#297 From Gallant to Kafka

First published May 4, 2018. The Two of Us by Kathy Page Windsor, Ontario: Biblioasis, 2016. $19.95  /  9781771960991 Reviewed by Paul Headrick   Kathy Page’s fiction has often been the bridesmaid, not the bride. After she was longlisted for the Giller Prize in 2014 for her story collection, Paradise & Elsewhere, Page was longlisted…
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#293 Emotional time bombs

First published April 25, 2018. The Promise of Water by Judy LeBlanc (Oolichan: 2017) 978-0-88982-320-4 $19.95 tp Review by Caroline Woodward * Judy LeBlanc’s debut collection evokes a tangible sense of place—Vancouver Island—where the sweet fragrance of cedar mingles with the murky odours of damp mould and stale cigarette smoke can be washed away by…
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#286 New Orphic Review bookend

MEMOIR: Endpiece: Recalling New Orphic by Margrith Schraner First published April 13, 2018 * Here Margrith Schraner recalls her twenty years as Associate Editor of The New Orphic Review of Vancouver and Nelson.  “I now conceive of ‘Endpiece’ as a caboose—a railway wagon attached to the end of a train. The lights at the back…
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#277 The new turf of Indigenous Lit

From Oral to Written: A Celebration of Indigenous Literature in Canada, 1980-2010 by Tomson Highway Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2017 $29.95  /  9781772011166 Reviewed by Deanna Reder First published March 30, 2018 * Eminent Cree author Tomson Highway’s From Oral to Written, released by Talonbooks in 2017, is beautifully flawed, inspiring the reader with tremendous lists of…
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#269 A plague on our houses

First published March 21, 2018. The Plague (Arsenal Pulp $19.95) by Kevin Chong review by Joan Givner * A classic French text invigorates a new tale of rats overtaking Vancouver. Joan Givner compares Kevin Chong’s The Plague, set in Vancouver, with Albert Camus’ work of the same name published seventy years earlier. * In 1947,…
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#235 Dancing on paper

First published Jan. 19, 2018. A Queer Love Story: The Letters of Jane Rule and Rick Bébout by Marilyn R. Schuster (editor) Vancouver: UBC Press, 2017. $39.95  / 9780774835459 Reviewed by Patricia Demers * Reading a collection of letters can be something of a guilty pleasure. Marilyn Schuster’s edition of the letters of Jane Rule…
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#187 Brother, where art thou?

First published October 23, 2017 Brother McClelland & Stewart 2017 by David Chariandy $25 hc ISBN 978-0-7710-2290-6 reviewed by Cherie Thiessen * The only author nominated for both the Giller and Rogers Writers Trust Fiction awards in 2017 is David Chariandy, whose second novel, Brother, concerns two siblings growing up in Scarborough in the 1980s….
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#168 Feminist shareholders meet

First published Sept. 11, 2017 REVIEW: Making Room; Forty Years of Room Magazine Edited by the Meghan Bell and the Growing Room Collective Vancouver and Halfmoon Bay: West Coast Feminist Literary Magazine Society and Caitlin Press, 2017. $24.95 9781987915402 Reviewed by Megan J. Davies *   Holding the 416-page heft of this volume gives me…
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#167 Depths of Shaughnessy Heights

First published Sept. 8, 2017 The White Angel by John MacLachlan Gray Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2017. $29.95 978-1-77162-146-5 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy   The challenges of writing historical fiction are manifold, according to reviewer Ginny Ratsoy. “Writers must capture both the exterior (surface and sociological details of a time they know only through…
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#130 The making of Making Room

First published May 23, 2017 REVIEW: Making Room; Forty Years of Room Magazine Edited by the Meghan Bell and the Growing Room Collective Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2017, with the Growing Room Collective. $24.95  /  9781987915402 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve   * When I began to think about reviewing this book, a Canadian historian expressed…
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#121 A 100-mile crime novel

First published April 17, 2017 REVIEW: Speakeasy by Alisa Smith Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2017. $22.95. 978-1-77162-066-6 Reviewed John Douglas Belshaw With her partner and co-writer James MacKinnon, Alisa Smith recounted their year-long attempt to eat only foods grown and produced within a 100-mile radius of their Vancouver apartment. Their collaboration, The 100-Mile Diet: A…
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New Orphic Review Archives

Two of the unsung heroes of B.C. literature, Ernest Hekkanen and Margrith Schraner, began The New Orphic Review, a bi-annual journal of fiction, poetry, reviews and essays in 1998 when they had just turned fifty-one. “To create a product of no obvious practical value,” Hekkanen writes in the penultimate issue, “and for which there would be…
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