A Review of Kate Heartfield’s Their Dead So Near, Lackington’s issue one, Winter, 2014 (http://lackingtons.com/2014/02/13/their-dead-so-near-by-kate-heartfield/)
By Derek Newman-Stille
We are distant from our dead. In urban centres, we build over the dead, erasing the history of what came before us in our construction of the new. Kate Heartfield’s Their Dead So Near takes us into Ottawa’s Macdonald Gardens, called by those in the know, those who are fascinated by the macabre as the Boneyards and gives voice to the dead, buried over by a society that seeks to cover things over, hide them, bury them, and scrub them clean.
Heartfield reminds readers that we are always walking on the bones of the dead, supported by their detritus while we tread over history. Graveyards are places of discomfort for us – reminders of our own mortality – so we seek to render memory and place more “hygienic” by erasing the miasmic reminders of our own doom. We seek to forget names, forget history while giving token reminders in the form of small plaques that speak of a place we no longer want to recall.
Heartfield speaks for the dead, giving them voice in her short story Their Dead So Near, bringing readers close to those remnants of the past poking up into modernity, demanding to be heard, asking us to scrape the surface of urban reality to see what rests beneath the surface.
To read Their Dead So Near, visit Lackington’s website at http://lackingtons.com/2014/02/13/their-dead-so-near-by-kate-heartfield/ .
To explore more of Kate Heartfield’s work, visit her website at http://heartfieldfiction.wordpress.com/ .