Culture & Conversation

Posts from the ‘Books’ category

Montreal Street

Sleight of Hand

Like the central character in these stories, Mireille Silcoff had to lie in bed with her head lower than her chest, trying to keep her brain from colliding with her skull.

fool head 3

Not wholly innocent

Reviewer John Delacourt spots characters “condemned to the margins” in Marianne Ackerman’s new short fiction. Here’s his review published in the Ottawa Review of Books.


Anyhow in a corner

Can one still write without irony about Love, Faith and Destiny in an idyllic southern Ontario? Apparently so, if your name is André Alexis and you wrote a book called Pastoral.

Another middle class man chauffered through the streets of New Delhi

Delhi: capital of capitals

Writing about a city which has been the subject of not just modern literary narratives but of the subcontinent’s centuries-old erudite Urdu and Persian poets such as Ghalib, Mir and Amir Khusrow, could not have been easy. With diverse characters — from rich businessmen to aspirational, middle-class youth working and call-centre agents, Dasgupta manages to foreground, in original ways, Delhi’s transformational and often contradictory modernity.

pour que

The Nobel enigma

Almost an unknown in the English speaking world, Patrick Modiano recently won the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work which is inspired by disappearance, memory, and the German occupation of Paris. Pour que tu ne te perdes pas dans le quartier, his most recent book, is an enigmatic, puzzling look at childhood memories with a surprising ending.


Clinging to the Rock

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.