Memoir

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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Elite art collecting demystified

Pictures on the Wall: Building a Canadian Art Collection by Michael Audain Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2023 $60.00  /  9781771623742 Reviewed by Trevor Marc Hughes * On the evening of November 14, 2002, I walked through a chilly downtown Vancouver, MiniDisc recorder and microphone safely tucked away in a shoulder bag, toward my destination:…
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The way we were

Essay: The Way We Were: Two Friends, Two Historians by Robin Fisher * Earlier this year I flew down to New Zealand to spend a few days with my lifelong friend and gifted historian Kerry (K.R.) Howe. It was springtime in British Columbia but winter was coming in New Zealand. We both knew that it…
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A Canadian’s life on the road

Chasing Africa: Fear Won’t Find Me Here – A Memoirby Lisa Duncan Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2022$25.00  /  9781771605816 Reviewed by Isabel Nanton * In her memoir of time spent as a 24-year-old in South Africa, Namibia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Zanzibar for three-and-a-half-months in 1996, Squamish-based author Lisa Duncan reveals much that is interesting…
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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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Everyday as endearing

Post-Modern Mini-Comics by Colin Upton Wolfville, NS: Conundrum Press, 2023 $10  /  9781772620849 Reviewed by Jeffrey Stychin * Who is Colin Upton? An outcast, a punk, a nomad, a pioneer, a realist, a savant, a regular human faced with the problems of everyday life filled with nuances and trivialities? The choice is up to you,…
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1970 Calling Graduate Liberal Studies

Attention students in Graduate Liberal Studies at Simon Fraser University! * Since 2018, students in the Graduate Liberal Studies programme at Simon Fraser University have contributed numerous essays, memoirs, poems, and book reviews to The British Columbia Review. We at the BC Review are delighted to maintain a productive collaboration with the GLS community, as…
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1969 Advice to a teen girl

Skid Dogs by Emelia Symington-Fedy Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2023 $26.95  /  9781771623643 Reviewed by Catherine Owen * You know a book is both meant for you as a reader and well-written when you feel regular twinges of discomfiting self-recognition as the story sinks into your blood. I can’t remember the last time I…
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1963 A quest for Champions

Tracking Giants: Big Trees, Tiny Triumphs, and Misadventures in the Forest by Amanda Lewis Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2023 $24.95  /  781771646734 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy * As I write from our province’s southern Interior, amidst the worst air quality in the world, I find I must state the obvious. The lessons Amanda Lewis accrues in…
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1959 Hidden truth and diversion

Like Every Form of Love: A Memoir of Friendship and True Crime by Padma Viswanathan Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada, 2023 $35  /  9781039006201 Reviewed by Valerie Green * This book is described as A Memoir of Friendship and True Crime. It is also two separate stories within a story while describing many different forms…
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1953 ‘Observations and discoveries’

Four Seasons by the Salish Sea: Discovering the Natural Wonders of Coastal Living by Carolyn Redl, photography by Nancy Randall Victoria: Heritage House Publishing, 2023 $32.95   /  9781772034479 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Author Carolyn Redl has been fascinated with life along the Salish Sea ever since she moved to Vancouver Island from the prairies…
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1980s East Van nostalgia

East Side Story: Growing Up at the PNE by Nick Marino Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2023 $21.95 / 9781551529332 (paperback) Reviewed by Sheldon Goldfarb * When I moved to Vancouver in August 1985, Nick Marino, aged 17, was working his last summer at the PNE. To me the PNE (the Pacific National Exhibition) was some distant…
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1947 Canadian mountain culture and mountaineering

ESSAY: Canadian Mountain Culture and Mountaineering by Ron Dart   * And sliding on the mountain snow, Dear Friend, we’ll let our worries go.                                                                                                            -Alexander Pushkin, “Winter Morning”   Great things are done when men and mountains meet; this is not done by jostling in the street.                                                                                                            -William Blake, Gnomic Verses   The…
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1946 Choice, responsibility, consequence

Instead: Navigating the Adventures of a Childfree Life – A Memoir by Maria Coffey Calgary: Rocky Mountain Books, 2023 $28.00  /  9781771606400 Reviewed by Mary Ann Moore * Maria Coffey who is based in Victoria, British Columbia and Catalonia, Spain, started travelling when she was a teenager. Various circumstances including her keen sense of adventure,…
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1943 ‘Don’t you dare forget me’

When My Ghost Sings: A Memoir of Stroke, Recovery & Transformation  by Tara Sidhoo Fraser Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2023 $22.95  /  9781551529271 Reviewed by Betty Jane Hegerat * Tara Sidhoo Fraser’s When My Ghost Sings: A Memoir of Stroke, Recovery & Transformation pieces together the aftermath of a stroke and diagnosis of a rare…
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1940 For YA readers: Halifax in WWI

Out of the Dark by Julie Lawson Halifax: Nimbus Publishing, 2023 $14.95 / 9781774712344 Reviewed by Alison Acheson * “… just don’t get anything fancy. We are who we are”: words spoken by the main character’s mother in Julie Lawson’s middle grade/young adult novel Out of the Dark. The words reflect a theme to the…
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