This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture


book review

July-August 2011

Book review: Gillian Roberts’ Prizing Literature

Angelo MureddaWebsite@qwiggles

Literary prizes are often seen as either a barometer or an enforcer of national taste. Gillian Roberts’s Prizing Literature turns instead to how prizes like the Giller and Booker confer upon their Canadian recipients an unofficial certificate of citizenship. With clear prose and theoretical acumen, Roberts probes the vexed relationship between national culture and hospitality, […] More »

Book Review: Hal Niedzviecki’s Look Down, This is Where It Must Have Happened

Bardia Sinaee

In his new book, Look Down, This is Where It Must Have Happened, Hal Niedzviecki at times assumes the malaise of his characters seamlessly: “I’m a mortgage broker who works from his basement home office. I can find a lender suitable to your needs. A lot of people go to the bank. Don’t go to […] More »

Book Review: Sam Cheuk’s Love Figures

Natalie Zina WalschotsWebsite@NatalieZed

There is a unicorn on the cover of this book. This book is like a book with a unicorn on the cover. This book is like a unicorn, like something mythical and beautiful that has to disappoint, either by its non-existence or the drab ordinariness it must assume in order to exist. This book is […] More »
September-October 2011

Book review: Rebecca Rosenblum’s The Big Dream

Jessica RoseWebsite@NMTblog

The characters in Rebecca Rosenblum’s second collection of short stories, The Big Dream, have one thing in common: they work at Dream Inc., a lifestyle magazine publisher struggling to stay afloat. Like the troubled company, most face an uncertain future, navigating their problems from trial separations and parenthood to a terminally ill parent. Drawing from her […] More »
May-June 2011

Book Review: Roy Miki’s Mannequin Rising

Mark CallananWebsite

The poems in Mannequin Rising, Roy Miki’s fifth poetry collection, are interspersed with the author’s photomontages, many of which contain storefront mannequins superimposed with images of pedestrians in the street. The mannequins can be taken as metaphorical commentary on the human figures in the frames; static and passive, “standing there at / attention all day”—as […] More »
July-August 2011

Book review: Six Metres of Pavement by Farzana Doctor

Niranjana IyerWebsite@NinaIyer

Ismail Boxwala’s Infant daughter died of heatstroke after he left her sleeping in the backseat of his car on a summer day. Twenty years later, Ismail has yet to forgive himself. His wife has long since divorced him and remarried, but Ismail has resolutely passed up any chance at happiness. He lives in the same […] More »

Book review: The Dirt Chronicles by Kristyn Dunnion

Jeremy BealWebsite

In The Dirt Chronicles, Kristyn Dunnion cooks up a dozen sad, pretty, lonely stories and shoots them into whatever unused vein she can find on her audience. It’s a surprising read from an LGBT underclass perspective that starts with coming-of-age stories, wades into the most convoluted of gender politics, and builds into a crescendo of […] More »

Book Review: Up Up Up by Julie Booker

Katherine LaidlawWebsite@klaidlaw

What do you do when you’re an adult woman on a canoe trip in Alaska and a boy on the playground calls you fat? You take the ball tumbling toward you, which you’ve kindly picked up for him, and fling it back, pushing the insult as far from your flabby chest as you can, releasing […] More »

Book Review: Monoceros by Suzette Mayr

Jessica RoseWebsite@nmtblog

After Patrick Furey, a heartbroken and bullied gay student, hangs himself in his bedroom, there is no minute of silence, no special assembly. Instead, his school’s closeted principal forbids staff to share any information, fearing a teen suicide would damage the school’s reputation and possibly spawn copycats. Furey’s death may happen in the first few […] More »

Book Review: Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme

Graham F. Scott

Equal parts manifesto, thesis, coming-of-age tale, and love letter, Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme, edited by Ivan E. Coyote and Zena Sharman, breaks the reductive, sanitized gender stereotypes of what it is to be a lesbian—especially ones who don’t look like Ellen DeGeneres, Rachel Maddow, or a cast member of The L Word. The contributors’ […] More »
March-April 2011

Book Review: By Love Possessed by Lorna Goodison

Emily LandauWebsite

Lorna Goodison’s latest collection of short stories, By Love Possessed, fuses a sharp ear for language with a keen eye for human behaviour. The Jamaican-Canadian poet, memoirist, and short story writer casts a shrewd yet loving gaze on the mores and idiosyncrasies of contemporary Jamaican society. At first glance, Goodison’s world plays into North American […] More »