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

Vickie Gendreau’s Testament (2012; 2016)

Originally written after the author had been diagnosed with a brain tumour, Testament is a response to the news that Vickie Gendreau would have little time left to live: about a year.

2012; Book Thug, 2016

The novel’s translator, Aimee Wall, writes about the work, a few months after its author died, in Lemon […]

Share

Storytelling or Chicanery: Trust in words

Sometimes, it’s clear who the bad guys are. Sometimes they’re clearly drawn, not only unsavoury, but also unprincipled.

Like the misogynists who people the Signy Shepherd series by Susan Philpott, in which women are rescued from life-threatening situations by other women working a type of Underground Railroad, called The Line. (Blown Red, 2015 and Dark Territory, […]

Share

July 2016, In My Bookbag

In which I discuss some of the skinny volumes, which have nestled into my bookbag.

(Meanwhile longer works, like Timothy Findley’s The Piano Man’s Daughter and Greg Iles’ Natchez Burning, were left at home.)

Stephen Thomas’ The Jokes is not funny-haha, but funny-hmmm. It’s not meant to be funny-haha either, although many of the stories are designed […]

Share

Quarterly Stories: Summer 2016

Jill Sexsmith’s Somewhere a Long and Happy Life Probably Awaits You (ARP Books, 2016)

  “Tulip stopped at the doorway. She had grown up with the whir of a mitre saw in the background, always cutting her thoughts and sentences and songs in half. Still, the sound of the blade tearing through wood […]

Share

Malcolm Sutton’s Job Shadowing (2016)

If it’s true, that “new thoughts only happen at the edge of what we already know”, then Malcolm Sutton’s Job Shadowing has provided me with plenty of new thoughts.

Book Thug, 2016

Job Shadowing is a novel which pools at the edges of the shape that I recognize as fiction. It would be difficult to fill out the answers […]

Share

Joni Murphy’s Double Teenage (2016)

Celine and Julie are negotating the borders of girlhood, wandering back and forth across dotted lines and territories both more and less available to them as the years pass.

They trade L.M. Montgomery’s girlhood classics for “Law and Order” and Our Bodies, Ourselves, while readers follow in their footsteps in narratives which alternately focus on one girl, then […]

Share