Fiction

#768 A tale of a winter’s day

The Wild Heavens by Sarah Louise Butler Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2020 $22.95 / 9781771622585 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy * From chickadees to lynxes, cedars to lichen, rubber boas to salmon, the other-than human world permeates Sarah Louise Butler’s The Wild Heavens. In this stimulating debut, the natural world is more than a backdrop;…
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#765 A tale of the West Kootenay

Mountain Blues by Sean Arthur Joyce Edmonton: NeWest Press, 2018 $19.95 / 9781988732305 Reviewed by Caroline Woodward * “Well, I’m a reporter just new in town. Looking for work.” So begins Roy Breen’s introduction to life in El Dorado, a small village in the West Kootenays. Breen’s words are also his introduction to his new…
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#756 Lonesome in the City of Glass

We All Need to Eat by Alex Leslie Toronto: Book*hug Press, 2018 $20.00 / 9781771664196 Reviewed by Vincent Ternida * The popular adage “all our cells are replaced every seven to ten years” led to the notion that as human beings, we become completely new people within that cycle. In the nine stories in Alex…
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#750 Thirteen tales of youthful angst

Hunger Moon by Traci Skuce Edmonton: NeWest Press, 2020 $19.95 / 9781988732800 Reviewed by Heather Graham * Of the thirteen stories in Hunger Moon, twelve first appeared separately in various publications, in somewhat different form. What that different form might have been is never revealed, only that they were “earlier versions,” a description bound to…
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#736 Bowering’s ashes and sparks

Taking Measures: Selected Serial Poems by George Bowering, edited by Stephen Collis Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2019 $49.95 (hardcover) / 9781772012378 (softcover $29.95 due Fall 2020) * Ten Women: Stories by George Bowering Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2015 $20.00 / 9781772140316 * Writing and Reading: Essays by George Bowering Vancouver: New Star Books, 2019 $18.00 / 9781554201549 Three…
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#734 Destination Danish colony

San Josef by Harold Macy New Westminster: Tidewater Press, 2019 $20.00 / 9781775165989 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Although I have lived on Vancouver Island for over forty years, I have never travelled farther north than Port Hardy. All I knew of San Josef and Cape Scott at the northern tip of the island was…
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#729 When an inlet is an island

Return to Spinners Inlet by Don Hunter Victoria: TouchWood Editions, 2019 $22.00 / 9781771513081 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy * Although this collection of linked short stories is set in 2019, it evoked nostalgia in this reader. I was not surprised that its prequel, Spinner’s Inlet, was published in 1989 — which at once seems like…
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#726 Beware the Shakespeare seminar

Jacintha by Lorraine Davies Toronto: Dundurn, 2019 $21.99 /  9781459744554 Reviewed by Moira Laidlaw with Ginny Ratsoy * Lorraine Davies’ Jacintha is a novel of secrets, mistakes, and forgiveness. It tells the story of Richard Wilson, a professor of English Literature at the University of British Columbia. After a traumatic landslide destroys his house and…
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#724 Postwar gardening therapy

The Vegetable Museum by Michelle Mulder Victoria: Orca Books, 2019 $10.95 /  9781459816794 Reviewed by George M. Johnson * Michelle Mulder cultivates rich soil (sorry I couldn’t resist that) in her middle-grade novel about 13 year-old Chloë Becher, forced to move from Montreal to Victoria with her Dad when her parents separate. Initially she finds…
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#722 A punchy and brilliant debut

Shut Up You’re Pretty by Téa Mutonji Vancouver: VS. Books, an imprint of Arsenal Pulp Press, 2019 $17.95 / 9781551527550 Reviewed by Jenna Butler * Téa Mutonji’s 2019 short story collection Shut Up You’re Pretty is the first book to be released under Arsenal Pulp Press’s VS. Books, a new imprint publishing work by young…
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#720 Masks, midgets, and junk culture

The Ventriloquist’s Dummy Tells All: A Politically Incorrect Novel by Ernest Hekkanen Nelson: New Orphic Publishers, 2019 $20 / 9781894842273 Reviewed by Sean Arthur (Art) Joyce The Ventriloquist’s Dummy can be purchased directly from New Orphic Publishers at 706 Mill Street, Nelson, B.C. V1L 4S5. The cost is $25, which includes postage — Ed. *…
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#713 Writing tips from Cowichan

10 Sure-fire Ways to NAIL Your First Draft by Carol Anne Shaw * After several years of reading, scribbling, blogging, Facebooking, and trying to look serious on LinkedIn, I’ve come to realize that this writing-a-novel thing is actually a no-brainer. Because there are only ten necessary rules for success. I’m not lying. (I’ll get to…
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#705 Batten down the hatches

Arrow’s Fall by Joel Scott Toronto: ECW Press, 2019 $18.99 / 9781770414273 Reviewed by John Hutchings * This is the second book by Chemainus-based sailor and author Joel Scott, featuring the further adventures of his principal two characters and their old wooden boat, the Arrow. Having not read the first book, I can attest that…
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#694 My name is Lane Winslow

A Deceptive Devotion: A Lane Winslow Mystery by Iona Whishaw Victoria: Touchwood Editions, 2019 $16.95 / 9781771513005 Reviewed by Kim Naqvi * “He doesn’t seem like the romantic type. I mean, he’s kind of old.” “The world is full of mysteries, Constable.” Clever dialogue, and an ear for human flight and fumbles, places Iona Whishaw’s…
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