South of Elfrida

By (author): Holley Rubinsky
ISBN 9781927366059
Softcover | Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Book Dimensions: 5.5 in x 7.5 in
240 Pages

About the Book

The nature of relationships is skilfully illuminated in this collection of stories by award-winning author Holley Rubinsky. South of Elfrida delves into the lives of those coming face to face with personal truths that require resilience, humour and the ability to change.

With a clear eye for the complexities of the human heart, Rubinsky’s stories take the reader to deeper understandings about the nature of love, loss and longing. Spare and rich with wit, these stories celebrate the act of self-renewal.

About the Author(s)

Holley Rubinsky is a Canadian fiction writer living in Kaslo, a village in the mountains of British Columbia. She is the author of At First I Hope for Rescue (Knopf Canada; Picador in the US), Rapid Transits and Other Stories (Polestar), and Beyond This Point (McClelland & Stewart). Winner of the $10,000 Journey Prize and a Gold Medal for fiction at the National Magazine Awards, her second book, At First I Hope for Rescue, was nominated for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Holley was the host of The Writers' Show, produced by CJLY, Nelson. Her stories have appeared in a number of anthologies, including The Penguin Anthology of Stories by Canadian Women. She passed away in 2015. Please visit


“In these tender and surprising stories, Rubinsky is the voice of a true original. Quirky, moving, and laugh-out-loud funny.” —Caroline Adderson, author of The Sky Is Falling and Pleased to Meet You

“The characters in Holley Rubinsky’s fourth book (and second collection of short stories) are simultaneously ordinary and quirky, predatory and loving…In a literary world where clever verbiage and narrative sleight-of-hand is too often celebrated over substance, Rubinsky’s voice is wise and straight-up.” —Coastal Spectator

“The descriptions are exquisite, as are the details of the characters’ lives. Holley Rubinsky is wise in the ways of the world and in the complications of the yearning heart.” —Alistair MacLeod

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the company of these fragile, tough, scarred, resilient characters. Populated by an ensemble cast who carry their homes with them as they move through trailer parks, emu farms, border crossings, and along dusty Arizona highways, this book is filled with indelible individuals who…arrive at surprising destinations, gather themselves together, and move on. This is a book to be treasured.” —Myrl Coulter, author of The House with the Broken Two

“If you’re like me, you’ll want to make your way through Holley Rubinsky’s South of Elfrida slowly, savouring the earthy quirkiness of her characters; the masterful sense of pace; the carefully constructed mise-en-scene of each short story. Even then you may find yourself going back over what you’ve read to reacquaint yourself with a turn of phrase that brought a bizarre kind of glamour to something mundane. Rubinsky’s words do have a way of staying with you.” —Dianne Linden, author of On Fire

“These eighteen stories are Holley Rubinsky’s gift to the world, each one equal parts intelligence, sadness and jokes. Her empathy for her characters is vast, her craft pitch-perfect, and each of these eighteen worlds is an authentic place with even-more authentic troubles. Many lives end in these pages, but just as many begin anew—stories swerve from the loss of wisdom to the wisdom of loss but are never less than absolutely joyful.” —Adam Lewis Schroeder, author of In the Fabled East

“The stories are acutely observed and very fluently written; they’re sometimes sad, sometimes funny, always engaging. I loved the desert landscapes and relished being plunged into a world not my own—one of people on the move, snowbirds, border-crossers, people between one thing and the next. And I really enjoyed the fauna. So much of modern fiction is merely human, but here characters relate passionately not only to each other, but also to their environments and the animals, domestic and wild, with whom they live.” —Kathy Page, author of The Story of My Face and Alphabet

“Rubinsky’s characters strive to redefine identities in flux. In the face of aging and other obstacles both corporeal and emotional, they manage a delicate balance between a sense of autonomy and a desire for belonging.” —The Winnipeg Review

“There’s a youthful exuberance about Holley Rubinsky’s stories.” —Story Circle Book Reviews