Fiction

1570 A rare and necessary book

Test Piece by Sheryda Warrener Toronto: Coach House Books, 2022 $22.95 / 9781552454497 Reviewed by Michael Turner * Back in the 1990s there existed a tension in Vancouver poetry between language-oriented writers, mostly those associated with the Kootenay School of Writing (KSW), and practitioners of spoken word, some of whom could be found sharing stages…
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1568 Lucía and Manuel

Atacama by Carmen Rodríguez Halifax and Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing (Roseway), 2021 $22.00 /  9781773634777 Reviewed by Alma Lee * In the north of Chile in the early 1920s, in a small mining town called Tacna, strikes are taking place in response to crushing control by the military and wealthy fascistic oligarchs. Atacama is a historical…
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1566 A particular kind of life

All I Stole from You by Ava Bellows Toronto: HarperCollins Canada (Harper Perennial), 2022 $23.99 / 9781443466806 Reviewed by Candace Fertile * The “you” of the title in Ava Bellows’ debut novel, All I Stole from You, is Ingrid, wife of Rob, with whom Maggie, the narrator, has an affair. Right off the bat, relationships…
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1565 Émile Cinq-Mars no. 9

Lady Jail (The Émile Cinq-Mars Thrillers Book 9) by John Farrow London, UK: Severn House (Canongate Books), 2021 £20.99/ $28.99 (U.S.) / 9780727890733 Reviewed by Bill Paul * Imagine you’re a writer of crime fiction living in Québec and you give a reading of your work at a women’s prison 80 kilometres north of Montréal….
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1563 The surfer next door

How to Love Your Neighbor by Sophie Sullivan New York: Macmillan (St. Martin’s Griffin Press), 2022, distributed by Raincoast Books $22.99  /  9781250624185 Reviewed by Zoe McKenna * In How to Love Your Neighbour, Sophie Sullivan uses classic genre tropes to create a unique and heartwarming story about home renovation and falling in love. How…
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1561 Teased into speculation

We Want What We Want by Alix Ohlin Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 2021 $22.95 / 9781487004897 Reviewed by Laurie Ricou * In “FMK”, the eighth of the thirteen stories in this collection, Sonia accompanies her partner Cat, a hospice nurse, to a funeral for someone she does not know. There she drags six-year-old Jake…
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1560 Return of Figgis Green

Ticket to Ride (Volume 4 of the Jason Davey Mysteries) by Winona Kent Winona Kent and St Ives, UK: Blue Devil Books, 2022 $19.99  /  9781777329433 Reviewed by Valerie Green * I must admit that I was not expecting to enjoy Winona Kent’s book Ticket to Ride as much as I did. A story about…
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1559 Coming of age in Hogan’s Alley

Junie by Chelene Knight Toronto: Book*hug Press, 2022 $23.00 / 9781771667685 Reviewed by Brett Josef Grubisic * Strangers to Vancouver or its history before the city’s breakneck condo-ization might wonder about “the Village,” the comfortable place June-Anne Lancaster—the protagonist of Chelene Knight’s appealing first novel — affectionately sees as her hometown. In the vicinity of Main…
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1557 Better than real life

Kuroko a play by Tetsuro Shigematsu Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2020 $18.95 / 9781772012699 Reviewed by Jessica Poon * I wouldn’t liken making fun of Tolstoy to a sport, but it is, surely, a reliable source of amusement, which likely sounds disrespectful; therein lies the amusement. All that to say, when Tolstoy wrote “All happy families are…
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1550 Epic quest, new narrative

An Accidental Odyssey by kc dyer Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada (Berkley), 2021 $22.00 / 9780593102060 Reviewed by Zoe McKenna * Though Homer’s Odyssey is a staple of the literary canon and serves as a foundation for countless interpretations and revisions, kc dyer’s An Accidental Odyssey rejects all the predictability of this territory. Instead, An…
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1546 Kitsilano flashback

The Rooming House: The West Coast in the Seventies by Michael Kluckner Vancouver: Midtown Press, 2022 $19.95 /  9781988242460 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Michael Kluckner has skillfully managed to capture the free spirit, free love era of the late sixties and early seventies in this captivating story of lost youth trying to find their…
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1544 A fascinating dance of ideas

Jonas and the Mountain: A Metaphysical Love Story by Janis Harper Fort Lauderdale, FL: Sacred Stories Publishing, 2021. For more information about purchasing the book in Canada, contact Janis Harper $20.99 CDN / 9781945026805 Reviewed by Margaret Miller * An eastern mystic and western psychic walk into a bar… Not too much surprises me these…
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1541 Essig opens up his songs

Fair Days by David Essig Nanaimo: Peregrin Books, 2022 $20.00 / 9780992055714   Available here by mail order Reviewed by Carol Matthews * Sometimes when we listen to a song, we wonder about the story that might have inspired it. In his new book, Fair Days, singer and songwriter David Essig has written thirteen stories that…
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1540 Small words, magic bees

Mad Honey by Katie Welch Hamilton, ON: Wolsak & Wynn, 2022 $22.00 /  9781989496527 Reviewed by Jessica Poon * I have always found magic realism to be a mildly confusing term and no Googling will assuage this befuddlement. Is it simply literature with elements of sci-fi or miscellaneous otherworldliness that refuses to be genre fiction?…
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1539 When False Creek was mudflats

The Dead of False Creek: A Journal Through Time Mystery by Sarah M. Stephen Vancouver: WZE Press, 2021 $14.99  /  9781777833015 Reviewed by Dennis Wilkinson * This is not my genre! I’m into history, not time-bending fictional murder mysteries. Why then am I going to the trouble of reading and reviewing this book? The answer…
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1538 Finding Jack Rake

The Ghosts of Paris by Tara Moss Toronto: HarperCollins Canada, 2022 $24.99 / 9781443461252 Reviewed by Myshara Herbert-McMyn * Many of us have wished to travel into the past, whether for specific reasons or to experience a time vastly different from our own. Of course, historical fiction remains the most efficient and inexpensive way to…
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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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