This was one of the first Orange Prize nominees that I bought.
Last year, two debut novels on the longlist made my personal shortlist. (Anna Peile‘s and Samantha Hunt‘s)
Serpent's Tail, 2012
I had high hopes for this novel and, in many ways, I was rewarded for my enthusiasm.
(This is not her debut [...]
The chapter titles of this work reveal that it’s not some kind of textbook resource on crows: Getting Up, Preparing, Reading, Walking, Dwelling, Helping, Seeing, Coexisting, Dying and Flying.
Then again, the subtitle should have been my first clue (Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness), that Crow Planet is as much about the urban human who [...]
A dozen years ago, Olive Senior’s Gardening in the Tropics was on my list of favourite books for that reading year.
Insomniac Press, 2007
Afterwards, I read some short stories (Discerner of Hearts is wonderful), but I lost track of her work, and hadn’t even realized the extent of it until I heard her read from [...]
Originally published almost exactly 32 years ago, the events depicted in “Dulse” could have taken place 32 years prior and will, likely, still ring true 32 years hence.
Lydia is a woman alone, not freshly alone — for she has been divorced for nine years — but self-consciously alone.
Something about her identity has profoundly [...]
So Iris‘ Dutch Lit month was in June, right? Many of you likely participated during June. Which, of course, was the point: a shared celebration of Dutch Lit.
I was planning to do that too. And I did have my copy of Hella S. Haasse’s The Tea Lords well ahead of time. (More about that [...]
Acts of violence and devotion, rape and worship, funerals and betrothals, love-scenes and convent-life, adultery and illness: this medieval saga has so many facets to it that I was not expecting.
Not the least of which being that it gripped my attention more tightly than any of the contemporary novels that I was reading at [...]
Ann Patchett’s works have long had the attention of the Orange Prize juries. The Magician’s Assistant was shortlisted for the 1998 Orange Prize, and Bel Canto won in 2002; it wasn’t surprising to see State of Wonder make the jury’s shortlist in 2012.
The most striking element of the novel is its setting. Partly for its own [...]
Of course fantasy readers will gravitate towards this series. My shelves are clogged with Tolkien, Donaldson, Eddings, Williams and Kay, and I have had a copy of the first novel in this series since it was published in paperback.
Random House, 1996
But readers of the historical saga will be smitten too: take Galsworthy and [...]
The first story in The Moons of Jupiter is a two-parter, the first originally published in “Chatelaine” and the second in “Saturday Night”, in 1979.
In later collections, interconnected stories were not necessarily set apart within a collection, but these two stories are exceptionally tight-knit.
And because of this, with the information from the introduction, [...]
Last summer, walking in Little Jamaica in Toronto, I picked up a copy of a community newspaper with a cover image of protesters overseas burning the cover of Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes.
Book burning: it’s a headline-grab alright. It certainly captured this reader’s attention.
I’d been wanting to read this volume [...]