Princess Diana had just died. The internet was barely a thing. I’m not sure there were websites yet. The word Amazon called to mind a river, not an information technology behemoth. Grunge was over and something called electronica was being touted as The Future. Yes, things were different in the fall of 1997, no less so in Montreal.
Dr. Bethune’s Children doesn’t always read like fiction, given the many similarities between the narrator and the author. Like the narrator, Xue grew up in China during the Cultural Revolution, and was shaped by the ideals of the period. In particular, his imagination was captured by the legend of Bethune.
In this deeply layered, poetic, and empathic psychological novel, James Wolfe reappears – in 2017. Traumatized James, or “Jimmy,” wanders the streets of Montreal and Quebec, homeless and haunted by war, his loneliness palpable as he tries to come to grips with the plastic facades of modern life, and continues to grieve his lost eleven days.
Robyn Maynard’s Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present intervenes in the narrative of Canada as the Promised Land, a haven for escaped slaves. Reading it as a Black Canadian woman, the book is a brilliant and powerful validation of our lived experiences.
This is a truly exceptional work, not only for the content – which is rich in both narrative thread and evocative imagery – but also for its visual impact. It is printed in full colour on beautiful paper; materially, it is a quality broadsheet within the pages of a book.
Drakkar Noir, Dodds’s second collection, is quite a return: Dodds re-inhabits his own gory, gothic world with the relish of a contemporary Lord Byron. The title references an arch brand of ’80s cologne, and many poems have a sardonic, sledgehammer musk made up of off-kilter epigrams, heavy rhyming puns, and scenarios that display a fury at the selfishness and idiocy of humans.
From the current issue: Fall 2017
Our featured illustrator is Sherwin Tjia. Tjia’s latest work is a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style book: You Are Alice in Wonderland’s Mum! where you search for your missing daughter in 1862 London.
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Feel Happier in Nine Seconds
I learned the secret of serenity
by waterboarding daffodils.
My Buddha is landfill.
My mantra choked