Fiction

#876 Stainsby’s carbons and files

MEMOIR: Writing My Father by Meg Stainsby * After twenty years of carting it around unopened, I unpacked a stale cardboard box stuffed with crackly, yellowed sheets of typescript — some still clinging to their carbons, all faint and fusty — and began a solitary trek across a forty-year expanse of written terrain that my…
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#874 Keeping company at Fort Hope

Potlatch Blanket for a China Man by Mei-Li Lee Victoria: Printorium Bookworks, 2019 $19.95  /  9780991808410 Reviewed by May Q. Wong For a complete list of BC booksellers that stock this book see here. It is also available from Amazon. * Mei-Li Lee draws the reader into her novel through a potlatch ceremony, where a…
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#871 Memory’s lasting irritants

Lost Boys by Darci Bysouth Saskatoon: Thistledown Press, 2019 $20.00 / 9781771871754 Reviewed by William New * The most striking of the eighteen stories collected in Darci Bysouth’s first book read like those moments in our lives that we may want to forget about but never can. They keep coming back to irritate us —…
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#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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