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

Shani Mootoo’s Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab (2014)

Shani Mootoo sidles up to her story.

Random House Canada, 2014

A novel like Padma Viswanathan’s The Ever After of Ashwin Rao is more openly preoccupied with questions of grief and loss.

One like Shyam Selvadurai’s The Hungry Ghosts explores family relationships and the passage of time in a familiar then/now rhythm.

In Moving [...]

Padma Viswanathan’s The Ever After of Ashwin Rao (2014)

The dedication to Padma Viswanathan’s second novel: For the lost, and for the living.

Random House of Canada, 2014

Therein, the reader haa a clue, for The Ever After of Ashwin Rao is equally preoccupied with losing and living.

The novel opens in 2004, on the precipice of the trial which was to address the 1985 fatal bombing [...]

Richard Wagamese’s Medicine Walk (2014)

One might say that Medicine Walk is a novel about the disconnect between a father and a son.

McClelland & Stewart, 2014

“Eldon Starlight. Franklin Starlight. Four blunt syllables conjuring nothing. When he appeared the kid would watch him and whisper his name under his breath, waiting for a hook to emerge, [...]

Sean Michaels’ Us Conductors (2014)

Sean Michaels’ prose invites readers to participate in the relationship between sound and shape through the simple but beautiful language of Us Conductors.

Random House of Canada, 2014

His images are simple and fresh, and they are momentarily disorienting – as beautiful things can be.

“I didn’t laugh but you did, a laugh like [...]

Steven Galloway’s The Confabulist (2014)

It doesn’t get much more obvious than stacking these truths on the book jacket: there it is.

Knopf Canada, 2014

The Confabulist Steven Galloway

For even though the noun more commonly associated with ‘confabulate’ is ‘confabulation’, what is most important here is not the story itself but the voice behind the story: [...]

This One Summer: A True Favourite

These sentences are dappled across a two-page spread of Mariko and Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer (2014), as though they are wafts of milkweed ink:

House of Anansi, 2014

“The first time I ever saw a milkweed was on the beach at Awago. I thought they were magic pods. I thought that [...]

84: Best Canadian Stories (Edited by David Helwig and Sandra Martin)

These stories were chosen “to be read rather than merely admired, or even envied”, including five previously unpublished stories. Thirty years later, the list of contents conjures up echoes of the Giller Prize, Canada Reads, and even a Pulitzer.

Frances Itani’s “Grandmother” “And she has long known what the rest of us take the better [...]

Literary Kismet: Michaels and Galloway

Locks are like this: to break their purpose you must know them fully, as you would know certain faces. You must understand the flick and tick of tumblers, the swivel of nooks in metal. I did not know how to pick a lock. I tapped the first small silver circle. I peered at [...]

Joining The Book Mine Set’s Canadian Book Challenge

It’s that time of year again: time for the Canadian Book Challenge, which launches each July 1st on Canada Day.

Most of what I read is Canlit, but I am easily distracted by new and shiny books and I forget to make time to read the classics.

The first time I joined the challenge hosted by The [...]

“Powers” Alice Munro

Runaway readers cannot run away from the book after turning the final page. Instead, they have to burrow in.

Much like “Vandals” in 1994′s Open Secrets and the title story in 2012′s Dear Life, “Powers” is one of those closing stories that sends readers rushing back to the beginning.

McClelland [...]