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, is now available as an e-book on and, and in print from New Star Books and 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.

Praise for The Smallest Objective

“Emptying her parents’ home furnishes Sharon Kirsch with the emotional drive to write a family history that is fascinating, meticulously researched, and full of yearning. I read it with pleasure.”
—Elizabeth Hay, author of the memoir All Things Consoled

“In this particularly well-crafted memoir, author Sharon Kirsch shares her experience of exploration, healing and loss. Akin to an intricately detailed slide under a microscope, this suite of stories, in fact, a collection of newly discovered memories, is a familial jigsaw puzzle—a series of mysteries, reassembled by way of meticulous research and the astute observation of a writer in her prime.
—Bill Arnott, The Miramichi Reader

“This new memoir is based on impeccable research, and the prose is equal parts unsentimental, edifying and engaging. Kirsch is especially forthright and honest when she writes about her mother, her failing health and her failing memory. She is equally adept in the way she juxtapositions the impending loss of her mother with her newfound family knowledge.”
—Sharon Chisvin, Winnipeg Free Press 


Sharon reading from The Smallest Objective