Fiction

#639 The characters of English Bay

I Saw Three Ships: West End Stories by Bill Richardson Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2019 $16.95 / 9781772012330 Reviewed by Harvey De Roo * On March 12, 2020, I Saw Three Ships: West End Stories, by Bill Richardson, was one of five books shortlisted for the 2020 Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award of the BC and Yukon…
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#633 Uneasy stories, imperfect lives

Meteorites: Stories by Julie Paul Victoria: Brindle & Glass, an imprint of TouchWood Editions, 2019 $22.00 / 9781927366820 Reviewed by William New * In a much quoted phrase, the Nigerian writer Ben Okri observes that the “fact of storytelling hints at a fundamental human unease, hints at human imperfection. Where there is perfection, there is…
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#630 Breaking with the Tribe

Mad Hatter by Amanda Hale Montreal: Guernica Editions, 2019 $29.95 / 9781771833905 See here for the audiobook Reviewed by Sally Campbell * Some books are simply better than others. This fictionalized memoir, set in Britain during the Second World War, takes on big questions — mental fragility, emotional resilience, demonization of dissenters, tribalism, family secrets…
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#625 To Italy with Stendhal

A Promise on the Horizon by Ann Pearson Vancouver: Granville Island Publishing, 2019 $24.95 / 9781989467022 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Ann Pearson’s work of biographical fiction, A Promise on the Horizon, will be greatly esteemed by historians, academic researchers, and lovers of the Napoleonic era. Pearson takes the reader on a delightful journey of…
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#623 Leave the man in the ditch

Bina: A Novel in Warnings by Anakana Schofield Toronto: Knopf Canada (Penguin Random House), 2019 $29.95 / 9780735273214 Reviewed by Paul Headrick * The narrator of Anakana Schofield’s Bina, a Novel in Warnings is an elderly woman, more-or-less trapped in her house near Castlebar, Ireland. While awaiting possible trial on an unspecified criminal charge, she…
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#620 Vancouver beyond the postcards

Vancouver Noir by Sam Wiebe (editor) Brooklyn, NY: Akashic Books, 2018 $23.95 / 9781617756597 Reviewed by Paul Falardeau * Vancouver is a beautiful city, one you might expect is a good place to find some world-class, city-adjacent hikes, the best smoked salmon, and some of the finest sinsemilla you could ever hope to smoke. It’s…
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#618 The deeper language of women

Women’s Writing in Canada by Patricia Demers University of Toronto Press, 2019 $34.95 / 9780802095015 Reviewed by Linda Rogers * They used to throw women artists in mental institutions, our radical behaviour disruptive to the norm. Across the street from my house, there is a half way home for mentally challenged adults, the victims of…
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#615 A floating city sinks

Floating City by Kerri Sakamoto Toronto: Knopf Canada, 2018; Penguin Random House, 2019 $21.00 / 9780345809896 Reviewed by Grahame Ware * “One swallow doth not a summer make” – Shakespeare, from Aristotle Kerri Sakamoto’s flight south to warmer climes after the publication of One Hundred Million Hearts (Penguin, 2005) has been a multi-year migration. And…
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#601 Notice to all Japanese Persons

The Three Pleasures by Terry Watada Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2017 $24.99 / 9781772140958 Reviewed by Michael Kluckner * One of the touchstones of Canadian historical fiction is Obasan, Joy Kogawa’s gentle, autobiographical 1981 story of a Japanese-Canadian childhood disrupted by the racism of the Second World War years in British Columbia. With its cast of…
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#600 Rolling into Whitehorse

Worry Stones Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 2018 by Joanna Lilley $18.95 / 9781553805410 Reviewed by Jenna Butler * There’s more than a touch of the autobiographical about Joanna Lilley’s first novel, the beautifully poetic Worry Stones. Originally from the UK, Lilley emigrated to Canada in 2006 and now calls Whitehorse home, in much the same way…
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#598 Alienated and unmotivated

Dead Flowers by Alexander Laidlaw Gibsons: Nightwood Editions: 2019 $19.95 / 9780889713550 Reviewed by Heather Graham * Dead Flowers is a collection of eight stories by a young writer who currently calls the Sunshine Coast home. As far as the reader can tell, only one of the stories, “On Gordon Head,” is actually set in…
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#596 Escape from the fish farm

Jim Christy: A Vagabond Life by Ian Cutler, with a foreword by Luis E. Navia Port Angeles, WA: Feral House, 2019 $17.95 (U.S.) / 9781627310741 Reviewed by John Moore * Literary biography is a problematic genre. Ostensibly, its purpose is to illuminate the author’s work, but writing about an author inevitably means competing with a…
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#594 Talking feet & werewolf expertise

Collapsible by Tim Conley Vancouver: New Star Books 2019 $18.00 / 9781554201518 Reviewed by Myshara Herbert-McMyn with Ginny Ratsoy * The author of several previous books of poetry, Tim Conley teaches twentieth-century literature at Brock University, specializing in modernists such as Joyce and Beckett, as well as “experimental novelists and avant-garde poets,” according to his…
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