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The Only Thing I Have

The Only Thing I Have

By Rhonda Waterfall
Categories: Fiction, Women's Literature
Paperback : 9781551522937, 160 pages, 2009
Read Excerpt (PDF)


Featured in Geist magazine and The Globe and Mail

A new and daring voice, Rhonda Waterfall writes with clarity about the simple, utter truths of human relationships: the small yet essential things that could change our lives if only we let them. She introduces us to two contrasting worlds, one with the startling realism of everyday life and one where the world has been knocked askew.

In the story "When You Are Gone," a
woman runs away from her domestic situation, holed up in a downtown hotel where she imagines a life away from her stagnant marriage. In "Shooting the Driver," a young boy dreams of sailing to Alaska just before his arrest. There is Palma in "Moths," who navigates her loneliness by becoming the mother to a swarm of moths. And in "Paul and the Girl," a man comforts a young woman who is haunted by visions of planes
crashing and buildings falling.

In Rhonda Waterfall's unsettling, evocatively written stories, life unfolds in odd, unpredictable ways: a murderous plot revealed through Post-It notes; a film director who will do anything to recapture his lost youth; an elderly woman who finds the love of a child in a marrow squash. Throughout, her characters are noble in the face of heartache, and human amidst the surreal darkness and light.


Rhonda Waterfall has a true genius for narrative; her characters are everyday people who seem to lead everyday lives, but the everyday worlds that they inhabit (so like and unlike our own) are "complexified" by the strange turnings and obscure pitfalls of a unique, unrepeatable and remorseless reality.
-Stephen Osborne, publisher of Geist magazine

- Stephen Osborne

Waterfall delivers the Freudian psyche, a mind divided against itself, the unconscious burbling under the ego's calm surface like Old Faithful getting ready to blow. Her characters are moved by forces beyond their reckoning. They're capable of anything---murders, marital rebellion, reckless liaisons, head-first plunges. It makes for a disastrously good read.
-Charlotte Gill, The Globe and Mail

- The Globe and Mail

Rhonda Waterfall does a great job of capturing human dissatisfaction and distraction.

- Herizons

Rhonda Waterfall's collection The Only Thing I Have assesses the damage our hearts sustain as we find love, keep love or avoid it like the plague. In succinct, Carveresque prose, Waterfall creates remarkable protagonists obsessed with starlet pixies, squash, lost infants, pregnant throats, ghosts in telephone poles and above all the sheer longing requisite in being alive. This book's a rare find--brilliant, heartfelt stories that are addictive as salty popcorn.

-Adam Lewis Schroeder, author of Kingdom of Monkeys

- Adam Lewis Schroeder

What ties these stories together is how easily, and with what expertise, the characters deceive themselves, a trait that is coupled with their refusal to change their own lives. ... At their best, these stories are engaging and surprising.
-Quill & Quire

- Quill & Quire

These stories are short, sharp, and fiercely smart. It's impossible not to be affected by the sly strangeness of this excellent debut.
-Annabel Lyon, author of The Golden Mean

- Annabel Lyon