Travel

1218 Chennai, a place in between

MEMOIR: Chennai, a place in between by Jane Frankish * It was the last week of October 2002 and we were homeless, jobless, and rootless. This is just the way it was when we entered Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu in Southern India. Our home for the previous eight years had been Kuching, the…
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1196 Minus 65° F on Borden Island

Flying to Extremes: Memories of a Northern Bush Pilot by Dominique Prinet Surrey: Hancock House, 2021 Reviewed by Heather Longworth Sjoblom * “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain. I regret to have to report that our plane is completely covered in ice and we are inexorably descending toward the tundra. In 10 minutes, we’ll…
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1180 Ormsby’s summer fundraiser

Ormsby’s summer fundraiser by Richard Mackie * Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Readers of The Ormsby Review, On behalf of The Ormsby Literary Society, its Board of Directors, and our Advisory Board (listed below), we must appeal to our readership for financial assistance. We are most grateful to the 96 donors who contributed to our 2020…
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1155 Journeys with the Sahtu Dene

Under the Midnight Sun: Journey with the Sahtu Dene by Mary-Anne Neal Victoria: Reciprocity Publishing, 2021 $21.95 / 9781928114338 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Under the Midnight Sun is a beautiful memoir of a spiritual journey written by Victoria educator Mary-Anne Neal. It tells the story of an adventure she undertook as a teenager to…
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1153 Home on leave from Penang

Then Now by Daphne Marlatt Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2021 $16.95 / 9781772012873 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve * The generation of Marlatt’s parents, and of my own, took the British Empire for granted. Government agencies were as feckless then as now (note the book’s title), but one got on with one’s job in business or the civil service…
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1112 Mulling on memoir & motherhood

This One Wild Life: A Mother-Daughter Wilderness Memoir by Angie Abdou Toronto: ECW Press, 2021 $21.95 / 9781770416000 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy * Having recently experienced a large number of contemporary memoirs, I have found myself researching and mulling over the characteristics of the genre. How does a memoir differ from an autobiography? The memoir…
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1089 A lifetime of care and medicine

Improbable Journeys: From Crossing the Himalayas on Horseback to a Career in Obstetrics and Gynaecology by Dr. Bernard A.O. Binns and Ron Smith Oakville, ON: Rock’s Mills Press, 2020 $29.95 / 9781772441932 Reviewed by May Q. Wong * Editor’s note: for a subsequent review of Improbable Journeys by John Kenwright, see The Ormsby Review, June…
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1087 The soul & graveyard of Colombia

Magdalena, River of Dreams: A Story of Colombia by Wade Davis Toronto: Penguin Random House (Knopf Canada), 2020 $24.95 / 9780735278943 Reviewed by Howard Macdonald Stewart * Another river. I was bowled over years ago by Wade Davis’s One River: Explorations and Discoveries in the Amazon Rain Forest (1997), a remarkable book about his youthful…
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1081 A pre-pandemic Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet Vancouver and Victoria (8th edition) by John Lee & Brendan Sainsbury London: Carlton, 2020 $21.99 (US) / 9781787013612 Reviewed by Lauren Harding * Every time I open the familiar blue cover of a Lonely Planet book, I feel a wave of warm nostalgia. I came of age at the time nearly twenty years…
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1080 Across the universe with Hubble

Not Yet Imagined: A Study of Hubble Space Telescope Operations by Christopher Gainor Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office of Communications, NASA History Division, 2020 9781626830615 free eBook (PDF) available here Reviewed by John Hutchings * This is a scholarly but very readable tome that describes — in some 450 pages — the…
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1077 Life beneath the streets

The Rat People: A Journey through Beijing’s Forbidden Underground by Patrick Saint-Paul, translated by David Homel Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2020 $19.95 / 9781551528038 Reviewed by May Q Wong * In The Rat People: A Journey through Beijing’s Forbidden Underground, veteran foreign correspondent Patrick Saint-Paul exposes how Beijing’s, and indeed China’s, explosive growth has been…
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1076 Reflections on an Arctic voyage

Watermelon Snow: Science, Art, and a Lone Polar Bear by Lynne Quarmby Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press, 2020 $24.95 / 9780228003595 Reviewed by Theo Dombrowski * Books about climate change are prolific—and for all the alarming reasons that most of us accept. Watermelon Snow, by Lynne Quarmby, is essentially a book about climate change,…
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