In The Old Familiar are stories about the art of everyday shock: Hawley’s characters think they know other people or themselves until the unforeseen surfaces. Whether subtle or dramatic, these moments of clarity make them question their thinking.
Dark, witty, and tightly written, The Old Familiar will surprise even the reader familiar with crusty undersides of middle–class lives, and the bizarre obsessions that harbour there. Hawley’s trademark of controlled tension and psychological scrutiny is at times diabolically funny as it is emotionally arresting, and her exposure of ego and posturing in social networks will have immediate appeal for both a mainstream and literary audience.
Hawley’s strength is getting into the head of her characters, allowing us to ride shotgun alongside the murderously cycling thoughts of her protagonists. Her pacing is quick and jumpy in the same way our thoughts bloom and spasm. At times the imagery is so pointed that the text is like poetry, and there were moments I found myself reminded of both Munro and Gallant." —A.S. PENNE, Wascana Review
"Great fiction changes us. Read Alix Hawley. Lightning, or something like it, strikes." —SHELLEY A. LEEDAHL, The Globe and Mail
"This is Hawley’s first collection, and it demonstrates a deft handling of narrative, image, point-of-view, and dialogue. The variety of perspectives itself is impressive: from the second-person narration in “Chemical Wedding” to the third-person narration in “They Call Her Lovely Rita.” Similarly, Hawley does not shy away from a challenging character or plot, and her opening sentences are [...] gripping [...]. For instance, “They Call Her Lovely Rita” begins with the two sentence catch— “Adultery. He dreamed of it chronically, and he wasn’t even married.” —DOROTHY F. LANE, Canadian Literature