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

Mavis Gallant’s “Going Ashore” (1954)

For the first time, twelve-year-old Emma Ellinger feels truly connected to her mother. They are finally “doing something together, alone, with no man, no Uncle Anyone, to interfere”.

Tangier, Moracco 1887 Click for source data

It’s true that the cruise hasn’t gone entirely as planned; they have packed the wrong clothes (all summer dresses, […]


“Goodness and Mercy” Alice Munro

This title recalls Barbara’s “Oranges and Apples” game, the idea of having to choose between two things.

1990; Penguin, 1991

It also echoes Anne having asked Matthew, en route to Green Gables: “Which would you rather be if you had the choice–divinely beautiful or dazzlingly clever or angelically good?”

And, yet, the overt allusion […]


Knot: The Cat’s Table

Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table McClelland & Stewart, 2011

You can learn a lot from reading novels.

For instance, in reading this one, you could learn the following:

How to spell Egypt (Ever Grasping Your Precious Tits); The way to a first-class breakfast on a cruise even if you’re not travelling first class (this involves […]