Cary Fagan has written several critically acclaimed books, including A Bird’s Eye, a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, My Life Among the Apes, longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and Valentine’s Fall, a finalist for the Toronto Book Award. He has also written many popular books for children, for which he has won the Vicki Metcalf Award for Children’s Literature and been nominated for the Governor General’s Award. He lives in Toronto.
The Old World and Other Stories
These 35 stories — and the found photographs that inspired them — are by turns realistic and surreal, bloody and tender, delightful and appalling. A man hangs onto a runaway horse. A woman paints in the nude. A shop window advertising a sale on blankets hides much more behind it. A lone tombstone on a hill speaks of a years-long feud. The stories, while varied, form a single image that, in the words of the author, “belong to one history, found in an album that might belong to any of us.”
Deftly marrying vision and language with memory and imagination, Cary Fagan paints a portrait of forgotten lives that is profound, generous, and highly entertaining.
A Cage Went in Search of a Bird
A long-empty birdcage takes a chance and leaves behind its attic home to find a bird to keep. Out in the world, the cage encounters many birds and offers shelter to each of them. One by one, they refuse, explaining why they belong elsewhere. The cage feels lonelier than ever until the cage in search of a bird finds a bird in search of a cage.
Two lonely souls find each other in this unusual tale of friendship and belonging. In her North American debut, illustrator Banafsheh Erfanian brings ornate artistry to the cage and birds that inhabit this surprisingly human story.
Mort Ziff Is Not Dead
When Norman wins a thousand dollars in the ‘Count-the-Doozy-Dots Contest’, his parents let him choose how to spend it. Norman decides that what his family really needs is a vacation that doesn’t mean camping in a tent –like a trip to Miami Beach. They stay in luxury at the Royal Palm Hotel, owned by the mysterious millionaire Herbert Spitzer. One day at the pool Norman spots an old man in a black suit, who his father tells him is a once-famous comedian named Mort Ziff. A chance meeting begins an unusual friendship between Norman and the old comedian. But after hearing that Mort Ziff has been fired, Norman takes matters into his own hands, resolving to save Mort’s job and in the process, coming to realize an inner strength he didn’t know he had.
Little Blue Chair
Boo’s favourite chair is little and blue. He sits in it, reads in it, and makes a tent around it … until the day he grows too big for it. His mother puts the little blue chair out on the lawn where a truck driver picks it up to sell to a lady in a junk store, who eventually sells it as a plant stand. In the following years, the little blue chair is used in many other ways – in a contest, on an elephant ride, on a Ferris wheel – until one day balloons fly it away to a garden of daffodils, where a familiar face finds it. This is a sweet, whimsical tale that chronicles the journey of a chair as it changes hands and uses.
Wolfie & Fly
Renata ‘Wolfie’ Wolfman does everything by herself. Friends just get in the way, and she only has time for facts and reading. But friendship finds her in the form of Livingston ‘Fly’ Flott, the slightly weird and wordy boy from next door. Before she knows it, Wolfie is motoring through deep water with Fly as her second-in-command in a submarine made from a cardboard box. Out on a solo swim to retrieve a baseball vital to the mission, Wolfie is finally by herself again, but for the first time, she finds it a little lonely. Maybe there is something to this friend thing …