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

On the page, on the screen

Back in the days when you taped movies onto video cassettes, I was recording “Anna Karenina” to watch another time, when I turned on the television — thinking the film was over and the credits would be running past — and I could not unsee the last few seconds of the story on the screen.

I hadn’t […]

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Pauline Holdstock’s The Hunter and the Wild Girl (2015)

Despite its sedate and unassuming cover, Pauline Holdstock’s The Hunter and the Wild Girl begins in a rush.

Goose Lane, 2015

“With a shriek of splintering boards, the girl breaks into daylight and stands blinded, panting, sucking air as if it were a great hot soup, her chest heaving.”

This sentence and the following pages […]

Sigal Samuel’s The Mystics of Mile End (2015)

There are five windows on the cover of Sigal Samuel’s debut novel; in only one of them does a pair of people appear.

Freehand Books, 2015

In three of the windows there is a solitary silhouette, and in the window at the top, the blind is nearly pulled to the bottom of the sill.

The […]

Michael Crummey’s Sweetland (2014)

It begins in fog. With Matthew Sweetland hearing voices “so indistinct he thought they might be imaginary”.

Doubleday Canada, 2014

This scene from the past alerts readers that they should be concerned with the line between the real and the invented, and even more to the point, with how Sweetland views these states.

For readers […]

Sometimes jazz plays. Sometimes there is cake.

Touchstone – S&S, 2013

How many women have read Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s classic A Gift from the Sea. Nodding along with passages that could have been pulled from their own musings and diary pages.

“Don’t wish me happiness. I don’t expect to be happy…. It’s gotten beyond that, somehow. Wish me courage […]

A New Heroine

Doris McCarthy’s Ninety Years Wise Second Story Press, 2004 This is another book that I discovered thanks to Shelagh Rogers’ The Next Chapter.

You know how sometimes you hear a name so many times and you keep meaning to investigate and then, suddenly, something happens and it shifts from a “someday I should” idea into […]