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March-April 2017

REVIEW: New CanLit is “an ode to books”

Inside Dominique Fortier's The Island of Books

Jemicah Colleen Marasigan

The Island of Books By Dominique Fortier (translated by Rhonda Mullins) Coach House Books, $19.95 An ode to books, Rhonda Mullins’s translation of Dominique Fortier’s The Island of Books captures the emotions of two struggling individuals hoping to find strength in writing. Told from the perspectives of an illiterate, grieving artist from the 15th century […] More »
March-April 2017

REVIEW: A look at everyday life across Canada in this new short story collection

Barrelling Forward is Newfoundland writer Eva Crocker's debut

Sharon Kashani

Barrelling Forward By Eva Crocker House of Anansi, $19.95 Barrelling Forward, a debut short story collection by emerging Newfoundland writer Eva Crocker, presents compelling tales of the so-called “ordinary” within Canada. Through 14 pieces, readers are acquainted with intensely realistic descriptions of both personhood and setting. The chafing, itching skin of a man is delineated […] More »
March-April 2017

REVIEW: New novel explores survivors’ realities in the Second World War

The Water Beetles was inspired by author Michael Kaan's own family history

Pema Tsering@PemaTsering1

The Water Beetles By Michael Kaan Goose Lane Editions, $22.95 At times graphic and disturbing, The Water Beetles by Michael Kaan tells the heroic and poetic story of a young boy living in Hong Kong during the Second World War. Based loosely on the diaries and stories of Kaan’s father, the narrative follows 12-year-old Chung-Man […] More »
March-April 2017

REVIEW: An honest exploration of a decade at a residential school

Arthur Bear Chief's new book explores his 10 years at Old Sun Residential School

Maria Siassina

My Decade at Old Sun, My Lifetime of Hell By Arthur Bear Chief Athabasca University Press, $19.95 My Decade at Old Sun, My Lifetime of Hell is a short read, but one that should be read slowly and deliberately. Author Arthur Bear Chief describes the first years of his life as full of love, family, […] More »
March-April 2017

How to write the perfect book inscription

Consider it a gift within a gift

Grace O'Connell@yesgrace

All of us word nerds know that books make excellent gifts. Aside from obvious last-minute coffee table tomes (“I remembered how much you love generic landscape photos!”), giving someone a book means you’re trying to think from their point of view, to imagine what they might like, or to share something you love with them. […] More »
March-April 2017

REVIEW: In Terri Favro’s debut novel, science fiction meets comic book artistry in the nuclear age

Inside ECW's release Sputnik's Children

Aaron Broverman@Broverman

Sputnik’s Children By Terri Favro ECW, $19.95 Terri Favro follows up her award-winning novella The Proxy Bride with Sputnik’s Children, a full-length debut mixing comic book science fiction with reflections of growing up during the atomic age at the height of the Cold War. Comic book creator Debbie Reynolds Biondi finally decides to tell the […] More »
March-April 2017

REVIEW: Anthology explores the underreported topic of menopause

Inside Jane Cawthorne and E.D. Morin's Writing Menopause

Courtney Dickson@dicksoncourtney

Writing Menopause By Jane Cawthorne and E.D. Morin Inanna Publications, $25.95 Writing Menopause is a revolutionary collection of work passionately and bravely confronting menopause, a topic society tends to avoid. Featuring several types of writing, editors Jane Cawthorne and E.D. Morin expertly assemble a meaningful collection written from a diverse cross-section of North Americans. Though […] More »
January-February 2017

REVIEW: Unpacking gender through a mystical world in Lake Jehovah

In Jillian Fleck's first graphic novel, pronouns, relationships, and more come into play

Arielle Piat-Sauvé@arielleps

Lake Jehovah By Jillian Fleck Conundrum Press, $25 Lake Jehovah is Calgary-based comic artist Jillian Fleck’s first graphic novel. The story revolves around Jay, a genderqueer character, and the oddities of life in a small town in northern Alberta facing a series of apocalypses. Jay goes by the pronoun “xe,” but just as xe’s character […] More »
January-February 2017

REVIEW: Collection of short stories examines the way death changes our lives

Date with Destiny's stories evoke sadness, sympathy, hilarity, and even awkward discomfort

Samantha Sobolewski

Date with Destiny By Hélène Rioux, translated by Jonathan Kaplansky Guernica Editions, $20 Ten grisly but rich descriptive short stories, Date With Destiny by Hélène Rioux glimpses at the many ways death affects our lives at any given age. From a mother with a suicidal son, to an overzealous funeral sales telemarketer, each character experiences […] More »
January-February 2017

REVIEW: Exploring Toronto’s legacy of poverty in print

Bryan D. Palmer and Gaétan Héroux's new book examines the city's history of the poor, from the 1830s to present day

Ryan B. Patrick

Toronto’s Poor: A Rebellious History By Bryan D. Palmer and Gaétan Héroux Between the Lines, $34.95 Tracking the ebbs and flows of societal and economic events, Toronto’s Poor: A Rebellious History by Bryan D. Palmer and Gaétan Héroux studies the history of the city’s poor and resistance. Héroux, an anti-poverty activist with the Ontario Coalition […] More »
January-February 2017

REVIEW: New Coach House novel explores love, loss, and loneliness through alternating perspectives

Shot-Blue is Jesse Ruddock's debut novel

Jemicah Colleen Marasigan

Shot-Blue By Jesse Ruddock Coach House Books, $19.95 Set against the backdrop of a remote lake, Jesse Ruddock’s debut novel Shot-Blue follows a boy who learns to survive in a land that was once his home, but is now changed by strangers. Packed with characters who are at times intertwined and disconnected—as evidenced by the […] More »