Winner of the 2021 Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction
The characters in The Archivists are everyday people, but when private losses or the shocks of history set their worlds reeling, they find connection and liberation in surprising, buoyant ways. Winner of the Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction, this vibrant collection brings transcendence, wry humor, and a touch of the uncanny to life’s absurdities and catastrophes—whether the 2008 economic crash, fallout after the 2016 presidential election, gentrification, pandemic lockdown, illness, or the intergenerational impacts of the Holocaust and Communist occupation of Eastern Europe.
A hardheaded realist is confronted by both her mortality and a would-be wizard. A thirteen-year-old girl in 1950s Toronto infiltrates the ranks of Bell Canada. A ninety-nine-year-old woman appears to be invincible. A group hikes in Germany, and a solitary woman is pursued on a walk in New Mexico. These deeply moving stories ingeniously consider issues of identity, history, and memory and our shared search for meaning in an off-kilter world.