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 “About Geneva”

Even the shortest story in The Other Paris provokes a strong sympathy on the part of readers.

Bill Perlmutter: “Through A Soldier’s Lens. Europe In The Fifties”.Click for source details

At the heart of the story are two young children, Ursula who is older than seven and Colin who is younger than seven.

They live […]

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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, […]

Darren Greer’s Advocate (2016)

“The past presses so hard on the present, the present is badly bruised, blood brims under the skin.”

These lines from Brenda Shaughnessy’s poem “Nachträglichkeit”* fit beautifully with Darren Greer’s new novel, Advocate:

Not only because much of Advocate is preoccupied with memory, with what the characters carry with them everyday which belongs to another […]

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 […]

Jane Ozkowski’s Watching Traffic (2016)

What Jane Ozkowski captures beautifully in Watching Traffic is the very sensation embodied in the debut novel’s title: Emily is overwhelmed by motion even while in a state of stillness.

Groundwood Books, 2016

It’s the summer after high-school gradulation, and Emily is working at a catering company, making egg-salad sandwiches and butter tarts, so that other people […]

Summer 2015, In My Bookbag

Tomorrow, I will be on the move.

So many of the books currently occupying a position in my stacks are bulky and heavy, that it was easy to choose amongst the skinny residents.

I have one more story to read in Gabrielle Roy’s The Road Past Altamont. There are only three in total, and I especially enjoyed […]

Katja Rudolph’s Little Bastards in Springtime (2014)

In 1992, Jevrem lived through the siege of Sarajevo and Katja Rudolph’s novel considers the impact of such trauma, which extends far beyond national borders. He develops fervent opinions and beliefs based on his early experiences and the events witnessed in his family, ensuing losses and severences.

HarperCollins, 2014

“What was wrong with […]

Cecil Foster’s Independence (2014)

Desmond has returned to the island because the prime minister has asked those who went abroad to help rebuild the nation, now that it has gained its independence.

Harper Collins Publishers, 2014

Cecil Foster’s experience is not unlike Desmond’s, but Independence is rooted in the story of a boy who has known only the […]

Iain Reid’s The Truth about Luck (2013)

When I started reading The Truth about Luck, I was taking the bus to meet a friend to go book-buying.

House of Anansi, 2013

We had chosen the date and destination a month ago; the only thing left to decide the night before was the exact time that we would meet in the morning.

[…]

A Love Letter to Love Letters

Don't let the pastels fool you!

Rosy Thornton’s More Than Love Letters (2006) Headline, 2007

“Don’t you think it would be sad if nobody ever wrote each other love letters any more?”

The genesis of Rosy Thornton’s debut novel could well have been that statement.

Of course it’s a character — not the author […]