History (Canada)

An Everywoman for Iran’s last century

Debut novelist “explores the meaning of love, family loyalty, the struggle for self-expression, and devotion to homeland in times of constant upheaval.” —Daniel Gawthrop reviews Zulaikha, by Niloufar-Lily Soltani (Toronto: Inanna Publications, 2023) $24.95 / 9781771339568

A ‘soap opera in the best way possible’

WWII-set debut novel, a love triangle where the “tension is deliciously gravid.” —Jessica Poon reviews The Cure for Drowning, by Loghan Paylor (Toronto: Random House Canada, 2024) $24.95 / 9781039006454

Vancouver Island’s mystery governor

“Gough does an admirable job of portraying Blanshard as the man who brought the idea of British law and order to the colony and the beginning of civilized government.” Ron Verzuh reviews The Curious Passage of Richard Blanshard: First Governor of Vancouver Island by Barry Gough (Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2023) $38.95 / 9781990776380

On the ragged edge

“If British Columbia is the edge of Canada, then Tofino and its surrounding waters and islands are the outer limits.” Robin Fisher reviews Tofino and Clayoquot Sound: A History by Margaret Horsfield and Ian Kennedy (Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2023) $34.95 / 9781990776601

Matters of conscience

“Regime of Obstruction documents the corruption of Canadian democracy that has become characteristic of our governmental systems, corporate regimes, and even the environmental organizations that have collaborated in the greening of the business ethos.” Dr. Loys Maingon reviews three titles he considers “guides for unscrupulous psychopathic capitalism.” Regime of Obstruction by William K. Carroll (ed.)
Athabasca University Press, 2021
$39.99 / 9781771992893
A Strategic Nature: Public Relations and The Politics of American Environmentalism by Melissa Aronczyk and Maria I. Espinoza, Don Mills: Oxford University Press – Canada, 2022
$108.95 / 9780190055349;
The New Corporation: How “Good” Corporations Are Bad for Democracy
by Joel Bakan
Toronto: Allen Lane, 2020
$19.95 / 9780735238848;

Only the polar bear knows

“Writer Pierre Berton called him a ‘quite ordinary naval officer.’ Novelist Margaret Atwood called him ‘a dope.’ McGoogan argues that he was ‘a well-meaning plodder.'” Ron Verzuh reviews Searching for Franklin: New Answers to the Great Arctic Mystery by Ken McGoogan (Madeira Park, BC, Douglas and McIntyre, 2023) $38.95 / 9781771623681

An ‘interesting’ Best

Praise in a minor key for this year’s ‘best of’ in short fiction.
Jessica Poon reviews Best Canadian Stories 2024 by Lisa Moore (editor)
(Windsor: Biblioasis, 2023) $23.95 / 9781771965668

‘Reciprocal relationship with our lands’

“George belongs to the Tsleil-Waututh people, the People of the Inlet, who for thousands of years have lived along Burrard Inlet, the site of present Vancouver.” Kenneth Favrholdt reviews It Stops Here: Standing Up for Our Lands, Our Waters, and Our People by Rueben George with Michael Simpson (Toronto: Penguin Random House/Allen Lane, 2023)
$34.00 / 9780735242807

Travel, history on the rails

“In Train Beyond the Mountains: Journeys on the Rocky Mountaineer, Rick Antonson takes us on a trip through time as he recounts a multi-day excursion on historic train, the Rocky Mountaineer.” Natalie Virginia Lang reviews Train Beyond the Mountains: Journeys on the Rocky Mountaineer (Vancouver: Greystone Books, April 2023) $34.95 / 9781771644860

Revisiting the ‘Last Spike’

“The building of the CPR has been one of the core myths of the country, one of the stories that explain how Canada came about.” Daniel Francis reviews Dominion: The Railway and the Rise of Canada by Stephen R. Bown (Toronto: Penguin Random House, 2023) $39.95 / 9780385698726

Authors’ origin stories (x 6)

Captivating essays trace authors’ careers from childhood onward…
Brett Josef Grubisic reviews Off the Record, by John Metcalf (editor) (Windsor: Biblioasis, 2023) $26.95 / 9781771965453

Justice and ‘vile things’

Debut novel examines a legacy of hetero-masculine violence…
Trish Bowering reviews She Who Burns, by Myrl Coulter (Altona: Friesen Press, 2023) $21.99 / 9781039166936

Puzzles of the past

Prairies-set saga relates present to past…
Amy Whitmore reviews Leaving Wisdom, by Sharon Butala (Saskatoon: Thistledown Press, 2023) $24.95 / 9781771872362

No. 2000 for the BC Review!

When we launched The British Columbia Review — then The Ormsby Review — in September 2016, little did we expect that seven years later we’d post our 2000th review. I’m grateful to everyone — reviewers, publishers, authors, booksellers, and readers — for making it such a success and promoting BC writers, writing, and culture. It…
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What is the role of art?

The Compassionate Imagination: How the arts are central to a functioning democracyby Max Wyman Toronto: Cormorant Books, 2023$19.95  /  9781770866997 Reviewed by Theo Dombrowski * What is the point–honestly–of putting a lot of energy into discussing the connection between “art” on the one hand and society on the other?  Well, Plato seemed to think it…
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‘Strands of a life’

Landbridge [life in fragments] by Y-Dang Troeung Toronto: Alchemy by Knopf Canada, 2023 $35.00  /  9781039008762 Reviewed by Theresa Kishkan * When I opened this beautifully-designed book, with its cover drawings of delicate buds of kapok (in Khmer, Y-Dang Troeung tells us, planting a kapok tree, which makes no sound in the wind, is an…
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From Alberta to Italy, in recovery

Grazie by Lucia Frangione  Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2023 $21.95  / 9781772015089  Reviewed by Candace Fertile * Lucia Frangione’s debut novel, Grazie, captures how loss devastates the main character, Graziana or Grazie, who has mostly given up on life, even though she has a seven-year-old daughter, Hazel. The child desperately needs someone to notice and take care…
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