“She rests her hand on my arm, her eyes clear and serious. We could be the same person, encountering each other in a fragment of time lived twice.”

Table of contents

How Will You Prepare for Happiness?
Premium Girl
House on Carbonate
The Peninsula of Happiness
A Girl in Nova Scotia
A Girl Called Helsinki
Swimming Upright
How to Be Silent in German
Notes on a Separation
Visitor to Crete
Youth Orchestra
Cellular Memory
The Cascades
This Is Fine
We Have Never Lived on Earth
An Ounce of Care


Kasia Van Schaik’s debut story collection follows the journey of Charlotte Ferrier, a child of divorce raised by a single mother in a small town in British Columbia after moving from South Africa. Mother and daughter wait out the end of a bad year in a Mexican hotel; a friendship is tested as forest fires demolish Charlotte’s town; a childhood friend disappears while travelling through Europe; and a girl on the beach examines the memories of dying jellyfish. The stories traverse the most intimate and transforming moments of female experience in a world threatened by ecological crisis.


"Charlotte is a compelling heroine whose story captures the specific strangeness of contemporary women’s comings-of-age with pathos, poetry, and humor. The collection is engrossing, compulsively readable, bold in its formal experimentation, and masterful on both the sentence and story levels." Miranda Cooper, Foreword Reviews, September/October 2022 [Full review at https://www.forewordreviews.com/reviews/we-have-never-lived-on-earth/]