Fiction

#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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#527 Canadian graffiti

Graffiti, Canadian Style by Ernest Hekkanen First published in The Ormsby Review, April 9, 2019 * It was twenty years ago, in 1999, that Ernest Hekkanen wrote this diatribe about why Vancouver public art is so godawful, why Canada’s granting agencies can be foolish or corrupt, and why he rejected a contract from a respected…
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#526 Lies, tenure, and dark energy

Black Star by Maureen Medved Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2018 $20.00 / 9781772141122 Reviewed by Theo Dombrowski First published Apr. 7, 2019 * Encountering the barbed and dazzling shards that make up the word world of Black Star, a reader might feel on uneven ground. And for good reason. This is a novel that jolts, jars,…
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#502 Patrick Lane (1939-2019)

Patrick Lane (1939-2019) An obituary by Alan Twigg * Patrick Lane was born on March 26, 1939 in the Kootenay mountain town of Sheep Creek, near Nelson, and grew up in the B.C. Interior, primarily in Vernon. His father, an ex-miner, had moved to the dry Interior because he was suffering from silicosis. Lane couldn’t…
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#489 Trouble at Hell’s Gate

The Death and Life of Strother Purcell by Ian Weir Fredericton, New Brunswick: Goose Lane Editions, 2018 $22.95 / 9781773100296 Reviewed by Valerie Green First published Feb. 18, 2019 * Whether or not early British Columbia can, in reality, be lumped into a western American formula is for the professional historian to decide. Meanwhile, if…
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#484 A life in books: George Bowering

He Speaks Volumes: A Biography of George Bowering by Rebecca Wigod Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2018 $24.95 / 9781772012064 Reviewed by Kathy Mezei First published Feb. 12, 2019 * What a great title. For George Bowering does speak volumes; he is out-spoken, loud, witty, loquacious, a “talk producer” as Virginia Woolf once described a character. And, as…
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#478 Burquitlam bubble burb

Property Values by Charles Demers Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2018 $17.95 / 9781551527277 Reviewed by John Douglas Belshaw First published Feb. 4, 2019 * We need to talk about … Burquitlam. It’s liminal. Which is a scholarly word meaning it occupies “a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.” (Thank you,…
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