A review of Celia’s Song, by Lee Maracle (Cormorant Books)
In Michael Crummey’s novel Sweetland, the crusty hero clings to the old Rock with an irrational tenacity. Sweetland is populated with vivid, distinctly drawn characters: Queenie Coffin, a chain-smoking agoraphobic who sits by the window of her house reading romance novels, the wild Priddle brothers, Irish twins who make piles of money in Fort Mac and then come home to drink it all away and the aptly named Loveless and his unfortunate cow.
Magic, myth and history are interwoven in a tapestry of predominantly female voices, in the story the story of a US Virgin Islands sea captain, his tantalizing daughter, his pregnant social climbing wife, and his equally pregnant oseah mistress.
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.