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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Luisgé Martín’s The Same City (2013; 2015)

It doesn’t happen everyday: a single book resulting in a new reading resolution. Even the idea of it is somehow misleading, isn’t it? Because in the life of a voracious reader, is it possible to isolate a single reading experience and claim it as the genesis of a change in reading habits?

2013. Hispabooks, […]

Susan Philpott’s Blown Red (2015)

It begins with a body. And with short chapters, told from a variety of perspectives, guaranteed to create strong pacing.

Blown Red is the first in the Signy Shepherd mysteries ,and it introduces readers to the series’ star, as well as some of the other key personnel working on the Line.

One stop on the Line is relatively visible […]

On Everything Everything and Everything Feels like the Movies

Everything: isn’t that what readers look for in a book? Many authors think so.

PRH – Doubleday Canada, 2015

One suggests that Everything Leads to You. Another insists that Everything Was Goodbye. (Nina LaCour and Gurjinder Basran)

One begs Tell Me Everything, while another is concerned with Everything I Never Told You. (Sarah Salway […]

Where the Girls Went: Three Novels

Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and, most recently, The Widow: girls make for good pageturners.

But Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins and Fiona Barton are looking to tell different kinds of stories about girls.

In a BookPage interview, Gillian Flynn tries to explain why Gone Girl captured “the popular imagination so thoroughly”.

“It’s perhaps […]

October 2015, In My Reading Log

I pulled André Alexis’ Despair and Other Stories of Ottawa (1994) off my shelf when Fifteen Dogs was nominated for the Toronto Book Award (since then, FD has also been nominated for the Giller Prize and the Rogers’ Writers’ Trust Fiction Award). There aren’t any notable four-legged characters, but the collection is fascinating.

In speaking of his dreams, […]

Mark Anthony Jarman’s Knife Party at the Hotel Europa (2015)

A book-length demonstration of propulsive prose.

This is the word that I wrote in capital letters, in the margins of my reading diary about Mark Anthony Jarman’s Knife Party at the Hotel Europa (2015), but then I wondered if I had subconsciously (deliberately, even!) lifted it from the cover.

It sounds like a word one might see […]

“Messenger” Alice Munro

When I began rereading The View from Castle Rock, I stumbled. It had not been a favourite and my return was not an easy one.

I wondered if this had something to do with my personal response to the idea of expecting words to hold losses. I had lost a friend recently and I was […]

“What Do You Want to Know For?” Alice Munro

And, “Who Do You Think You Are?”

McClelland & Stewart, 2006

As readers approach the final tale in this collection, it seems appropriate to have it titled with a question.

Whatever might be resolved in the effort of creating a narrative in which to secure one’s ancestors, one could not help but have as many […]

“Home” Alice Munro

McClelland & Stewart, 2006

Alice’s father has remarried, and Irlma has made many changes in the house.

“Irlma is a stout and rosy woman, with tinted butterscotch curls, brown eyes in which there is still a sparkle, a look of emotional readiness, of being always on the brink of hilarity. Or on the brink […]