Of Echoes Born by 'Nathan Burgoine

kmanos's review against another edition

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dark emotional hopeful mysterious reflective sad fast-paced


terriaminute's review against another edition

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funny hopeful reflective medium-paced


Why did I wait to read this???

There and Then: so good. Genuinely stunning. And it provides the frame for the rest of the stories.
Time and Tide: Intriguing.
Pentimento: Marvelous.
A Little Village Magic: Oh my goodness. Funny and sweet.
The Psychometry of Snow: Best read slowly, to miss nothing. 
The Finish: Oof. 
Here Be Dragons: Oh boy this one got to me. 
Struck: This one's fun. 
Heart: Devastating. 
Negative Space: Perfect ending. 
Elsewhen: Great, clever. 
Here and Now: And here we complete the circle. Spectacular. 

I usually avoid story collections and anthologies because the percentage I enjoy is invariably low. Well, Burgoine blew that average out of the water with Of Echoes Born. I want to hug it, but I bought the kindle version, so I'll just have to settle for pointing y'all at it in case it's for you, too.

authorjendesmarais's review against another edition

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Every story got better than the last, as improbable as that sounds. The interwoven details were a nice touch.
I honestly don't think I can pick a favourite character, they were all so incredible. Maybe Bao. He was pretty awesome.
Colours link every story. Absolutely incredible. I'm still reeling.

stephengrahamking's review against another edition

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A beautiful batch of intricately woven tales, all bound together by common characters and places. It's not often that stories can make my heart both ache and soar at the same time, but this book does. Love, love, love these tales.

0ri's review

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emotional hopeful inspiring
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes


As always, this author amazes. Love his stories. He includes enough nods to how things are that we stay rooted in reality, but enough hope to show how things could be.

endemictoearth's review

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challenging emotional hopeful mysterious reflective sad
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes


kukushka's review

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Read: 7 October, 2018

This collection absolutely blew me away. I tend to struggle a lot with short stories - by the time I've found my footing with the characters and the setting, it's already all over. Things happen to characters and I just don't really feel what I know I'm supposed to be feeling because they are still strangers.

But Of Echoes Born was more like Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. The characters were so strong that I got an immediate sense of them. Burgoine will give me a whole love story in a handful of pages and I will feel it - I will feel that attraction the characters have for each other, I will understand their little inside jokes, I will totally buy into the love that they share.

Which, of course, just made my heart so much easier to break - which Burgoine did, again and again throughout the book. It never felt gratuitous or manipulative, though. Burgoine breaks, but he also heals, and nearly every story feels redemptive.

I really love that characters and locations come back through the stories, giving the collection a feeling of community. I'm pretty sure I also recognised at least one character from Triad Blood, though it's been a while.

I  also love the way that art is used in these stories - and not just one type of art, but everything from painting to clothing design.

There & Then

I'm not a terribly huge fan of rape being used as a plot point, and I do think that this story could have worked without it. That said, I did really enjoy the story. I loved the magic system, and the way that the story taught me to feel for characters just based on what colours were named. I also enjoyed the origin story aspect of having the character discover what his powers mean and what he can choose to do with them.

Time and Tide

There's a romance trope where a character comes home and is forced to confront a love from the past. I didn't like this story as much as others in the collection, mostly because the magic and the art didn't blend into the story the way they do in the other stories.


This isn't a story where the characters happen to be gay, but a story where the homosexuality is the story. There's the enforced closet, all the relationships that were never given a chance out of fear, and the complicated relationship between generations. But instead of being a sad, dark story - which it got very close to being - this is a story about magic art that heals history. I felt so uplifted when I got to the end, which was a wonderful feeling after a story that had, up until then, been so dark.

A Little Village Magic

Pentimento moved me, Village Magic outright had me blubbering. There's the surface story about budding magical powers and a romantic relationship, but the backdrop is the restoration of a defaced LGBTQ+ monument. I love the message of found family.

The Psychometry of Snow

A twist on the 'going home' romance story, but again with the addition of magic. I liked this one a lot more than "Time and Tide", if only because the magic system worked a bit better for me. I felt like "Time and Tide" needed too much exposition, which bogged the story down a bit, whereas the magic in "Psychometry" was pretty easy to grasp and then we had time to get on with things.

The Finish

This one was intense. Right from the beginning, we know that something will go terribly wrong, and that anticipation just gets ramped up with the time skipping and the frantic sex. The payoff was upsetting, of course, but it worked.

Here Be Dragons

Another one that had me crying. This might be a book written by a young(-ish?) author, but the sensitivity and feeling of what mental loss does to a couple is all there.


This one is a kinda funny story with a creepily laughable character, but then it sneaks in this delightfully heartfelt story about finding love and I really enjoyed it.


Burgoine is fantastic at evoking deep emotions in the limited format of a short story. I really fell for Miah and Aiden, and I bought them as a couple. Within a handful of pages, I cared enough for them to be really struck by their loss.

Negative Space

This could have been just another urban fantasy story about solving crime through magic. But Burgoine focuses all the attention on the main character, André, instead. So what we get instead is a story about suffering turned outward to help others.


The main "character" in this one is Ottawa, as the protagonist helps spirits "cross over". It was neat to see some of the city's history. Mostly, though, this is another story about the queer community, and all those relationships that were stifled by bigotry. Like "Pentimento", Burgoine doesn't just wallow in the sadness of it, but rather redeems his lovers. It's beautiful, and sweet, and sad, and it's healing in a way.

Here & Now

A book end story, we come back to Christian (now Ian) and Dawn from "There & Then". There's enough here for the story to stand on its own, but it works beautifully as a sequel - answering questions that had been raised in "There & Then", and finishing off the arcs for each character. I particularly loved that, while Ian was healing for Christian in "There & Then", that very same interaction is shown to be healing for Ian, too. Both versions of himself needed help, and they were there for each other. Which is just such a wonderful metaphor.

apostrophen's review

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Edit: August 28th, 2020: I'm going to be doing a virtual reading and Q&A today as part of the Fierté Capital Pride here in Ottawa, alongside [a:Kagiso Lesego Molope|1100488|Kagiso Lesego Molope|], [a:Amanda Jette Knox|18691276|Amanda Jette Knox|], and [a:Gabriella Goliger|682428|Gabriella Goliger|], at 2:00 pm, EST. You can see the details here.

This link take you right to 'Of Echoes Born' on the BSB webstore.

Edit: I blogged at the Bold Strokes Books website about Of Echoes Born, where the title came from, and why it's important queer voices keep telling queer stories.

Hello! It's me, the author, being all authory.

Short fiction was where I started loving reading, and short fiction was my entry into the writing world. Being able to offer a collection this year is making me more than a little giddy. There are a dozen tales in Of Echoes Born, six of which are new for this collection, and two of which are the opening and closing tales about Ian Simon, a character who appeared (briefly) in my first ever published short, "Heart." I wrote a blog about Ian, if you're curious about his origins.

I can't wait to introduce Ian, and all the other characters in the collection, as well as my fictional Gay Village, where a great deal of all the short fiction I've written interconnects. (More on that here, if you'd like a map of how it all links together).

Also, occasionally on my blog I'll write Flash Fiction pieces that tie in to characters I've written previously. There are already a few there for characters who appear in Of Echoes Born, which you can see here. So, if you wanted to check-in with some of the characters for a second time, they're waiting for you.

achillespatroclus's review

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emotional hopeful lighthearted sad medium-paced
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A