Fiction

#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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#589 Trevor Clark (1955-2019)

Trevor Clark (1955-2019) An obituary by Alan Twigg * Born in Toronto in 1955, ex-Vancouverite Trevor Clark died in Montreal on April 4, 2019. Clark, who moved to Vancouver in 2008, specialized in ne’er-do-well characters with vagabond tendencies and volatile relationships. He is survived by his daughter, Jade. A coincidentally novel, Damaged at Daybreak (Now…
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#576 In conversation with Van Camp

Moccasin Square Gardens: Short Stories by Richard Van Camp Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2019 $19.95 / 9781771622165 Reviewed by Paul Falardeau * Richard Van Camp, the celebrated Tłįcho storyteller, may be best known for his novel, The Lesser Blessed, or his involvement with the CBC program, North of 60. However, one would be remiss…
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#569 Superscript and sexual tension

Reproduction by Ian Williams Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada, 2019 $35.00 / 9780735274051 Reviewed by Theo Dombrowski * On September 3, 2019, Ian Williams’ debut novel Reproduction was longlisted for the ScotiaBank Giller Prize and later that month was one of six books shortlisted for the prize. Williams, of UBC, was announced as the winner…
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#561 At home with Jack Hodgins

Damage Done by the Storm by Jack Hodgins Vancouver: Ronsdale Press 2019 $18.95 / 9781553805595 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy and Alexandra Horsman * First published by McClelland and Stewart in 2004, this collection has been reissued with one story added. We are happy to report that Damage Done by the Storm withstands the test of…
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#551 Keith Harrison (1945-2019)

Keith Harrison (1945-2019) An obituary by Alan Twigg * Born in Vancouver on June 18, 1945, John Keith Harrison, author of nine books, died at his home on Hornby Island on April 10, 2019. As a well-liked and respected professor of English and Creative Writing and Journalism at Vancouver Island University for 22 years, Keith Harrison…
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#546 Flashes of fascinating humanity

Hider/Seeker: Stories by Jen Currin Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2018 $20.00 / 9781772141177 Reviewed by Candace Fertile * The twenty stories in Vancouver poet Jen Currin’s debut collection of fiction explore the lives of LGBTQ+ characters, in particular their relationships as they fall apart. Loneliness is occasionally assuaged by sex, which is mistaken for love, but…
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#543 In unity is not strength

Lost Boy by Shelley Hrdlitschka Victora: Orca Book Publishers, 2018 $14.95 /  9781459816374 Reviewed by Carol Anne Shaw * Having enjoyed Shelley Hrdlitschka’s Sister Wife (Orca Books, 2008) — a young adult novel about a fictitious polygynous community in Canada — I was excited to read Lost Boy, the story of a young boy’s escape…
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#533 Downtown Eastside Scribes

From the Heart of it All: Ten Years of Writing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside by Heidi Greco (editor) Vancouver: Otter Press, 2018 $18 / 9780994821942 Reviewed by Yvonne Blomer First published April 20, 2019 * For ten years (2008-2018), the Thursdays Writing Collective was an important part of Vancouver’s literary scene. At its goodbye party…
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