Memoir

#821 The hidden pulse of Vancouver

Rain City: Vancouver Reflections by John Moore Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2020 $20.00 / 9781772141399 Reviewed by Grahame Ware * On the inside front pages of Rain City: Vancouver Reflections, John Moore brandishes a quote from Paul St. Pierre: “A journalist is a reporter who can’t hold a steady job.” The instability of journalism and feature…
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#813 Mordant men of Nova Scotia

The Home Stretch: A Father, A Son, and All the Things They Never Talk About by George K. Ilsley Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2020 $19.95 /  9781551527956 Reviewed by Brett Josef Grubisic * Considered by title alone, The Home Stretch might encourage a vision — a celebratory one — of completion: finishing a taxing race…
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#812 Vancouver junkie hunter, 1983

Horseplay: My Time Undercover on the Granville Strip by Norm Boucher Edmonton: NeWest Press, 2020 $21.95 / 9781988732985 Note: this book will not be available until November 15, 2020. Order it in advance at your local bookstore. Reviewed by Ron Verzuh  * We’re on the toughest section of Granville Street in downtown Vancouver. The hookers…
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#809 From Nanaimo to the Royal Ascot

Nanaimo Girl: A Memoir by Prudence Emery Toronto: Cormorant Books, 2020 $24.95 / 9781770865273 Reviewed by Randolph Eustace-Walden Unless noted otherwise, all images reproduced here are from Nanaimo Girl: A Memoir, by Prudence Emery * Prudence Emery is the eponymous “Nanaimo Girl.” Now in her early 80s and living on her native Vancouver Island just…
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#808 Refugee in the Slocan Valley

The Foundations of Kindness by Richard Vission Montreal: Guernica Editions, 2020 $25.00 / 9781771834735 Reviewed by Luanne Armstrong * When I finished Richard Vission’s new book, The Foundations of Kindness, I went for a long walk, letting the book and stories and the history of what he has depicted wash through me. (The title comes…
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#801 Welcome to Ormsby Street

Welcome to Ormsby Street by Richard Somerset Mackie * In September 2016, in his Welcome to the Ormsby Review, Richard Mackie provided his memories of Margaret Ormsby (1909-1996), the B.C. historian after whom The Ormsby Review is named. He referenced their conversations in two fine old living rooms in the Coldstream Valley, near Vernon, where…
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#798 Shipwrecks, orphans, pianos

Epistle to the Pope: Memoir and Survivor-Impact Statement from a Shipwrecked Orphan by Dharel Verville Victoria: FriesenPress Publishing, 2020 [price to follow] / 9781525554292 Reviewed by Constance Brissenden * Epistle to the Pope is the memoir of a seeker, a classical pianist, and a sometimes drug dealer and addict. Author Daryl Verville, known by his…
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#793 Sons, fathers, and fatherhood

Forty Fathers: Men Talk About Parenting by Tessa Lloyd, with a foreword by Peter Mansbridge Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2019 $34.95 /  9781771622431 Reviewed by Trevor Marc Hughes * From Peter Mansbridge’s foreword to Tessa Lloyd’s Forty Fathers: Men Talk About Parenting, it’s clear that this iconic CBC figure regretted not having spent more…
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#788 The year of the bicycle: 1973

MEMOIR: The year of the bicycle, 1973: North American backroads at the end of the Indochina War by Howard Macdonald Stewart * Here, for the vicarious pleasure of the many COVID-19 shut-in readers of The Ormsby Review who are unable to travel, is a memoir of an ambitious bicycle journey taken in 1973 by Howard…
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#782 You work or you starve

Cures for Hunger: A Memoir by Deni Ellis Béchard Fredericton: Goose Lane Editions, 2019 (first published by Milkweed Editions, 2012) 22.95 / 9781773101453 Reviewed by Luanne Armstrong * When I was a girl, growing up on a backwoods farm in southeastern BC, I loved to listen to men talk. They were so sure of themselves….
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#779 The building goddess of Lund

The Way Home: How a Naïve Single Mom Built her House in the Forest by Terry Faubert Powell River: Steller Books, 2019 $15.00  /  9781096448211 The Way Home is available online through Amazon and Indigo, plus in Powell River at Coles and Ecoessentials, and in Lund at Pollen Sweaters. Terry Faubert can be contacted at…
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#778 On the road with Sir Kenneth

MEMOIR: On the road with Sir Kenneth by Grahame Ware * Recently we published Grahame Ware’s review of Horn Swoggled: A Play by Armstrong playwright Ken Smedley: see The Ormsby Review no. 762 (March 5, 2020). In a follow-up email, Grahame described his intense and productive artistic friendship with Smedley in the mid-1990s, when the…
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#776 Five women at the edge of empire

Henry & Self: An English Gentlewoman at the Edge of Empire by Kathryn Bridge Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum, 2019 (first published by Sono Nis Press, 1996) $22.95 / 9780772672612 * By Snowshoe, Buckboard and Steamer: Women of the British Columbia Frontier by Kathryn Bridge Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum, 2019 (first published by Sono…
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#772 Echoes of spirits dreaming

Bawaajigan: Stories of Power by Nathan Niigan Noodin Adler and Christine Miskonoodinkwe Smith (editors) Toronto: Exile Editions, 2019 $21.95 / 9781550968415 Reviewed by Savana Alphonse with Rebecca Fredrickson * Bawaajigan: Stories of Power is a collection of short stories written by seventeen Indigenous authors from Turtle Island, today known as Canada. The stories here serve…
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