Cover Image: Of Echoes Born

Of Echoes Born

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

this collection of short stories had a lot of heart and a lot of cuteness, but i'm afraid they were just... dull. most of them i'd give around three stars, so that's the rating i'm using for the collection as a whole. this may appeal to people who want a fluffy, slice-of-life sort of anthology, but that's not really my thing. so perhaps it's just a classic case of "it's not you, it's me."

Was this review helpful?

I love good stories and the power they have to quickly connect with readers. This book is highly enjoyable and leaves you wanting to read more about the author.

Was this review helpful?

I will not stop saying that there should be an Of Echoes Born in every library and every high school and everywhere a queer person might find it and see themselves.

I am not particularly fond of anthologies; in fact about a year ago I decided not to read them anymore. I don't enjoy the inevitability of being pulled into and away from characters, emotionally investing in them and then being told to move on. But I've been wanting to read a Nathan Burgoine book for a while, and was promised a collection of unabashedly queer stories with (videogame reference alert) easter-eggs scattered like jewels between them, and so I simply had to read Of Echoes Born.

TL,DR: Nathan Burgoine is a magician, probably. Not once while reading this did it even cross my mind that a story felt unfinished or that I was being forced to move on. Of Echoes Born is incredibly atmospheric and vivid; each story is packed with feeling and fully explored.

All of it is set around the Village (Burgoine's imagined Canadian queertopia) but each story has its own aesthetic and mood and even a unique colour-palette. And it's really really romantic!! All the sweet moments between the couples are adorable and special and made me irl smile so big. The book had my heart from the very start with the most accurate description of life with migraines in high school, when Christian's thoughts open with a "Maybe he was dying. Maybe he was going mental. Either way, he was totally blowing off third period English."

When I think of this book, I'm thinking "There should be a whole shelf of this book in every bookstore and library in the world." Of Echoes Born is a perfect expression of what Romance is to me. Burgoine has crafted a strange and wonderful world where magic happens and people have powers and all the queers fall in love and get happily ever afters. It's filled with the tiny extraordinary moments of being alive and being in love and it pulls at heartstrings and takes us on adventures and stretches our imaginations to see bright things in otherwise-ordinary moments. It's also got a super accessible fantasy vibe (if you're a reader like me, who can't quite get all the way into fantasy but wants a lil' magic) and really cool pacing. As you're figuring the character's "power" out --asking questions, wondering about the possibilities and limitations-- another character is asking those same questions.

Not in AGES, has the ending of a book so entirely thrilled me in this way! The final story is a rollercoaster of feelings and memories of the stories you've just read. And when it ended, my heart leapt at how the whole story settles in to a new understanding. Suddenly the cover, the title, the opening line --EVERYTHING-- makes a whole new level of magic. All the lives and stories and loves I'd been reading fell into place among each other. I would recommend the book for the brilliance of that setup alone. But is it so much more.

Of Echoes Born is filled with stories of art and artists. Of their love at different stages of life. We meet: A boy who sees colours when he looks at people, and the girl at school who helps him develop a manual to understand what it all means. A man who returns to his hometown, where his ex lives and the ocean speaks to him and everyone only buys local. A love affair on a working wine farm, which I simply cannot get out of my head. A man who inherits his teacher's art collection and hides out in his studio while he figures out what to do with everything he’s just been given. A man repainting a mural in honour of local queer heroes, and the guy crushing on him from the magic crystal shop across the street. A power-couple who made a fashion label and a life together, looking back on it as one of them loses sense of time. A man dealing with the frustrations of having an annoying manager on duty at work, and the rooftop conversations with a security guard who is the relief from the stress. A boy who was struck by lightning and can tell the future, who's just trying to get good reviews for his psychic testimonial website.

A booklover with a faulty heart falls in love with a boy who can heal him, but there's a catch. An investigator joins a lifedrawing class to meet the artist who sends in mysterious tip-off sketches of murderers. A quiet Winter story of highschool acquaintances uncovering their not-so-secrets while they build a snowman. We step onto a train and step back in time and find so much love in the tiny space of a carriage, so much love that it changes history.

And I still cannot stop thinking about the dessert wine story.

A particularly special mention must be made that Nathan Burgoine not only gave his queer characters happy endings, but he gave his love stories to queer characters with a diversity of physical abilities. We meet a colourblind security guard, a winemaker who learns to sign while living with his deaf lover, a teenage boy with chronic migraines, a soldier who has recently gone blind, and several characters with long-term illnesses.

And while it seems like a lot to deal with in one book, there is so much tenderness and light and love streaming through all aspects of this collection that the aspects of reality --the illnesses, struggles, coping with death-- bring the magic closer to us. If this book is (as Nathan says in the Acknowledgements) to show queer people thriving, to give us hope, it succeeds especially because it does not shy away from what makes life hard for all of us, gay or straight. (Or bi! It's one word in one second of the book but it matters!) Of Echoes Born gives joy and sex and laughter to characters across a spectrum of people often overlooked. It's a book I highly recommend reading, purchasing for your local libraries and youth organisations, and gifting to any queer kids and newly-out friends in your life.

Content Warnings: a miscarriage, mention of sexual abuse by a parent, mention of queer bashing, mention of homophobic violence, brief mention of a partner's infidelity, death of a loved one, mention of cancer.

Was this review helpful?

’Nathan Burgoine is one of my favorite authors and Of Echoes Born is a lovely short story collection of queer tales! Deeply moving and emotional! I had a lot of fun reading it and would highly recommend it!

Was this review helpful?

A beautiful collection of short stories from a talented writer. Love the magic and the intersection of characters.

Was this review helpful?

A fabulous collection of short stories that are inter-connected by common characters. By saying collection was a page turner, I don’t mean I felt rushed, more that the characters pulled me along gently, wanting me to travel with them in their journey. A greasy introduction to ‘Nathan Burgoine’s work, I will be reading more by him.

Was this review helpful?

This is absolutely an amazing anthology. Each story is so well done and connected it at times moved me to tears. The writing is superb and all the stories shine on their own and as connected pieces

Was this review helpful?

Thankyou to NetGalley, Bold Strokes Books Inc and the author Nathan Burgoine for the opportunity to read an advanced readers copy of the book Of Echoes Born.
I found the short stories easy to read and beautifully written. Definitely worth a read.

Was this review helpful?

This is such a beautiful collection of stories. Some of them are gently romantic and some of them are quite haunting, but each one is special and very satisfying. I'm not a great fan of anthologies because I often find that the stories are just too short but in this volume even though each story is short, each story is fully complete and deep, and fully told.

I knew that I was going to enjoy this book because I enjoy everying that I read from this author but I didn't know how much I was going to enjoy this.

The volume starts with a story about a young man who sees people in different colours. Each colour has meaning and tells him more about the person that he sees and he also sees visions because he is gifted. It is a gift that runs through his family and one that he eventually learns to accept but not before growing in his gift and understanding it.

The very first story then acts as a kind of theme for the rest of the stories and each new story is introduced with an explanation about what a colour means. The colour green introduces us to story where a business partner is envious of the man who he does business with and this leads to tragedy. The colour purple introduces us to story about an elderly couple are facing dementia and terminal illness. Each story has a beautiful introduction and then unfolds into a beautiful story.

Much as I loved reading these, I think each of the stories could be developed into a standalone novel because then my satisfaction would be so much deeper.

The writing is perfect for me. Just the right phrases and language for each story. The right pace, the right endings, the right characters, everything fits together so beautifully.

It's just a perfect anthology.

Copy provided by Bold Stroke Books via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Was this review helpful?

5+++ Mind blowing, spiritual, magical and endearing.

Several stories - several beauties - several deeply moving colorful stories

I was blown away by this book, by the way it’s written. So much symbolic and magic it was amazing impressive.
Each story had its own beauty and every single one was even more stunning than the other.
Dazzling themes with unbelievable gifted people ... I was just so impressed how this was woven.

Throughout the whole story there were beautiful colors who were enchanting and put a spell on me. The vibration that came from every page was so tangible. I cried ugly tears...
Deeply moving, emotional ... I’m in awe..... an absolute mustread for the ones who love all what I said above!!

Kindly received an arc from the publisher

Was this review helpful?

This is a terrific tale of intertwining stories that will make your think and absolutely make you feel!'s set in my home country of Canada! So how could I NOT love it?? :)

Was this review helpful?

I was initially drawn in by the cover, but the Of Echoes Born blurb convinced me to stay and read. I always enjoy well written short stories, so the promise of a varied collection of them by a new-to-me author was one I couldn't pass up. Of Echoes Born contains plenty of hints of romance, but the focus is more on highlighting voices. Each story served like a snapshot in time of a defining moment in that particular character's life- when they've find solace, strength, or confidence in themself. The writing was crisp and flowed, the characters interesting, the stories memorable.

Each story was distinct but there was a cohesiveness that made the transitions seamless. This was enhanced when characters, places, important names would pop up from story to story, uniting the theme almost giving nods to those who came before. While I enjoyed each short, my favorite aspect were the bookends of the collection. It was a surprise, tying everything together and leaving me covered in goosebumps. If you enjoy short stories, Of Echoes Born is certainly worth the read.

Was this review helpful?