Fiction

1014 Cariboo teacher & the cowboy

Finding the Daydreamer by Estella Kuchta Laramie, Wyoming: Elm Books, 2020 $14.95 (U.S.) / 9781941614327 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy * Vancouverite Estella Kuchta’s debut novel incorporates her academic interests in ecocriticism and the Canadian literary love story. Her American publishers call it “A tale of survival, set in the Canadian wilderness” (back cover) thereby placing…
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1010 A trans tale of triumph

Blood Sport by Tash McAdam Victoria: Orca Books, 2020 $10.95  /  9781459824362 Reviewed by Carol Anne Shaw * Vancouver author Tash McAdams has written a little gem in Blood Sport. Part of the Orca Soundings series — short, high-interest novels targeted at teen readers — this novel is a fast-paced and exciting read. It is…
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1003 Windsor’s grit and magic

Fontainebleau by Madeline Sonik Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2020 $20.00 / 9781772141481 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy * University of Victoria professor Madeline Sonik’s second collection of stories springs from the gritty suburban projects and amorphous rural settings in and around Windsor, Ontario in, roughly, the third quarter of the 20th Century. Linked short stories (think James…
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Calling all passengers!

Calling all passengers by Richard Mackie * Passenger warning: ship’s whistle will sound. May I make a special request to readers of The Ormsby Review? To be eligible for the next BC Arts Council grant, which is due Jan 4th, as a digital journal we need at least 300 email subscribers. We are not quite…
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#999 Kootenay hardrock intrigue

Big Ledge: The Triumphs and Tribulations of Robert E. Sproule by Brian D’Eon Nelson: Home Star Press, 2018 $20.00 /  9781775387206 Reviewed by Art (Sean Arthur) Joyce To obtain copies of Big Ledge, contact Brian D’Eon here. * Big Ledge by Brian D’Eon is that rarity in historical fiction — a story that combines historical…
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#996 Straight white guys and Tsingtao

You Are Eating An Orange. You Are Naked by Sheung-King (Aaron Tang) Toronto: Book*hug Press, 2020 $20.00 / 9781771666411 Reviewed by Jessica Poon * On January 6, 2021, Sheung-King’s You Are Eating An Orange. You Are Naked was announced as one of fifteen books long-listed for Canada Reads, an annual book competition organized by CBC…
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#995 Fairy tales for modern minds

The Swan Suit by Katherine Fawcett Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2020 $22.95 / 9781771622608 Reviewed by Candace Fertile * Katherine Fawcett’s second collection of stories is a must read for anyone who likes deliriously imaginative, hilarious, and twisted fairy/fantasy stories that skewer contemporary culture. This was a book I often had to put down…
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#992 Plums, Faceplant, psilocybin

The End of Me: Stories by John Gould Calgary: Freehand Books, 2020 $22.95 / 9781988298566 Reviewed by Heidi Greco * Every once in a while a book comes along that’s so different, it’s hard to find a tack to take in reviewing it. John Gould’s most recent collection of short fictions presents just such a…
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#984 Paper boats and rising secrets

How a Woman Becomes a Lake by Marjorie Celona Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada, 2020 (Hamish Hamilton) $19.95 / 9780735235847 Reviewed by Candace Fertile * Marjorie Celona’s second novel, How a Woman Becomes a Lake, is similar in style to her first, Y, and that alone makes it worth reading. Celona is skilled at psychological…
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#983 A studio of one’s own

One Madder Woman by Dede Crane Calgary: Freehand Books, 2020 $23.95 / 9781988298689 Reviewed by Carole Gerson * France’s Impressionist artists are now so canonical that we often forget that their first exhibition of 1874, organized in protest against the conservatism of the Académie de Beaux Arts that vetted the annual displays of the Paris…
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#981 Voyage to Vancouver Island

The Brideship Wife by Leslie Howard Toronto: Simon & Schuster, 2020 $24.99 / 9781508259350 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Leslie Howard’s fictional interpretation of an 1860s journey to the new world on board of one of the famous bride ships is one of the best of many I have read on this subject. The Brideship…
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#980 Return to small town Ontario

Christmas in Mariposa: Sketches of Canada’s Legendary Little Town by Jamie Lamb Victoria: Heritage House, 2019 $19.95 / 9781772032871 Reviewed by Peter Babiak * It wasn’t until I was in grad school that I realised that fiction and myth, far from being cultural fripperies divorced from the practical matters of life, can be just as…
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#979 A fiery & persevering love affair

Through the Garden: A Love Story (with Cats) by Lorna Crozier Toronto: Penguin Random House (McClelland and Stewart), 2020 $29.95 / 9780771021183 Reviewed by Kathy Mezei * We know of famous, sometimes notorious, writing couples — Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne, Simone Beauvoir and Jean-Paul…
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#975 Stable women and good wine

Consent by Annabel Lyon Toronto: Penguin Random House, 2020 $29.95 / 9780345811455 Reviewed by Jessica Poon * Like a vampire chugging type-O blood in an unblinking, insatiable fervour, I finished Consent by Annabel Lyon in one sitting. What better endorsement than to confess that I brought Consent with me to the bathroom? Simply put, I…
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#970 Death on Highway 7

The Weight of Blood by D.B. Carew Edmonton: New West Press, 2020 $18.95 / 9781988732923 Reviewed by Valerie Green * D.B. Carew’s The Weight of Blood, his second Chris Ryder mystery thriller, is a mixture of intriguing thrills and deep psychological insight. The main character, Chris Ryder, is a psychiatric social worker who is once…
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