When the Bottom Falls Out

The past sits uneasily on the characters of these stories, whether on their native Isabella Island or in Montreal, where some of them now live. Life is ultimately lived according to the choices that were made, and retribution does not always go where it belongs. The wealthy and proper Higginsons have lived a lie that eventually must come out. Jen and Edwin are passionately in love, but can they shake off the shadow that hangs over their lives? In his quiet and subtle way, Thomas continues to bring alive a Caribbean island, giving depth and complexity to its characters.

“Novelist, short story writer and critic H Nigel Thomas has written a fantastic collection of short stories that reveals universal truths about human nature and the human condition.”
–Montreal Community Contact

“. . . Thomas (who was born and raised in St. Vincent) has produced a complex and specific portrait of a Caribbean nation and particularly of race within the continued effects of colonialism.”
The Globe and Mail

Praise for H Nigel Thomas’s Lives: Whole and Otherwise:

“In Thomas’ hands the interior monologue becomes a powerful tool for voicing character and experience. Time and again he demonstrates his skill at reproducing the speech patterns of characters with Caribbean origins to mesmerizing effect. . . . the stories contained in Lives Whole and Otherwise are all about shaking one frame or another. H. Nigel Thomas gives voice to a hard social reality that refuses the glib formulas of traditional narrative form.”
The Rover

Praise for Behind the Face of Winter:

“. . . a hard story, sometimes despairingly bleak, but it is also undeniably beautiful . . . worth reading–and rereading . . .”
Quill & Quire

Praise for Return to Arcadia:

“In lean, precise prose, Return to Arcadia journeys through the unspeakable and tabooed in the contemporary Caribbean, reminding us that the brutalities of slavery and colonialism continue to raise hell and fierce memory in the more secret realms of flesh and desire.”
–Thomas Glave, State University of New York

Thomas offers a fine story of forgiveness, self-actualization, and belonging.”
Montreal Review of Books


Publication Date: November 2014

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-927494-40-0
Page size: 5.75″ x 8.75″
180 pages

eBook ISBN: 978-1-927494-54-7

Photo of H Nigel Thomas

H Nigel Thomas is the author of six novels, three collections of short stories, and a previous collection of poems, in addition to dozens of essays. His novels Spirits in the Dark and No Safeguards were nominated for the Hugh MacLennan Fiction Award, and Des vies cassées, the French translation of Lives: Whole and Otherwise, was shortlisted for Le prix Carbet des lycéens. He holds the 2000 Professional of the Year Jackie Robinson Award, the 2013 Université Laval’s Hommage aux créateurs, the 2020 Black Theatre Workshop’s Martin Luther King, Jr Achievement Award, and is the 2022 winner of the Canada Council John Molson Prize for the Arts. In 2024, he was named a laureate for Black History Month in Montreal. He is also the founder and English-language coordinator of Lectures Logos Readings. A Vincentian Canadian, he has lived in the province of Quebec since 1968 and is a retired professor of United States literature.

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