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Living in the shadow of the Selkirk Mountains in southeastern BC, the inhabitants of the Slocan Valley are tied together by magical and dramatic geography, but also by an intricate web of shared history, common needs and the deep and complex relationships that evolve in isolated locations, where everyone is visible and there is no anonymity. Tom Wayman's new short story collection, The Shadows We Mistake for Love, brings together loggers and environmentalists, marijuana growers and small-town lawyers, back-country skiers and homesteaders, to overlap and coalesce into a brilliant portrait of rural life and place.
Beneath the valley’s idyllic surface, conflict and tension flourish among its inhabitants, ranging from the intimate to the political. In the title story, the protagonist is drawn into an environmental activist group and a relationship with the group’s charismatic leader, but having a child quickly brings home the painful realities of the new life she’s chosen. Other stories depict the changes that are altering the social landscape of the valley, from the ubiquity of the Internet to an influx of affluent new residents. These developments emphasize the ways in which the sometimes rawer and more visible dramas of rural life reflect similar tensions in communities everywhere.
Tom Wayman has published three books of fiction, as well as more than a dozen collections of poems, six poetry anthologies and three collections of essays. His previous short story collection Boundary Country (Thistledown Press, 2007) was shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed award. His poetry has been awarded the Canadian Authors’ Association medal for poetry, the A.J.M. Smith Prize, first prize in the USA Bicentennial Poetry Awards competition, and the Acorn-Plantos Award; in 2003 he was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award. He has taught widely at the post-secondary level in Canada and the US, most recently (2002-2010) at the University of Calgary. He has been a resident of BC’s West Kootenay region since 1989.