We Have Never Lived On Earth
"Love in the age of microplastics."
Kasia Van Schaik's debut story collection follows the journey of Charlotte Ferrier, a child of divorce raised by a single mother in a small town in British Columbia after moving from South Africa. The stories traverse the most intimate, violent, and transforming moments of female experience in a world threatened by ecological crisis. Charlotte navigates relationships—with lovers, parents, friends, and environments—as they form and fray. Mother and daughter wait out the end of a bad year in a Mexican hotel; a friendship is tested as forest fires demolish Charlotte's town; a childhood friend disappears while travelling through Europe; and a girl on the beach examines the memories of dying jellyfish. Each story asks: how do we find connection in a world shaped by isolation? How do we accept the new? Written in startling, poetic prose, We Have Never Lived On Earth captures the feelings and experiences of being a woman: physical and psychological threat, creativity, disappointment, objectification, and desire. Calling to mind Alice Munro's precocious Del Jordan and Rachel Cusk's Faye, these powerful portraits of female interiority balance nostalgia, fear, and hope for the future as they tell of the struggle to understand what it means to live on earth.
About the Author
"We Have Never Lived On Earth contains a bright humour, a sharpness. There's an authentic, human thrumming behind these stories. With their focus on mothers, fathers, and daughters, these linked stories explore how initial models of care feed into our romantic loves. Kasia Van Schaik captures the souring phase of relationships, where the glue has become brittle and two individuals begin to lean away from each other. Yet the characters forge their way through these moments of dislocation with grace, humour, and the perfect amount of self-awareness, which makes the reader laugh out loud, or nod knowingly. At least it did for me." Eliza Robertson, author of Demi-Gods
"Few writers can work with memory as vividly as Kasia Van Schaik—fusing fiction and remembrance with confidence, sensitivity and the shivering logic of dream. These are stories that glitter and then duck away from view, like a swimmer half-discerned. A beautiful book you can't forget." Sean Michaels, Giller Prize-winning author of Us Conductors and The Wagers
"A riff on loneliness. Exquisitely written. Profoundly moving. A must read." Rosemary Sullivan, OC, award-winning author
"In Kasia Van Schaik's visionary stories a generation will recognize its rootlessness and frail sense of futurity, as well as its desire for grace. We Have Never Lived on Earth is a beautiful collection that explores all realms of experience—what we see and what we dream. I couldn't get enough of this work's exquisite precision and depth." Seyward Goodhand, author of Even That Wildest Hope
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