Sharon Kirsch is a writer of fiction, narrative non-fiction and journalism with a particular interest in how individuals are transformed by experiences of the new and the unfamiliar. What Species of Creatures, her non-fiction book about the first Europeans in Canada and their encounters with exotic “beasts,” is a recommended title from Canada’s National History Society. “Animals Out of Turn,” a selection from a larger work in progress, imagines how the arts, scientific understanding, alchemy and even culinary tradition shape our interactions with other species.

Sharon’s second book of narrative non-fiction, The Smallest Objective, will be forthcoming from New Star Books, Vancouver, later this year. The objective, the microscope lens belonging to the narrator’s grandfather, enables great clarity of vision. It counts, too, as one of many items the narrator retrieves from her family home as she pursues the rumour of buried treasure. Together, these objects and the several personalities they represent—a celebrated bum turned raconteur, a botanist, a young woman seized with newfound opportunities—offer a vantage point on 20th-century Montreal. Not least is the narrator’s mother, battling memory loss as her daughter reveals a legacy of unexpected secrets and willed forgetfulness.