Paperback / softback
August 15, 2024
9.00 Inches (US)
5.25 Inches (US)
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.44 Pounds (US)
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v2.1 Reference

On Beauty


On Beauty is a provocative collection of moments, confessions, overheard conversations, and memories, both fleeting and crystalized, revolving around the small chasms and large craters of everyday life. Situated at the crossroads of prose and poetry, these 33 vignettes explore the rhythm, textures, and micro-moments of lives in motion, asking how decisions might connect and in turn affect the future. rob mclennan's brief stories play with form and language, capturing the act of record-keeping while in the process of living those records, offering a dappled, polaroid-like effect. Parenting and the intimate everyday warmth of home life figure prominently, as does the duplicity of memory and the immediacies of human grief, pain, and joy. Throughout the collection, the worlds of literature and art infuse into fragments of the everyday. mclennan's prose is rich, sensitive, and vivid, composed with a poet's eye for detail and ear for rhythm. A welcome record of human connection and belonging, On Beauty will leave readers grappling with metafictional questions of how stories are produced and passed through generations.

About the Author

The author of more than thirty books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, publisher and literary impresario rob mclennan's most recent titles include World's End, and essays in the face of uncertainties. He lives in Ottawa.


"What is the responsibility of 'building a person'? rob mclennan's On Beauty accumulates searing questions, and delves into the deep memory of consciousness 'held in amber.' How might we wake from loss and conduct internal excavations? He writes: 'The tricky part of our travel was in attempting to speak solo to my younger self. . . I woke before the narrative completed.' Woven with threads of ancestral memoir, this collage of stories collects the habits of those attempting to swerve from conventions of elegy—and what comes 'after.' We proceed through glowing fragments: 'paper dolls and Red Rose figurines. . . placed on every surface. Set out to safeguard.' A deeply moving portrait, from embryonic scrapbooks and quotidian diaries to the many births which compose a life. A deft encounter with what happens when—'We won't allow our dead to disappear.'" Laynie Browne, Intaglio Daughters"rob mclennan's On Beauty is an astonishing work of literary panache, a collection of brief, elliptical stories that make a virtue of their brevity, terse words carved out of the white space of the page, glowing with wit, startling juxtaposition, crashing sadness, and sly comedy. For each story there is an emotional core, the thing of the story, an ordinary human thing involving birth, death, marriage, and parenthood, around which mclennan elaborates swirling arabesques of language, image, and thought. Figure and ground, object and mystery. Author as a lone skater on a pristine sheet of ice, unscrolling his mind. mclennan's sentences are elegantly dramatic and precise. He is a master of the sapient aphorism, the exquisite detail, and cascading sequences of word associations that are pure poetry. Two things to notice especially in this regard: the stories are grounded in place (Ottawa and the Valley landscape streaming by), but there are a dozen very short texts all entitled "On Beauty," together to be read as part of mclennan's strategy of contrasting and alternating figure and ground. The real, the human, and the Canadian are set inside the frame of beauty. Beauty insists. All this life is beautiful, the author says."Douglas Glover, author of Elle and Savage Love"Written in a prose style that at times is so chrome-shiny it dazzles, On Beauty visits the vagaries of the questing mind, 'the secret origins of the everyday,' and the hopes, dreams, memories, and losses that burden us all. This is a superb collection." M.A.C. Farrant, author of Jigsaw: A Puzzle in Ninety-Three Pieces
University of Alberta Press
Robert Kroetsch Series

9781772127690 : on-beauty-mclennan
Paperback / softback
August 15, 2024
$24.99 USD

Other Titles by rob mclennan

wild horses

rob mclennan
Feb 2010 - University of Alberta Press
$21.99 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles from Robert Kroetsch Series

Rubble Children

Aaron Kreuter
Jul 2024 - University of Alberta Press
$26.99 USD - Paperback / softback


Patrick Grace
Feb 2024 - University of Alberta Press
$19.99 USD - Paperback / softback


Dawn Macdonald
Feb 2024 - University of Alberta Press
$19.99 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles in FICTION / Short Stories

Drowned Town

Jayne Moore Waldrop
Nov 2024 - Fireside Industries, an imprint of University Press of Kentucky
$24.95 USD - Hardback
$24.95 USD - Electronic book text
$24.95 USD - Electronic book text

The Complete Short Stories, Volume 1

Enid Dinnis. Introduction by Julia Meszaros and Bonnie Lander Johnson.
Jun 2024 - The Catholic University of America Press
$29.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Enough to Lose

RS Deeren
Sep 2023 - Wayne State University Press
$19.99 USD - Paperback / softback