Gisèle Villeneuve's short stories test the elastic pull between passion and terror. For inspiration, Villeneuve turned to her personal history to examine what lures urban dwellers outdoors, to test themselves against peaks and valleys. Using the overarching metaphor of mountain climbing, she plays with form, language, and narrative to reveal our fears, our loves, our passions. Rising Abruptly is a perfect companion for anyone who likes to travel, loves a climber, or simply glories in the allure of the mountains.
"Even the unassuming day trips deliver their moments. The whiteouts. The going off route. Scrambling back down on rock coated with verglas. Neither of us liking it one bit, but resolutely descending. Focusing on the moment that could change everything with one misstep. The four-hour scramble that begins on a sunny summer morning, stretching into the night to a seventeen-hour epic. There are such days, and they can happen an hour's drive from Calgary on a relatively small mountain.
Back to comfort, talking up a storm. Doing the post-mortem. Watching the tempest, still so real in our minds, relief and excitement printed on our windburned faces. Together, building story, across time and across silences.
Back to comfort then acquires a whole new meaning when you bear the land deep in the bone."
From "Assiniboine Crossroads"
About the Author
"Sept nouvelles impressionnantes, écrites dans une langue irréprochable, qui donnent — ou ne donnent pas — envie d'affronter les toits du monde."—Lettres québécoises
# 5 on Edmonton Fiction Bestsellers list, April 23, 2017
"Mountain climbing is a metaphor in the stories found in her new collection, "Rising Abruptly", which use form, language, and narrative to deal with raw emotions like fear, love, and passion... Villeneuve's stories convey to readers a sense of the dual nature of the mountains, which are at once hard, difficult, and intimidating, but also fragile. In fact, it is precisely the juxtaposition of two opposites that often fuels Villeneuve's writing." Prairie Books Now, Fall/Winter 2016—Paula F. Kirman, Prairie Books Now
These are not your typical alpinist accounts. The climbers are mothers, sisters and sexagenarians—the stories often focused on loved ones or filtered through the lenses of emotion and heightened perception. Desire, dread and madness run like an undertow, often threatening to overtake the characters These stories can be emotionally wrought, as off-kilter as their mountains, yet Villeneuve invites us into this thorny, exposed terrain with confidence. As a climber I found it gratifying to see women's desires so strongly expressed. Rising Abruptly is a complex, satisfying collection that bears reading again."—Elaine Morin,, Alberta Views