Paul Carlucci is the author of The Secret Life of Fission, which won the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. His stories have been widely published, appearing in The PuritanLittle FictionThe Malahat ReviewDescantCarouselEVENTRiddle Fence, among others. A recovering transient, he now lives in Ottawa after almost ten years of roaming across Canada and abroad.

The High-Rise in Fort Fierce

A gritty, Canadian Cormac McCarthy. A rich interplay between the characters and their surroundings, an environment that swarms the characters, sometimes inflicting harm.

Drugs. Violence. Racism. Despair. The tiny, northern town of Fort Fierce has issues in spades, and most of them fester in the high-rise by the lake.

In this visceral, emotionally raw, and completely absorbing collection, Carlucci takes his readers through the ravaged history of Franklin Place, from its construction during the Cold War to its demolition decades later. We meet the Franklins themselves, three generations of landlords, each more paranoid and alienated than the last. And we meet their tenants: a drug dealer, a lonely bigot, a political activist, a struggling father, a wandering sex offender, a woman who refuses to give into it all. They wander in and out of each other’s lives, with little in common but the building and the mould behind its walls.

In The High-Rise in Fort Fierce, Carlucci immerses us in a dim yet eerily familiar world. Love and death, conflict and compromise, fear, determination, and the tense relations between indigenous and settler populations thread the warp and weft of his dark and irrepressible tapestry. We cannot look away.