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, […]

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Reading Louise Erdrich: At Last

For years, vaguely since I collected The Bingo Palace with a university course in mind (but there was never enough time to read all the books I planned to read for papers) and intensely since falling in love with The Last Miracle at Little No Horse, I’ve wanted to go back to the beginning of […]

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November 2016, In My Reading Log

In the wake of my IFOA reading list and the literary prizelists of the season, my November reading felt relatively whimsical. Without duedates attached to the majority of my reading, it was a pleasure to slip into volumes which had sat untouched in recent weeks.

Each of these three volumes covers, in one way or another, […]

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The Inseparables, Tobacco Wars, I’m Still Here

Having stories narrated by – or assembled via – a number of voices is a popular way of  world-building. Each of the following books plays with this technique, allowing different perspectives to combine and create a more credible space for readers to inhabit.

Just as in Meg Wolitzer’s The Position, the matriarch in Stuart Nadler’s The Inseparables […]

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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, […]

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December 2015, In My Reading Log

Three of these books were inspired by the conjunction between my own shelves and this year’s Random House Bingo, which has a CanLit theme.

The Tiger Claw filled my Nominated-for-the-Giller square, Evan Munday’s second October Schwartz for the Mystery-or-Thriller square, and Elaine Lui’s book about her relationship with her mother perfectly suits the celebrity-memoir square.

Have you […]

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Quarterly Stories: Summer 2015

This year I have read some stand-out collections, but for the most part I neglected to take notes from them:

Joy Williams’ Honored Guests, Kathleen Winter’s The Freedom in American Songs, Jessica Grant’s Making Light of Tragedy, Shawn Syms’ Nothing Looks Familiar, Elaine McCluskey’s Hello, Sweetheart, Julia Leggett’s Gone South and Other Ways to Disappear, Mark Anthony […]

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Edna O’Brien’s The Love Object

In interview with Harriet Gilbert, when meeting to discuss her landmark work The Country Girls as part of the BBC’s World Book Club, Edna O’Brien speaks about the relationship in that novel between a young woman and a married man referred to as Mr. Gentleman.

Little, Brown and Company, 2015

Given the autobiographical nature of […]

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Summer Reading To-Do List for Stormy Days (4 of 4)

Such good reading this summer, so far. In other respects, perhaps mine has not been the most productive summer. But it all depends what one puts on a to-do list, doesn’t it! What if your to-do list was all about the books in your stacks?

House of Anansi, 2015

For off-the-land adventure: 

Gather nuts and […]

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Tessa McWatt’s Higher Ed (2015)

The story of how the cover for Higher Ed evolved provides readers with clues as to the novel’s preoccupation with perspective; from a close-up of a clown fish to a human hand, Tessa McWatt’s story covers the gamut.

Random House Canada, 2015

It begins with a cast of characters, five primary (the administrator, the film […]

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