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

“Fiction” Alice Munro

Is it something like a triangle? With happiness, unhappiness and love arranged with an equal distance between each point?

Perhaps. Certainly there are triangles in “Fiction”, shifting alliances and fractures.

Love triangles. Happiness triangles.

Just enough. Too much.

The kind of happiness discussed in “Fiction” is different from that which Doree/Fleur muses upon in “Dimensions”.

[…]

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Mark Anthony Jarman’s Knife Party at the Hotel Europa (2015)

A book-length demonstration of propulsive prose.

This is the word that I wrote in capital letters, in the margins of my reading diary about Mark Anthony Jarman’s Knife Party at the Hotel Europa (2015), but then I wondered if I had subconsciously (deliberately, even!) lifted it from the cover.

It sounds like a word one might see […]

June 2015, In My Stacks

My progress through Gabrielle Roy‘s works has been slow but steady, and this month I requested one of the children’s books, which I held out for myself as a reward for finishing six of her novels.

My treat was to be Cliptail, but the only copy available in the public library was the French edition, […]

Neil Smith’s Boo (2015)

There are “ways of making people into ghosts”. So Atticus say, to Jem in To Kill a Mockingbird, about Boo (Arthur) Radley.

Alfred A. Knopf, 2015

Neil Smith turned Oliver Dalrymple into a ghost in Boo. And, then, he named him Boo and gave him a Casper the Friendly Ghost wrist watch.

Whether or not Arthur […]

“Dimensions” Alice Munro

Things that you can slip between.

They are often ‘new’ in nature.

Perspectives transform.

If I was playing $30,000 Pyramid, I might think such things, in response to the idea of ‘dimensions’.

At the heart of Alice Munro’s “Dimensions”: a woman who is fundamentally altered, facing a ‘new’ future, slipping between layers of meaning,  transforming.

[…]

Hollie Adams’ Things You’ve Inherited From Your Mother (2015)

Carrie’s mother died on Tuesday. The loss has fragmented her view of the world, dulled her senses (or is that the alcohol?) and sharpened her wit.

NeWest Press, 2015

Given the circumstances, the novel’s narrative tone is a quick slap to the face, heightened colour left behind in the shape of what has struck […]

TGIF: In the workplace, on the page (2 of 4)

A new Friday fugue, running through this month, considering the ways in which our working lives appear on the pages of novels and short stories.

Wasn’t I just talking about novels set in bookstores? Yup, in last Friday’s post (here). Gabrielle Zevin’s book fits perfectly on that shelf.

Arsenal Pulp, 2009

But if you’re […]

Susin Nielsen’s We Are All Made of Molecules (2015)

Henry K. Larsen — star of Susin Nielsen’s last novel — was a savvy young fellow: “I know I can’t change my stupid red hair or my stupid freckles. But I can lower my freak flag.”

Tundra Books, 2015

In contrast, Stewart — star of her most recent novel — flies his freak flag […]

“No Advantages” Alice Munro

McClelland & Stewart, 2006

The View from Castle Rock was not one of my favourite Alice Munro collections. Although I rushed to read it upon publication, I didn’t enjoy it as much as Runaway. On rereading, I planned a different approach.

In the past, I read the collection simply as another of Alice Munro’s […]

“The Bear Came Over the Mountain” Alice Munro

A good ways into the story, readers meet this proclamation: “You never quite knew how such things would turn out. You almost knew, but you could never be sure.”

It is perhaps as true about “The Bear Came Over the Mountain” as it is about Grant’s predictions about his relationships with women.

But this story […]