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

Margaret Millar’s The Listening Walls (1959; 2016)

Although some of the characters in the Margaret Millar mysteries I have read answer their own phones, many answer other people’s phones instead: the telephones of older or more privileged relatives or those of their bosses. There’s even a switchboard operator in the mix, along with a woman better known for not answering calls at […]

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Jonathan Safran Foer’s Here I Am (2016)

In interview with Mark Medley in September, Jonathan Safran Foer discusses his new book, Here I Am, in such a way that it’s clear it feels distinct from his other writing for him.

Hamish Hamilton – PRH, 2016

Many of the attendees are carrying copies of his earlier books, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely […]

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Sun-Mi Hwang’s The Dog Who Dared to Dream (2016)

Sun-Mi Hwang’s The Hen Who Believed She Could Fly was a runaway bestseller for its Korean author, who had previously published more than 50 books and was surprised to find her work such a phenomenon, not only in Korea but beyond.

Abacus – Hachette, 2016

The Dog Who Dared to Dream is poised to experience […]

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Kingdoms of the Dead

Lynda Barry says a “happy ending is hardly important, though we may be glad it’s there”.

But there’s more to it, she says: “The real joy is knowing that if you felt the trouble in the story, your kingdom isn’t dead.”*

Doubleday Canada, 2015

If one reads a lot of literary fiction, ambiguity in […]

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On reading, at last, Rilla of Ingleside

I can no longer claim that reading about grown-up Anne is boring, when that would clearly mean I, as a grown-up, must be boring too.

So I have had to come up with other reasons to avoid reading the final Anne book. Knowing what a chore it was for LMM to continue writing the Anne stories? […]

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Countdown: Magie Dominic and Ann-Marie MacDonald

With chapters named for the days of the week in Street Angel and with specific dates in a given week in Adult Onset, these two novels seem to make ideal reading companions.

Ultimately, much of literary fiction is preoccupied with time. Whether it is Molly Bloom’s day in James Joyce’s classic Ulysses or the week […]

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Quarterly Stories: Autumn 2014

“Bad coffee can only keep you company for so long at four a.m. in a bus depot.”

Caitlin Press, 2014

All of the characters in Janine Alyson Young’s debut collection seem as though they would immediately recognize the truth of that. They all seem to have a spot of the drifter in them, even […]

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Alexi Zentner’s The Lobster Kings (2014)

Like his first novel, Touch, The Lobster Kings showcases Alexi Zentner’s penchant for storytelling.

Knopf Canada, 2014

Readers who learn that this novel is a retelling of Shakespeare’s tragedy “King Lear” might expect the tale to distance readers, with the original story centuries old and memories of stilted readings in school or black-and-white films […]

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Polly Dugan’s So Much a Part of You (2014)

Though each segment could be read as a standalone, each is So Much a Part of the Landscape that Polly Dugan’s work is best read all-in-a-burst.

Little Brown & Company, 2014

More trust is required on the reader’s part than, say, with Carrie Snyder’s more prominently linked The Juliet Stories or Elise Juska’s The Blessings.

[…]

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Susie Moloney’s Things Withered (2013)

With book in hand, readers will know this is a collection of short fiction marketed as horror stories. But that’s a broad stroke; Dracula and The Stand are both frightening tales.

In the hands of Susie Moloney, a horror story sometimes means gruesome and moist: “Brains and cranial fluid seeped from [her] head onto the […]

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