Fiction

1534 Finding Francie Fox

Red Fox Road by Frances Greenslade Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada (Puffin), 2022 (hardcover, 2020) $11.99 / 9780735267831 Reviewed by Cassidy Lea * If you ever got lost in the woods, what would you do? What would you need to survive? An axe, maybe some fishing gear, enough dehydrated food to feed you for a…
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1532 Some things that remain true

Icefields by Thomas Wharton, with a foreword by Suzette Mayr Edmonton: NeWest Press, 2021 (first published 1995) $23.95 / 9781774390368 Reviewed by Geoffrey D. Morrison * A reissued novel poses a special task for the reviewer, not least because many of the things people say about a book the first time around tend to remain…
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1526 Our strongest suit

Best Canadian Stories 2021 by Diane Schoemperlen (editor) Windsor, ON: Biblioasis, 2021 $18.99 / 9781771964364 Reviewed by Carol Matthews * There’s a rumour that the short story is on the decline and that publishers, not to mention the public, prefer novels. And yet, here we have the 2021 edition of Best Canadian Short Stories. The…
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1522 A vintage west coast thriller

Perilous Passage by Arthur Mayse, with an introduction by Susan Mayse Montreal: Véhicule Press, 2021 (first published by William Morrow and Company, 1949) $14.99 / 9781550655841 Reviewed by Miranda Marini * Despite being a Canadian author and despite his vast contributions to the Canadian literary canon, Arthur Mayse remains a lesser-known author among Canadian literature…
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1521 House of cards

The Perfect Family by Robyn Harding Toronto: Simon and Schuster Canada, 2021 $24.99 / 9781982176877 Reviewed by Zoe McKenna * In front of the window overlooking my own quiet street, it is not at all difficult to imagine the suburban neighbourhood in which Robyn Harding’s The Perfect Family takes place. The Perfect Family is the…
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1516 Memories and caregivers

A Funny Kind of Paradise by Jo Owens Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada (Random House Canada), 2021 $22.95 / 9780735278820 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy * An extended care facility in Victoria might seem a claustrophobic setting for a novel, particularly when a stroke has rendered speechless its narrator, Francesca, who inhabits a room with four…
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1509 A twosome from Susan Juby

Me Three by Susan Juby Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada, 2022 $22.99  /  9780735268722 * Mindful of Murder by Susan Juby Toronto: HarperCollins Canada, 2022 $24.99 / 9781443464437 Both books reviewed by Dana McFarland * “If you follow your dharma, you will bring good into the world.” – from Mindful of Murder by Susan Juby In…
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1508 Panels and palindromes

Swan Song by Sonja Ahlers Wolfville, NS: Conundrum Press, 2021 $20.00 / 9781772620627 Reviewed by Jeff Stychin * Sonja Ahlers’ Swan Song makes me wonder if we’re taking full advantage of the written discourse we use daily to communicate. Ahlers seems to have found an improved precept in which the form of the page becomes…
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1506 The time-lock bandits

Under an Outlaw Moon by Dietrich Kalteis Toronto: ECW Press, 2021 $19.95 / 9781770415478 Reviewed by Alma Lee * This book might never have been written. Dietrich Kalteis was researching for another book and came across the intriguing story of Bennie and Stella Mae Dickson. How could an author resist telling this tale of tragic…
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1496 Listening to Ainsley

Serena Singh Flips the Script by Sonya Lalli Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada (Berkley), 2021 $22.00 / 9780593100936 Reviewed by Myshara Herbert-McMyn * Serena Singh doesn’t want the domestic bliss of a husband and children in her life and she’s ready to show her family that it’s possible to be happy with her new job…
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1492 Postwar Kootenay intrigue

Framed in Fire: A Lane Winslow Mystery by Iona Whishaw Victoria: Touchwood Editions, 2022 $16.95 / 9781771513807 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy * The past is still, for us, a place that is not yet safely settled. — Michael Ondaatje, from The Faber Book of Contemporary Canadian Short Stories (1990) In the nine Lane Winslow mysteries…
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1489 Jacob McAlister’s suicide

Help! I’m Alive by Gurjinder Basran Toronto: ECW Press, 2022 $22.95 / 9781770416307 Reviewed by Brett Josef Grubisic * On the very surface, Help! I’m Alive isn’t a novel about paucity. After all, there’s the thrum of an urban population busy with careers, errands, appointments, and hobbies. Smooth governance and well-funded infrastructure assure the maintenance…
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1488 A story of consequence

Face: A Novel of the Anthropocene by Jaspreet Singh Victoria: Touchwood Editions, 2022 $22.00 / 9781927366974 Reviewed by Danial Neil * A novel of the Anthropocene, a word with great weight, perhaps not easily used in a sentence or casual conversation. Still, it demands you to look, to understand, to fully come to terms with…
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1485 A perilous email rabbit hole

Just One Look by Lindsay Cameron Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada (Ballantine Books), 2022 $23.00 /  9780593159071 Reviewed by Zoe McKenna * As the first pages of Lindsay Cameron’s Just One Look unfold, it becomes clear that Cassie Woodson is not to be trusted. The ease with which Cassie learns every intimate detail about a…
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1482 The black cat lives on

For Freedom We Will Fight: The Industrial Workers of the World in British Columbia, 1905-1990 by Larry Gambone Edmonton: Black Cat Press, 2021 $16.00  /   9781926878263 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * B.C.’s Wobblies: A radical union that will not die The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), known everywhere as the Wobblies, were once the…
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