Fiction

#869 Canadian short stories 2019

Best Canadian Stories 2019 by Caroline Adderson (editor) Windsor, Ontario: Biblioasis, 2019 $22.95 /  9781771963275 Reviewed by Marion Quednau * Reading the stories in this anthology reminded me of something the late American writer, Jim Harrison, once said: “But a man can stop his car, get out: he can dive in a lake and swim…
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#865 Channelling Oscar Wilde

Beautiful Untrue Things: Forging Oscar Wilde’s Extraordinary Afterlife by Gregory Mackie Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019 $60.00 / 9781487502904 Reviewed by Brittany Reid * There has long been a fascination with the unusual lives of authors, leading to the proliferation of a popular and academic genre known as literary biography. Literary biographies are intended…
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#861 Anatomy of a bestseller

A Match Made for Murder: A Lane Winslow Mystery by Iona Whishaw Victoria: TouchWood Editions, 2020 $16.95 / 9781771513265 Reviewed by Jennifer Chutter * Reading Iona Whishaw’s A Match Made for Murder, Book 7 in her Lane Winslow series, was like being invited to a party where the host had promised me I would have…
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#853 A Modest Silence

SHORT STORY: A Modest Silence by Jennifer Moss For an audio version, see here * A Modest Silence is a Woman’s Crown — Euripides, Andromache We are the stories we tell, and we are compelled to create stories to understand ourselves. — Susan Gregory, et al., “Rewrite Your Life,” Psychology Today (May 2, 2016) We…
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#850 Choosing the safest option

Decision Point: An Impossible Choice by Donalda Reid Vancouver: Off the Mountain Publishing, 2019 [price to come] / 9780978472412 Reviewed by Zoe McKenna * We’re often warned that those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it. This sentiment motivates Donalda Reid’s newest novel, Decision Point. Reid is the author of several books,…
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#846 Ashcroft drought and hunger

The Ballad of Samuel Hewitt by Nick Tooke Erin, ON: Porcupine’s Quill, 2020 $19.95 / 9780889844278 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy * Add Nick Tooke’s The Ballad of Samuel Hewitt to what I am calling the  BC Interior anti-Western (as in Old Hollywood Western movie) novel with roaming “heroes” emanating from the hardscrabble and hostile interior…
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#830 Sweeping rape under the rug

Girls Like Me by Kristin Butcher Victoria: Orca Books, 2019 $9.95  / 9781459820555 Reviewed by Carol Anne Shaw  Trigger warning: rape, sexual coercion, miscarriage * Kristin Butcher of Campbell River has written more than twenty books for young people, and has been shortlisted for a variety of Canadian literary awards during her career. She writes…
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#818 Shoulder pads and red lipstick

The War Widow by Tara Moss Toronto: HarperCollins, 2020 $34.00 / 9781443461207 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Tara Moss has created another excellent piece of crime fiction with The War Widow. The style of this book, although perhaps a little far-fetched in places, is reminiscent of old movies set in the 1940s like Casablanca, starring…
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#817 Bad corsets and the wrong shoes

Actress by Anne Enright Toronto: Penguin Random House, 2020 $29.95 / 9780771005916 Reviewed by Theo Dombrowski * There are not many more “Irish” novelists than Booker Prize winning novelist Anne Enright. Still, her connections to British Columbia, and Vancouver Island in particular, though slender, are strong. In a recent talk at an event in Dublin,…
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#815 A confluence of passages

The Weight of the Heart by Theresa Kishkan Windsor, ON: Palimpsest Press, 2020 $15.95 / 9781989287477 Reviewed by David Stouck * This newly published novella by one of BC’s most prolific and accomplished authors eludes easy categorization because it is part travel writing, part family tragedy, part literary history and part cartography. The young narrator,…
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#810 Pawns in the Hitler Youth

Secrets in the Shadows by Heige S. Boehm Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 2019 $14.95 / 9781553805724 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Secrets in The Shadows is the story of two boyhood friends, Michael and Wolfgang (Wolfie), growing up in Nazi Germany in the 1930s. But it is also so much more. Author Heige S. Boehm has…
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#808 Refugee in the Slocan Valley

The Foundations of Kindness by Richard Vission Montreal: Guernica Editions, 2020 $25.00 / 9781771834735 Reviewed by Luanne Armstrong * When I finished Richard Vission’s new book, The Foundations of Kindness, I went for a long walk, letting the book and stories and the history of what he has depicted wash through me. (The title comes…
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