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

Beth Powning’s A Measure of Light (2015)

If you recognize Mary Dyer as being one of the Boston Martyrs, you will expect Beth Powning’s tale to be a harrowing one. To some extent, this is the case.

Knopf – Penguin Random House, 2015

But even if the historical record considers the most remarkable aspect of Mary Dyer’s story to be her death, A […]

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Molly Peacock’s Alphabetique (2014)

Molly Peacock’s Paradise, Piece by Piece (1998) reconstructs the poet’s life using fragments of memory and experience, in orderly lines of text. The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72 (2010) is a biography, sumptuously illustrated. Both books consider women’s work and creativity (among other things).

McClelland & Stewart, 2014

In many […]

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 […]

In the Balance: Will Starling and Punishment

Crimes of the past lurk beneath the stories in Ian Weir’s Will Starling and Linden MacIntyre’s Punishment and the main characters lurch towards and stumble into confrontations and altercations with life-long repercussions.

Goose Lane Editions, 2014

These are both dark tales, but Ian Weir’s novel is literally and figuratively so: “And every step I had taken since […]

Kim Thúy’s Mãn (2013)

In discussing the different kinds of love which the Vietnamese language distinguishes between, Kim Thúy’s Ru lists thích, which means “to love by taste”.

Random House Canada, 2014

(One may also love without being in love (thuong), love passionately (yêu), love ecstatically (mê), love blindly (mù quáng), or love gratefully (tình nghīa) and it’s impossible “quite simply to […]

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 […]

David Adams Richards’ Crimes against My Brother (2014)

David Adams Richards has set many works in the Miramichi, beginning with his classic trilogy (Nights Below Station Street, Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace, and For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down), so that the landscape of New Brunswick has become a character in its own right in his fiction.

Doubleday – Random […]

Padma Viswanathan’s The Ever After of Ashwin Rao (2014)

The dedication to Padma Viswanathan’s second novel: For the lost, and for the living.

Random House of Canada, 2014

Therein, the reader haa a clue, for The Ever After of Ashwin Rao is equally preoccupied with losing and living.

The novel opens in 2004, on the precipice of the trial which was to address the 1985 fatal bombing […]

Richard Wagamese’s Medicine Walk (2014)

One might say that Medicine Walk is a novel about the disconnect between a father and a son.

McClelland & Stewart, 2014

“Eldon Starlight. Franklin Starlight. Four blunt syllables conjuring nothing. When he appeared the kid would watch him and whisper his name under his breath, waiting for a hook to emerge, […]

Sean Michaels’ Us Conductors (2014)

Sean Michaels’ prose invites readers to participate in the relationship between sound and shape through the simple but beautiful language of Us Conductors.

Random House of Canada, 2014

His images are simple and fresh, and they are momentarily disorienting – as beautiful things can be.

“I didn’t laugh but you did, a laugh like […]