“‘Push-Me-Pull-You’ describes the almost impossible balancing act that the mother of an emotionally damaged child must perform every day.... It is both tough and loving. I can’t imagine a finer piece on this subject.” ― Mark Abley, Prairie Fire Non-fiction Contest Judge^
“‘Pathology’ tells the story of a painful father-daughter relationship without falling into self-pity, nor being taken over by anger... here is a writer who has a strong sense of the necessary shape of her piece.” ― Sharon Butala, Event Creative Non-fiction Contest Judge^
“‘At Lingyin Si’ compels raptness from the reader. It is fluid, intense, and suffused with magic.” ― Ross Laird, Event Creative Non-fiction Contest Judge^
“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.” ― Keith Maillard^
“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.” ― Nino Ricci
Written with as much lyricism, detail, and artfulness as the best short stories, the essays in Pathologies provide all the pleasures of fiction combined with the enrichment derived from the careful presentation of fact. Susan Olding is indisputably one of Canada's finest new writers, one who has taken the challenging, much-underused form of the literary essay and made it her own.