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

Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine (1984)

“Since writing Love Medicine, I have understood that I am writing one long book in which the main chapters are also books titled Tracks, Four Souls, The Bingo Palace, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse and The Painted Drum. The characters appear and disappear in my consciousness – a lamentable, messy […]

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Louise Erdrich’s Four Souls (2004)

As with Tracks, the primary voices in Four Souls are Fleur’s and Nanapush’s.

So, although it was published more than ten years later, I opted to read Four Souls next, to keep these characters fresher in mind and heart, hoping for a deeper understanding.

Two other women play significant roles in this story as well […]

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Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing (2016): Third Variation

This is the third of three posts spiralling around the notes made while reading Do Not Say We Have Nothing. Each with ten parts. Thirty segments. As though my post is the aria and the thirty segments are the variations. In recognition of the importance which Bach’s Goldberg Variations holds in relationship to the novel.

[…]

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Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing (2016): Second Variation

This is the second of three posts spiralling around the notes made while reading Do Not Say We Have Nothing. Each with ten parts. Thirty segments. As though my post is the aria and the thirty segments are the variations. In recognition of the importance which Bach’s Goldberg Variations holds in relationship to the novel.

Although […]

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Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing (2016): First Variation

This will be the first of three posts spiralling around notes made while reading Do Not Say We Have Nothing.

Each with ten parts. Thirty segments. As though my post is the aria and the thirty segments are the variations.

In recognition of the importance which Bach’s Goldberg Variations holds in relationship to the novel.

[…]

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Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future (2015)

The Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is essential reading.

TRC, 2015

As a component of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, the TRC’s “mandate is to inform all Canadians about what happened in Indian Residential Schools (IRS).”

The report is intended “to document the truth of survivors, families, communities […]

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Zadie Smith’s Swing Time (2016)

In the first musical number in the classic RKO comedy film “Swing Time”, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance with grace and finesse; towards the end of the number, they even leap across the fence-like borders which circle the floor.

Hamish Hamilton – PRH, 2016

Astaire and Rogers barely seem to touch the floor, […]

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Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures (2016)

“There was virtually no aspect of twentieth-century defense technology that had not been touched by the hands and minds of female mathematicians.”

HarperCollins, 2016

That might not come up in math class at school, but it’s evident on every page of Hidden Figures.

“What I wanted was for them to have the […]

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Telling Stories: Five 2016 Novels

It’s not all “Reader, I married him” but plenty of contemporary novels are preoccupied by the idea of storytelling, and often one voice does speak to us directly even now.

Periscope Books, 2016

In Tabish Khair’s Just Another Jihadi Jane, the storyteller’s direct address appears regularly and spiritedly.

“Yes, well, if you insist, I […]

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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 […]

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