Amidst mental illness and suicide, Miriam Toews’s new novel is an ambitious and beautifully crafted masterpiece of compassion, storytelling, and love.
Nancy Lee’s The Age tells of a Vancouver teenager dealing with post-nuclear disaster, the Cold War and adolescence, with a little help from some weed and beer.
Adichie casts a gimlet eye on both American and Nigerian cultures. Yet beyond the big issues, Amerikanah is above all a sweet and affecting love story, shining with truth.
Aaliya contains a vast canvas within her. Through her we examine Beirut, and the life of the outsider in a rigid society seething with constant political upheaval and war.
Sanaaq offers an unromanticized glimpse of Inuit life in Northern Québec, and while its details are indeed unfamiliar, the people themselves are very much like us.
Peter Huang’s birth is his father’s dream come true – a son. Too bad for Peter and his father, this bliss is ignorance of Peter’s true gender. Peter is a woman inside.
Boy is not a boy, although she is Boy. Snow is not snow, although she is Snow. And Bird is not a bird, although she is Bird. And this is just the beginning.
BOOKS: THE WIND IS NOT A RIVER by BRIAN PAYTON (HARPER COLLINS). When John disappears, Helen hatches an improbable plan of her own. She talks her way into a USO troupe and sings and dances her way to Alaska.
What is a time being? I am a time being, and so are you. So is Nao, whose Hello Kitty lunchbox containing her diary, written on…
The Lion Seeker is a great big story, bursting with messy, vivid life, thick with the blood and dust of history. Isaac Helger’s family emigrates from…
FICTION: THE ORENDA, BY JOSEPH BOYDEN (PENGUIN CANADA). An ambitious novel of a turning point in the history of the North American continent, The Orenda takes rare multiple perspectives of individuals from several Aboriginal nations, as well as a European newcomer.
Lorne Elliott’s Beach Reading displays the wit the author became known for on his CBC radio comedy show, “Madly Off in All Directions.” It is gentle and sweet without being sappy, and demonstrates a lively affection for the natural charms of Prince Edward Island.
The Black Roses is a girl gang. The members ply their trades – ATM scams, car theft, drug sales – on Vancouver’s gritty Downtown Eastside (with a little high-end shoplifting downtown thrown in). Mac and Mercy were working for the Vipers, but when Mercy gets beat up while hooking on the corner, they decide to go out on their own.
The phrase “the woman upstairs” is Nora Eldridge’s personal shorthand for a sort of forgotten woman, the well-behaved spinster who suppresses her rage at everything she has been denied or has lost, through her own timidity or others’ low expectations of her. It seems a bit of an old-fashioned stereotype; the woman upstairs is stuck mopping the kitchen floor, never mind worrying about the glass ceiling.
Kushner paints a vivid panorama that stretches from an alcohol-soaked, promiscuous mid-70s New York, where the art world rubs more than elbows with an underworld of violent revolutionaries, to the salt flats of Nevada where the fastest land vehicles in history skate across the thin white crust as ambulances wait on the sidelines, to the emotionally abusive tension of an Italian villa, where bad wine is drunk even as thousands riot in the streets of Milan.