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Border Markers

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  15 reviews
After the accidental death of a high school-aged friend, the Lansing family has split along fault lines previously hidden under a patina of suburban banality. Every family's got secrets, but for the Lansings those secrets end up propelling them away from the border town of Lloydminster to foreign shores, prison, and beyond.

Told via thirty-three flash fiction narratives, fr
Paperback, 101 pages
Published September 14th 2016 by NeWest Press
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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Sep 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
A well-written, quick read. Although it is fictional, this book was particularly nostalgic as it is set in my hometown. The author does a good job of capturing the "darker side" of prairie life, and living in an oilfield town. The only downside for me was that I wanted to read more! The book left me wanting to learn more about the characters and how their stories end. ...more
Laura Creedle
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Border Markers traces the descent of the Lansing family in the wake of a tragedy with perfect economy and precision. Details are everything in Flash fiction, and Ferguson gets all the details right—from the son in prison waiting impatiently for the reading cart full of cast-off books from the Edmonton public library, to the pregnant girl working the drive through window of Tim Hortons. Beautifully rendered characters, and an immersive read. I couldn't put it down. ...more
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I devoured Border Markers in one delicious sitting. A haunting story told through multiple points of view in flash-fiction chapters, this one reveals its mysteries to the reader bit by bit. I wasn't ready for it to end! ...more
Jonathan Peto
Apr 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: debuts, novels
I just finished reading Every Living Thing by Cynthia Rylant to my fourth grade class. As I read it, I occasionally thought of Dear Life by Alice Munro. Both collections of stories are heart-renderingly bleak. It’s not that I don’t read for reality, but if it reminds me of small towns and “suburban banality”, I often run for cover. Life has not turned me into a shiny, happy people and I’m not interested in only reading about them, but I don’t want my reading to fill me with despair either.

Both o
Ashley Martin
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A stirring and intimate look into different lives connected by a common tragedy, BORDER MARKERS captures the weighty emotions of grief, despair, longing, and hope with beautiful prose and a unique flash fiction format. Jenny does an amazing job of dropping us into the middle of the characters' lives and guiding us though the fissures of a broken world and the people struggling to piece it back together. ...more
Tracy Gold
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A haunting read that plays with form and character. Each section can be considered as a piece of flash fiction on its own, yet the whole paints a haunting picture of a small town full of quirks and grieving. Characters' near misses and internal battles are brought to light in details as mundane as birthday cake and exotic as the dying breaths of a neighbor in a foreign country. ...more
Sakae Manning
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Border Markers is an usually constructed collection of connected flash fiction that makes for a novel by the final page. I loved how the characters kept poking up in different pieces, interrelating (literally related in many cases), and somehow these lives intersected in unexpected and cool ways. I appreciated being able to read a few pieces/chapters and finding myself back with the parents of a character I read about, drawing connections to that character. It was clever and kept me engaged.

As f
Ava Homa
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Deftly-written novel in short stories. Subtle and masterfully crafted. You cannot remove a sentence from this book without damaging the story. Every sentence is important and yet what is left out is a lot more important. You feel the underlying simmering tension between apparently mundane matters and daily interaction. It is as much about life in prairies as it is about human connections and their lack of.

A pleasant break from "mainstream" novels, Border Makers will engage your imagination and d
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
A slim volume of flash fictions pieces that, woven together, present a larger story. Ferguson uses this format well. The title has layers of meaning, as characters move between geographic locations and also feel for the boundaries within a variety of relationships. We see vignettes showing how each life is self-contained and yet not. How the actions of one person has a ripple effect into the lives of surrounding them. There isn't really one central character, but many of the piece explore reacti ...more
Heidi Stallman
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable and immersive read. Jenny Ferguson does a beautiful job giving us the small details that illuminate the characters' mood, situation and place in a small border town in Canada. I especially enjoyed the flash fiction told from the Lansing children's POV - Poppy and Chuck, whose lives fell apart after the death of a high school friend. Poppy's story is especially poignant as she navigates the Mexican countryside haunted by her dead boyfriends' ghost. I wasn't ready for these stories to en ...more
Elizabeth Zertuche
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Border Markers is a collection of hauntingly vivid bite-sized stories unraveling the lives of a family impacted by tragedy and the community which served as its backdrop. Jenny Ferguson's debut novel written in flash fiction is rich in dialogue and engaging characters. I enjoyed how the novel is crafted by the point of view of different characters. I was drawn to their stories. The book left me with a sense of how misfortune need not lead to hopelessness. ...more
Stacy Robbins
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this in one sitting, I just couldn't put it down. The story behind the snapshot told from each person's perspective. Immersive and touching, it kept in the moment until the end. ...more
Sarah Sammis
101 pages of micro-fiction that sort of ties together into one bigger narrative.
Cynthia Marie
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I began reading Border Markers and it flows so beautifully that I didn't want to put it down. The multiple narrators each tell their intimate stories in short flash fiction chapters showing how they are affected by guilt, pain, loss, grief, not belonging, but eventually hopefulness. Soon the reader discovers the interconnectedness of these characters. The quality of Jenny Ferguson's writing made me want to continue reading, not to figure out a plot, but to learn how all the characters are connec ...more
Catherine Brown
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fast paced read but not quickly forgotten. Still thinking about how much I enjoyed this book 4 months after I read it!
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Jenny Ferguson is Métis, an activist, a feminist, an auntie, and an accomplice with a PhD. She believes writing and teaching are political acts. BORDER MARKERS, her collection of linked flash fiction narratives, is available from NeWest Press. She lives in Haudenosaunee Territory, where she teaches at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

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