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 […]

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.

[…]

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 […]

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.

[…]

All Those Who Are Missing: New 2016 Novels

Many writers suggest that a motivation for telling stories is to set things in order, to make sense of what seems senseless. Little wonder that so many novels are preoccupied with loss and absence, abandonment and grief.

In Melanie Mah’s The Sweetest One, Chris (Chrysler) Wong thinks maybe she’s cursed. Readers don’t understand, at first, […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Fourth Nina Borg Mystery: The Considerate Killer

“’What the hell makes you think,’ she said, in her most glacial voice, ‘that I am anybody’s victim?’”

Soho Press, 2016

Nina’s question, in an earlier volume of the series, is ironic in this context: The Considerate Killer begins with two blows to the back of Nina’s head and a lingering state of unconsciousness, […]