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Sheila Heti

Canada (b.1976)

Sheila Heti is a Canadian writer, who lives in Toronto. She has an appealing restlessness, a curiosity about new forms, and an attractive freedom from pretentiousness or cant (a freedom not always typical of original or avant-garde writers, for whom a Tom McCarthy-like self-solemnity is more the norm). Her first book, “The Middle Stories,” published when she was twenty-four, was a collection of brief postmodern fables, glittering if slight narratives that often proceed as if they were rewriting canonical fairy tales (a plumber and a princess, a girl who keeps a mermaid in a jar, a woman who lives in a shoe, and so on).

Genres: Literary Fiction
Anthologies edited
Non fiction
   Chairs Are Where the People Go (2011)
   Always Apprentices (2013) (with Ross Simonini and Vendela Vida)
   Women in Clothes (2014) (with Heidi Julavits and Leanne Shapton)
Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction Best Book nominee (2013) : How Should a Person Be?

Sheila Heti recommends
The Idiot (2017)
(Idiot , book 1)
Elif Batuman
"Elif Batuman surely has one of the best senses of humour in American letters. The pleasure she takes in observing the eccentricities of each of her characters makes for a really refreshing and unique bildungsroman; one more fascinated with what's going on around and outside the bewildered protagonist, than what's going on inside her."
Heart-Breaker (2018)
Claudia Dey
"Heartbreaker gave me chills all the way through. . . . I floated in the perfection of its ending. I loved this novel’s shining sensitivity. I loved its every page."
Weather (2020)
Jenny Offill
"Jenny Offill conjures entire worlds with her steady, near-pointillist technique. One feels a whole heaving, breathing universe behind her every line. Dread, the sensation of sinking, lostness, and being cast away from any sense of safety infiltrates every interaction and private moment in this book, like the ashes from the burning world she describes."
A Girl's Story (2020)
Annie Ernaux
"A Girl's Story is a profound and beautiful examination of the impenetrable wall that time erects between the self we are, and the selves we once were. I know of no other book that so vividly illustrates the frustrations and the temptations of that barrier, and our heartache and longing in trying to breach it. Annie Ernaux is one of my favorite contemporary writers, original and true. Always after reading one of her books, I walk around in her world for months."
How to Pronounce Knife (2020)
Souvankham Thammavongsa
"Souvankham Thammavongsa writes with deep precision, wide-open spaces, and quiet, cool, emotionally devastating poise. There is not a moment off in these affecting stories."
Long Live the Post Horn! (2020)
Vigdis Hjorth
"Vigdis Hjorth is one of my favorite contemporary writers."
The Creep (2021)
Michael Lapointe
"A deep, weird and uncanny tale. I stayed up all night reading and then it gave me nightmares."
Happy Hour (2021)
Marlowe Granados
"Marlowe Granados writes with a delicious joy and confidence. She conveys frivolity without being frivolous, and describes the adventures and degradations of the lives of her characters with an intelligent distance and effervescence that is such a pleasure to read."
Fuccboi (2022)
Sean Thor Conroe
"Got under my skin in the way the best writing can."
Acts of Service (2022)
Lillian Fishman
"I was completely absorbed by this radical, daring and bracing novel about a so-cold and yet so-intimate world where safety and pleasure can only be found in the most unlikely and unpredictable of places. It is a book of exciting, provocative complexity, and, for me, it made the human creature feel like something new."

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