Winner, Creative Nonfiction Collective’s Readers’ Choice Award, 2010
Long-listed for Canada Also Reads, 2009
Nominated for the Creative Nonfiction Collective’s Readers’ Choice Award, 2009
Long-listed for the BC Award for Canadian Non-fiction
The Globe and Mail. “Wise…the book is filled with…well-wrought, pithy observations about life, pain, parenting, illness, and other essential components of human existence.”
Portage Daily Graphic/Central Plains Herald-Leader. “…Olding brings new life to everyday language, just as she brings vitality and grace to the essay, a genre that has, at least in recent years, been neglected and too narrowly conceived. She reminds us that, in the hands of great writers (Virginia Woolf comes to mind), the personal essay can be a thing of beauty, all the more enticing for the freely subjective ground it covers….Perceptive readers rejoice to find aspects of their own lives illuminated by such a skillful hand. ”
The Vancouver Sun commends these “smartly presented essays” for their “excruciating clarity” and “surgical skill.”
Magazines and Journals
Matrix “Pathologies may be Susan Olding’s first book, but there is nothing amateur about it…sharply critical, yet sensitive and introspective…a smart and courageous first collection.”
Malahat Review “Great creative non-fiction offers more than words on a page; it jolts you at a visceral level. George Orwell wrote, ‘Good prose is like a window pane.’ Pathologies provides that framework, then startles you with an inside view that appears eerily familiar at times. It’s like looking through a window and seeing all your belongings in someone else’s house.”
The Harbour Spiel Theresa Kishkan calls Pathologies “a deeply intelligent and original book.”
Ascent Magazine. “[Olding} uses stylistic innovations and skilled language to create literary essays so honest and convincing, we don’t even care how fallible and partial memory may be." Editors' Pick.
Quill & Quire "Olding’s creative blending of straight first-person narrative with unconventional stylistic motifs (lyrical quotations from Keats, symbolic excerpts from medical and other reference sources, temporal shifts, memories) serves to destabilize the traditional definition of the literary essay. Through a series of thoughtful meditations, the reader is left with the singular impression of having witnessed firsthand the creation of a vivid self-portrait."
She Reads and Reads: "I am in awe of writers like [Nancy] Mairs and Olding who transform the dross of everyday life into the gold of art—an alchemy I still aspire to. I highly recommend this book and hope Olding is working on her next one!”
Owl’s Nest Blog. “Olding has stories to tell, and she tells them with such heartbreaking beauty that I was in tears by page 15. It’s not all sadness, however; Olding is witty, compassionate, and insightful, and her ability to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary makes for a thoroughly enjoyable read.”
rob mclennan “How does she manage to write pieces with such force, talking about the small essential moments…”
Interview on rob mclennan’s 12 or 20 Questions.
Hear an interview about Pathologies on CKUA Radio
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR PATHOLOGIES
“Susan Olding’s work combines the visceral force of lived experience with the nuance and narrative drive of the best fiction. These essays are much more than essays, tracing the path from our pathologies to our deepest mysteries and fears and our most cherished hopes.”
“Susan Olding’s father was a pathologist, a man who studied the nature of disease, the essence of it—a man who brought home a human heart. In these superbly written personal essays, Olding too is going for the essential, going straight to the human heart. We could call her warm, wise, funny, honest, sincere, and open—and she is—but what she has done here is even better than that. Pathology is built from the Greek roots pathos and logos—suffering and the word. Writing is Olding’s science; her words clarify pain. As she was changed by her experience, by writing about it, we are changed by reading her words. Her father once laid human organ tissue on a counter and challenged her: ‘Go ahead, Susie… You’ve had a good look… Name it.’ She has.”