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How To Tell If Your Frog Is Dead

How To Tell If Your Frog Is Dead

By Julie Roorda

A tour guide leads a Valentine's Day-themed ghost walk, visiting the sites of horrific, yet romantic, deaths. A homicide cop solves tough cases using tips from his plants. Scientists discover a new species of religiously observant gophers, and a young math whiz, on the hunt for her escaped boa constrictor, ponders the theory of multiple worlds. Replete with dark humour and cheeky interrogations of philosophy and metaphysics, the thirty-three stories in How to Tell if Your Frog is Dead expose the fundamental absurdity of the human condition.


Guernica Editions (Essential Prose Series)


220 pages |

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The title story of Julie Roorda’s sixth book made me smile: the deadpan narrator explains the difficulty of maintaining the well-being of your pet African clawed frog and the life lessons it can teach your child when it doesn’t get what it needs. The next story involves a shy young man on a bus who sees an image of himself on the tablet of a woman sitting near him; in the photo they are clearly together, yet he is certain he has never seen her before. The one after that takes us on a Valentine’s Day Haunted Tour through Toronto. Plus 30 more similarly unhinged stories.

Toronto Sun

One of the most beguiling attributes of the short-story genre is its malleability. These stories are shape-shifters, tugging and testing the elasticity of the form in ways that often subvert readerly expectations.

Quill and Quire

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About the author

Julie Roorda is the author of three volumes of poetry Eleventh Toe (2001), Courage Underground (2006) and Floating Bodies (2010), and a collection of short stories Naked in the Sanctuary (2004) all published by Guernica Editions. Her novel for young adults Wings of a Bee was published by Sumach Press in 2007.