Leona Theis writes of the accidents of small rebellion, courage and kindness that have the power to change who we are. With a spareness, clarity, and elegance of style, Leona Theis knows what needs to be large and small. Like the name of the town, Flat Hill, these stories are a study of opposites, mature and intelligent observations that show us ourselves, and our own points of departure.
– Sandra Birdsell
A girl who set small fires in a neighbour’s pasture in the 1960s, fantasizing about the havoc they caused the imaginary families who lived there, has her city home partially destroyed by fire thirty years later. A young woman who decides to leave her wheelchair-bound father in Flat Hill in the 1970s so she can have a life of her own, is seen single and childless in 1989, striving with only mixed success to keep her connection with friends whose lives are enriched by their own families.
Leona Theis uses flashbacks within stories, revisits characters at more than one time in their lives, and has main characters in one story appear as bit players in another. All to build a complex portrait of a group of people who share a single point of departure – Flat Hill. As the reviewer for the Globe and Mail commented, “with each new story, as names and relationships and landmarks recur and stick in the mind, a kaleidoscopic drama gathers and offers gratifying connections.”
No matter how accomplished and subtly rewarding each story in Sightlines is, what is finally most remarkable is how the individual stories fit together, demonstrating that in Leona Theis’s case the whole really is far greater than the sum of its parts. A very promising debut by a very talented writer.
– Guy Vanderhaeghe