The Clarion by Nina Dunic

Fully Alive, Alone

The Clarion by Nina Dunic follows two siblings, Stasi and her brother Peter, as they explore in-depth their vulnerabilities about relationships, helplessness, and sense of self. Stasi’s employer has advised her that she will not be promoted to a position in the company for which she has been preparing for many years. Peter has auditioned for a part-time role as a musician in a restaurant and is waiting for a reply. Their anticipation around these events is making them anxious and is forcing them to examine these feelings through complex themes of identity, independence and love.   

Stasi is a high-performing caretaker who sees people as inherently insufficient. Peter is a wise-fool who has internalized the possibility of failure as part of his character. He is kind and agreeable but does not appear to have any relationships that would require investment or commitment. Their memories are of growing up feeling forsaken by their parents. Both have an interesting awareness that this early experience, for better or worse, prepared them for a life of managing other people and their expectations.

“Maybe as a child I felt a bit of dread. Or maybe, years later, I’ve coloured this memory with how I feel now.”

While they are distinct in so many respects, they have in common a perceptiveness about how others do or will see them that is almost heartbreaking.

 “And knowing that people would ask and I would have to tell them. Being alone with it for the longest possible time was all I had…”

“Life was so short, it walked away when you weren’t looking, it was bored of you.” 

Without being overly sentimental or rhetorical, and with a unique sensitivity, Nina shares with us the hopefulness and solitude of being an introspective thinker. Her characters, Peter and Stasi, speak to the universality of loneliness through the disenchanting particulars of their own. Beautiful and devastating.

Nina Dunic is a two-time winner of the Toronto Star Short Story Contest, has been longlisted for the CBC Short Story Prize four times, won third place in the Humber Literary Review Emerging Writers Fiction Contest, and was nominated for The Journey Prize. Nina lives in Scarborough, in Toronto’s east end. Find out more at

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Invisible Publishing (Sept. 5 2023)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 201 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1778430287
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1778430282