara Carey, The Toronto Star

"…The key to the novel is the manner in which Rubinsky intertwines ordinary lives with a magical touch. Beyond This Point, with its shifting points of view, is a novel to linger over with a bottomless pot of hot tea." Andrew Armitage, The Sun Times

"Rubinsky writes more eloquently of B.C. outside Vancouver than I’ve seen in a long time. And she scatters glittery handfuls of wisdom about the human conditon.” Rebecca Wigod, The Vancouver Sun

"Here [in Beyond This Point] is the meanness, betrayal and despair of lives gone wrong, cancer and strokes and runaway children and aberration and death, the knowledge of which sits under your skin and almost stops your breathing until there is a turn in the story, some natural connection that makes you sit up, laughing." Sandra Hartline, The Hartline Review

At First I Hope for Rescue
Vintage Canada
ISBN 0-676-97109-1
Picador USA
ISBN 0-312-18043-8

Quill & Quire, Best Books for 1997, At First I Hope for Rescue
A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers choice
Nominated for the B.C. Fiction Prize

“Rubinsky’s voice is clear, her eyes and ears are carefully tuned, and she has something fresh and loving to say about the world that we live in daily. Too often, at our peril, we neither see nor hear that world and consequently cannot love it. Rubinsky’s stories are restorative in the best sense of that word, and renewing.” Russell Banks

At First I Hope for Rescue is a remarkable novel by a huge and genuine talent. Holley Rubinsky has perfect pitch — not just for characters, for the way they think and speak and behave, but for the whole enterprise of telling a story as well as it can be told.” Ian Brown

“Affecting, fascinating...These stories [have] the power of ambush... Rubinsky reveals the strangeness of humans and the heart-rending drama of ordinary survival...The overall impression is one of revelation.” The Vancouver Sun

“Books this good are rare…You could sample the life’s work of Alice Munro and Mavis Gallant and then come to this book without disappointment.” The Edmonton Journal

“There are raw moments here, but there is also a wacky sort of pluck to the way the characters talk and stagger on with their lives that feels distinctly Canadian...Impressive.” Maclean’s

Rapid Transits
and Other Stories
Polestar Book Publishers
ISBN 0-919591-56-6

The title story, "Rapid Transits", won the first Journey Prize.

“These stories are moving and sensitive and extremely well crafted. Many of them explore the wonder and fearfulness of women on their individual journeys. These are stories that are dazzlingly original and they will stay with the reader for a long, long time.” Alistair MacLeod, Lost Salt Gift of Blood, As Birds Bring Forth the Sun, No Great Mischief

“Holley Rubinsky’s stories […] will return to haunt the reader in the middle of the night. Forceful and beautifully evocative in their telling, these finely crafted stories grab the reader about the throat. There is a steely uncompromising hand behind this body of work, not a hint of sentimentality; relentlessly determined to portray accurately the underside of life.” Sandra Birdsell, Children of the Day, The Russlander, The Missing Child


South of Elfrida
Beyond This Point
At First I Hope for Rescue
Rapid Transits and Other Stories

The MacMillan Anthology, edited by John Metcalf and Leon Rook, “Preacher’s Geese”
Frictions II, Stories by Women, edited by Rhea Tregebov, “The Bravest Girl in the World”
The Great Canadian Literary Cookbook, introduction by Peter Gzowski.

Magazines / Journals
Books in Canada, October 1992, "Mystery Matters to Gail Bowen".
Canadian Fiction Magazine, No. 56, “Capricorn Women”
Canadian Fiction Magazine, No. 58, “Leah, in Yport, on the Normandy Coast”
The Malahat Review, No. 81, “Preacher’s Geese”
The Malahat Review, No. 84, “Rapid Transits”
The Malahat Review, No. 85, “Grounding”
The Malahat Review, No. 91, “Flight”
The New Quarterly, No. 116, “Whatever’s Coming”
The New Quarterly, No. 121, “Offset Type”
The New Quarterly, Vol. 8, No. 3, “The Haircut”
Exile, Vol. 19, No. 1, “Cathay”
Prism International, 26.2, “The Other Room”
Room, 33.4, “Oranges, Blueberries, Cucumber and Mint”
The Antigonish Review, No. 170, “The Jar”
Rubicon, No. 7, “Coast Highway”
Descant, No. 54, “On the Normandy Coast”
Prairie Fire, Vol. 13, No, 2, “Road’s End”
Event, Vol. 39, No. 2, “Among the Emus”
Event, Vol. 15, No. 1, “Embers”
Event, Vol. 10. No. 2, “On an Island”
Event, Vol. 24, No. 1, “Telephoto”
Event, Vol. 18, No. 1, “Notes on Fiction”
Event, Vol. 17, No. 1, “Heavenly Showers”
The Brick Reader, edited by Linda Spalding and Michael Ondaatje, “An Interview with Alistair MacLeod”
Redbook Magazine, “The Perfect Parent for a Chameleon”
Redbook Famous Fiction, Vol. 2: “Second Thoughts on the Subject of Mother”
Women’s Own, “Keeping Away the Bears”
McCall’s Magazine, “A Compass for the Sun”
Cosmopolitan, “Learning to Fly”

Butcher, Baker, The Faces of Kaslo, Gordon Brown
Pull of the Moon, Julie Paul, for Brindle & Glass
Disasters in Paradise: the Landsides in Johnson’s Landing, Amanda Bath, published by Harbour Publishing
Cold Girl, winner of the “Unhanged” category in the 2014 Arthur Ellis Awards, submission draft, Rachel Greenaway, Dundurn Press

Prizes / Honors
Winner of the Jouney Prize
National Magazine Award, Foundation Award for Fiction
Winner of the Samuel Goldwyn Creative Writing Competition

Festival of Books, Los Angeles Times, Discover Great New Writers Barnes & Noble; Knopf Canada, New Face of Fiction
Winnipeg Writers’ Festival
Ottawa Writers’ Festival
WordFest, Calgary
Sechelt Festival of the Written Arts
The Harbour Front Reading Series
Douglas College, Literature Alive


South of Elfrida

Driving through, stopping to stay, camping in the Southwest was a highlight of my later years. Occasionally I would rent an apartment, in Tucson or Tubac, and stay a while. People and places I met on what became, essentially, a journey of sorting through my life, appear and play significant roles in the stories in South of Elfrida.

Beyond This Point

The landscape in Beyond This Point are the blues and greens of British Columbia, the shifting of light on mountains, and peopled by moody characters escaping an old life to find a new one. As Lenore, Lucinda and Mory and the others move to inner clarity (through mayhem and some madness solved) appreciation of what can be defined -- built, created, saved (or not) -- in the landscape emerges.