Wallflowers by Eliza Robertson


by Eliza Robertson

From windswept Pacific beaches to the inner reaches of the human heart, Wallflowers is a shimmering and often surprising journey of discovery, with many unexpected turns along the way. Eliza Robertson has created a cast of unique and wholly engaging characters. Here there are swindlers and innocents, unlikely heroes and gritty survivors; they teach us how to trap hummingbirds, relinquish dreams gracefully, and feed raccoons without getting bitten. “Wish you were here” letters on a road trip parallel a woman’s painful trip into her family’s dysfunctional past; reminiscences of a beloved sibling are inextricably bound up with calamity; and roommate problems lead to a surprising (and skin-crawling) revelation. Robertson smashes stereotypes even as she shows us remarkable new ways of experiencing the world—and of relating to our fellow human beings.

Quirky and masterful, Wallflowers is a bouquet of unconventional delights from a powerful new voice.


“One of our country’s most inventive and exciting new writers.”
—Joseph Boyden

“A stunning collection, bold and diverse, with a youthful verve but with the sort of polish one expects from more seasoned writers. . . a powerful, thought-provoking and rewarding read.”
—Vancouver Sun

“Beautifully executed, wrought with evident care and the kind of artistry that is born much more easily than it can be taught.”
—Globe and Mail

“An absolutely stunning collection. Without question it announces a major talent. . . There are doubtless many awards in her future.”
—Toronto Star

“Tremulous, tender, indeed, Munro-esque”

“A little bit dark. A little bit weird. Eliza Robertson is Canada’s next big lit star.”

Wallflowers contains great story after great story after great story. . . proof that this up-and-coming writer has finally arrived.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“Wonderfully weird.”

“Sentence by sentence, rhythm for rhythm, Robertson's prose can stand alongside any writer I think to name.  But her style and her stories are uniquely her own, at once observant and playful, sometimes wise, sometimes ironic, always lyrical and always haunting.  These aren't just windows into characters' lives: they're windows into human experience.”
— DW Wilson, author of Ballistics

“This is a moving and surprising collection of stories. Wallflowers has such a variety of subjects and voices—which in itself I admire—but there’s unity in the presence of objects, those inanimate things that sit on the bedside and watch our tragedies unfold. It feels like a history of the objects we reach for, the things we can’t get, and the things that outlast everyone. Robertson is a writer who has a kinship with those objects–detached, playful, watching, wise to the fact that these dramas will play out.”
— Colin McAdam, author of A Beautiful Truth

“With grace, beauty and true grit, Eliza Robertson makes the familiar shockingly and blindingly fresh, like the world after a cleansing rain. A stripper's deodorized armpits glow under black lights, a desperate boy sails to China, levies burst, and there's fire and conflagrations of the soul. There are no wallflowers here, only stories dancing to their fierce heartbeats right up to the edge of the cliff -- and sometimes over.”
— Zsuzsi Gartner, author of Better Living Through Plastic Explosives





Joseph Boyden talks to Eliza Robertson about Wallflowers, his favourite book of the year (The Walrus)

Q and A with Eliza Robertson: The writer with wanderlust (Ottawa Citizen)

Eliza Robertson's debut collection of short stories examines the disaffected in stunningly powerful stories.(Toronto Star)

The National Post review Eliza Robertson’s (Wallflowers)

Wallflowers: The perks of Eliza Robertson’s debut short fiction collection(Globe and Mail)

Eliza Robertson on her new book, the best advice she’s received and more (Globe and Mail)



My Stories Think By the Way They See