Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

Reading Louise Erdrich: At Last

For years, vaguely since I collected The Bingo Palace with a university course in mind (but there was never enough time to read all the books I planned to read for papers) and intensely since falling in love with The Last Miracle at Little No Horse, I’ve wanted to go back to the beginning of […]


A Really Good Brown Girl: Marilyn Dumont

First published in 1996, Marilyn Dumont’s debut – A Really Good Brown Girl – was reprinted thirteen times and later republished as part of Brick Books’ classic series in 2013.

In Lee Maracle’s  introduction, she talks about keeping a worn copy next to her bed, taking good care of it.

Like it “was made of ancient […]

On Michael Helm’s After James (and other puzzling novels)

“Perhaps the most brave and honest review of After James should restrict itself to two words: Read it.”

Could be that Angie Abdou got it right, when she reviewed Michael Helm’s After James and concluded with this.

McClelland & Stewart, 2016

But she did a fine job of reviewing it in “The Winnipeg Review” all the […]

2017 Plans and Projects

More short stories, more indigenous authors, more series completed and updated, more from my own shelves and more non-fiction: my reading goals for this year.

Reading Alice Munro’s short stories lasted from 2011 to 2015, reading two or three collections a year, no more than a story a week.

Last year I enjoyed Alistair MacLeod’s […]

Margery Sharp’s The Rescuers (1959; 1977)

When I was a girl, I was too afraid to watch the part of the Disney movie in which Penny is lowered into the darkness in a bucket.

If I had actually read the stories on my bookshelf, I would have had great sympathy for the mice in the Prisoner’s Aid Society. They spend much […]

For My Feminist Friend Who Dreams of Revolution

I grew up loving the works of Margaret Atwood and Margaret Laurence and Alice Munro. Traditional? Perhaps. Maybe my CanLit taste is old-fashioned.

And in their time, these were women who dared. Not ‘but’, ‘and’.

This remains their time. And beyond the page. In the recent furor surrounding the efforts to encourage institutional accountability on matters […]

Faves and Stand-out Reads from My 2016

My reading year began with a reread of The Radiant Way (1987), which begins with a New Year’s party. The first time I read the novel, I was in my 20s and I hadn’t yet read Virginia Woolf; this time I couldn’t help but think of Mrs. Dalloway as the women in Margaret Drabble’s novel make […]

Quarterly Stories: Three Collections

In Susan Hill’s Howard’s End Is on the Landing, she quotes a friend who says “We read Margaret Drabble to feel the zeitgeist, our daughters read Helen Simpson.”

(Their daughters’ daughters might be reading Janine Alyson Young or Alex Leslie or Rivka Galchen or Eufemia Fantetti.)

In the first story in Hey Yeah Right Get […]

The Promise Falls Trilogy

Promise Falls has a history. You might not think so, but it matters.

“Are we too insignificant up here: A couple of hours away from New York? Is that what we’re foolish enough to think? Let me tell you something, my friend. You want to strike fear into the hearts of Americans? Then go to […]

Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing (2016): Third Variation

This is the third of three posts spiralling around the notes made while reading Do Not Say We Have Nothing. Each with ten parts. Thirty segments. As though my post is the aria and the thirty segments are the variations. In recognition of the importance which Bach’s Goldberg Variations holds in relationship to the novel.