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 “The Deceptions of Marie-Blanche”

If the story were titled “Les Deceptions de Marie-Blanche”, it might be translated as “The Disappointments of Marie-Blanche”: an apt choice.

San Francisco Earthquake, 1907 – Click for source details

And, yet, as it stands, there is the added implication that Marie-Blanche has not only been disappointed by her love affairs, but that the […]

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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, […]

Mavis Gallant’s “Poor Franzi”

At one table, we have the Wrights, on the crowded hotel terrace, with the Austrian mountains playing picture-postcard for the family, who has journeyed from Baltimore.

They’re a cranky lot, with daughters Coralie and Joan having had a different set of expectations for their travels, which neither their mother nor their brother Charlie shared.

Mavis Gallant’s “Autumn Day” (1955)

I laid in with this story, while on a brief holiday in a small town outside Toronto. Outside, the sound of other people’s everyday morning scurried past, but I was not required to be anywhere in particular that day.

Salzburg Austria, Prison overlooking town [Piotr Bozyk, Click for credit]

This open-ended kind of feeling suited […]

Quarterly Stories: Three Collections

In Susan Hill’s Howard’s End Is on the Landing, she quotes a friend who says “We read Margaret Drabble to feel the zeitgeist, our daughters read Helen Simpson.”

(Their daughters’ daughters might be reading Janine Alyson Young or Alex Leslie or Rivka Galchen or Eufemia Fantetti.)

In the first story in Hey Yeah Right Get […]

Quarterly Stories: Winter 2016

This month, I’m wholly enjoying the stories in the Short Story Advent Calendar (edited by Michael Hingston and designed by Natalie Olsen). The variety of the boxed set is fantastic, especially if you’re looking for “new” short story writers to follow, but I generally read collections of works by a single author.

So many of the […]

Quarterly Stories: Autumn 2016

Only ten this year, so far. Without my Alice Munro project to steer me, I am not reading as many short story collections now.

Over the summer, I read Cherie Dimaline’s A Gentle Habit (2015) as part of All Lit Up’s summer bookclub. Dimaline is a member of the Georgian Bay Métis community and her […]

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XI (RIPXI): Short stories 2016

Peril of the Short Story is an aspect of RIP which I often neglect, despite my best intentions. Not so, this year.

First, MOONSHOT, which is edited by Hope Nicholson for AH Comics (Alternative History) contains many elements which suit this reading season.

First,”The Qallupiluk: Forgiven” which was originally published in Ajjiit: Dark Dreams of the […]

July 2016, In My Bookbag

In which I discuss some of the skinny volumes, which have nestled into my bookbag.

(Meanwhile longer works, like Timothy Findley’s The Piano Man’s Daughter and Greg Iles’ Natchez Burning, were left at home.)

Stephen Thomas’ The Jokes is not funny-haha, but funny-hmmm. It’s not meant to be funny-haha either, although many of the stories are designed […]

Quarterly Stories: Summer 2016

Jill Sexsmith’s Somewhere a Long and Happy Life Probably Awaits You (ARP Books, 2016)

  “Tulip stopped at the doorway. She had grown up with the whir of a mitre saw in the background, always cutting her thoughts and sentences and songs in half. Still, the sound of the blade tearing through wood […]