Auricle / Icebreaker
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“Alisha Piercy’s stunning debut collection, pivots between the tumult of lust, the freakishness of the extrasensory, and the menace of our interior worlds. Her prose has the fierce exactitude of dying words, and yet it lulls, beguiles, and winks with its sultriness. It can be sly. It can be horrifying. It can be funny. To hypnotic effect, Piercy achieves that rare feat of capturing the collective strangeness of the human experience. I will never see a crow, an ear, or an island the same way. I will carry this book in my breast pocket. I will read it again and again. Brilliant.” — Claudia Dey
Auricle: Inspired by a real, but unnamed medical subject from the 1850’s, Marie was born with growths on her neck, “other ears” which may or may not provide her with extra-sensory perception. According to her mother, and her doctor, Birkett, with whom she falls in love, they must be cut off. The operation is to take place in Buenos Aires. Wandering and waiting in a foreign city these off-the-map relationships seem to lie just outside the boundaries of what is percieved. Only Marie’s mother dreams outwards past Argentina: to her pen-pal F, and an island house she’s loaned to him for a double-recuperation: of both his health, and their childhood romance.
Icebreaker: Alice’s summer job is to work as a hostess and chambermaid on an icebreaker ship which has been converted to a B&B. She is islanded, both by the permanently docked ship and by her inner world. Like a sailor lost-at-sea herself, her real occupation is to harbour drunken friends in the abandoned rooms of the ship and to will her lover G to come be with her there. Whether he exists or not. Icebreaker circles around the appearance and disappearance of a first love, and explores the hazy territory of what may or may not have happened when we were thirteen.
The physical, the trivial, and the traumatic take on divine proportions in these spaces where everything is perceived in precise, ritualistic terms, where the secret to transcendence is not in occupying an otherworld but in living differently in this world.
Alisha Piercy is a Montreal-based writer, artist, and paintings conservator. Her recent installation at Fofa Gallery, Montreal, YOU HAVE HAIR LIKE FLAGS, FLAGS THAT POINT IN MANY DIRECTIONS AT ONCE BUT CANNOT PINPOINT LAND WHEN LOST AT SEA, a live wall drawing performance and chapbook (Your Lips to Mine Press, Montreal and Berlin, 2010). Piercy has worked on projects in Canada, Argentina, Iceland and Mexico, and has exhibited in Montreal, Kingston, and Halifax. Her next project is at the Reykjavik Culture Night Festival, a collaboration with Oskar Ericsson and local Boy Scouts who will set twenty-two rafts alight off the coast of Reykjavik. AURICLE / ICEBREAKER is her first book. She was born in Kingston, Ontario.