Spring 2016

Barking & Biting

Barking & Biting: The Poetry of Sina Queyras, edited by Erin Wunker, is the twenty-fifth volume of Canadian poetry in Wilfrid Laurier Press’s Laurier Poetry Series. Thirty-five poems are selected from across a poet’s career and supplemented by an engaging critical introduction by the editor and an afterword by the poet.

Spring 2016

Fairfield

The title of Robert Edison Sandiford’s short story collection, Fairfield: The Last Sad Stories of G. Brandon Sisnett, plays a number of tricks.

Spring 2016

The Mile End Café

Haiti occupies an important place in the consciousness of the Americas. Formerly known as St. Domingue, it became independent in 1804 when its former slaves defeated Napoleon Bonaparte’s army, the French general’s first major military defeat.

Fall 2015

The Nature of the Beast

The worst writing advice Louise Penny ever got – to abandon any hope of seeing her work in print – came early in her career, back when she first decided to give creative writing a go. “There are a lot of people who went out of their way to tell me that I wouldn’t be published,” Penny recalls.

Fall 2015

Mountain City Girls

Mountain City Girls, written by Anna and Jane, is not a retelling of the McGarrigles’ career in music. Rather, it is a captivating account of what came before that. The book is a richly worded family history, reaching back three generations, and then focusing mostly on the McGarrigle family unit – Father Frank, Mother Gaby, and sisters Jane, Anna, and Kate.

Fall 2015

Long Red Hair

After making a splash in the alternative comics world last year with Photobooth, a delightfully idiosyncratic history of the titular machines and the author’s own obsession with them, Montreal-based artist and illustrator Meags Fitzgerald returns this fall with Long Red Hair, a new memoir about childhood, female friendship, and coming of age queer.

Fall 2015

No Safeguards

Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced,” wrote James Baldwin, an apt epigraph for No Safeguards, the new novel by H. Nigel Thomas. Cultural memory often involves a good deal of willed forgetting, an overlooking of painful parts of experience in favour of a dominant narrative.

Fall 2015

Mile End Café

Two new books – In Defiance and Generation Rising – are useful in situating the 2012 strike within an ongoing struggle against society’s marketization at the expense of its citizens, and set against the backdrop of Quebec’s unique sociopolitical history.

Summer 2015

Drawn and Quarterly

The D&Q brand is the kind that earns your trust, and before you know it you can find yourself venturing into outré realms – Marc Bell’s intricate free-standing psychedelic tableaux, Anders Nilsen’s dream-logic minimalist epics – that you would previously have never considered.

Summer 2015

A Secret Music

The emotional core of A Secret Music is this passionate, enmeshed bond between mother and son, both of whom hope that his music will help keep her demons at bay. For Lawrence, his mother’s belief in, and single-minded focus on, his music is a burden-laden blessing.

Summer 2015

My Shoes Are Killing Me

Robyn Sarah’s poetry has always reckoned with the past, but her newest collection, My Shoes Are Killing Me, reflects from a particular juncture in life, one she defines succinctly as “the beginning of dwindle.” Sarah explores the time in middle life when what has happened takes on a larger presence than what remains to happen.

Summer 2015

The Book of Faith

A small-town charm dominates much of the local fiction about our fair city, and Montrealer Elaine Kalman Naves’s first novel, The Book of Faith, keeps religiously to this invisible holy commandment.

Spring 2015

The Morning After

For a woman who has devoted the last forty years to discussing national politics on air and in print, Hébert seems surprisingly dispassionate. The Morning After, her fascinating new book about the 1995 Quebec referendum, contains not a whisper of her own political views.

Spring 2015 Neil Smith, by Alain Abel

Boo

While details in the new book are as bizarre as in Bang Crunch, the setting is markedly different. Smith’s zaniest short stories take place on Earth: even the innermost thoughts and feelings of a pair of gloves are revealed against the backdrop of downtown Chicago. Now, in Boo, Smith brings his off-the-wall imagination to a whole other realm: the afterlife.

Spring 2015 Joe Ollmann, by Murray Lightburn-1

Happy Stories About Well-Adjusted People

Joe Ollmann isn’t comfortable with praise. On the back cover of his new book, the graphic novelist professes to blush as he hand-letters glowing testimonials from fellow cartoonist Seth and culture journalist Jeet Heer. But if the collection Happy Stories About Well-Adjusted People is anything to go by, he’d better get used to such things

Spring 2015 Anita Anand

Swing in the House and Other Stories

Montreal’s Véhicule Press has a reputation for publishing strong, modern, stylistically original fiction by new writers, and Anita Anand’s debut collection, Swing in the House and Other Stories, published under the revamped Esplanade Books imprint, is very much in keeping with that tradition.

Spring 2015

Demonic to Divine

Reading Demonic to Divine compels reflection upon motherhood, mental illness, and the links we tend to draw between them. The book compiles diary entries and autobiographical writing by Shulamis, a brilliant and charismatic woman who was once the toast of Jewish Montreal. She was also, to go by Hirsch’s commentary, a tempestuous and at least occasionally abusive mother.

Fall 2014 Kathleen Winter, by Terence Byrnes

Boundless and The Freedom of American Songs

Winter expands her focus well beyond gender identity to study other triggers of alienation, including ageing, homelessness, and poverty. Stunning beauty intertwines tough emotional truths, while sucker-punch endings leave you reeling. Meanwhile, an oddly alluring hue of loneliness tinges the collection and leaks into her non-fiction title.

Fall 2014

Mãn

Kim Thúy is a marvellous storyteller, full of energy, vibrant and animated, quite unlike the jewel-like precision and restraint of her writing.

Fall 2014 Daniel Levitin, photo by Arsenio Coroa

The Organized Mind

For all its advice on effective time-management and organizational skills, The Organized Mind also makes room for serendipity. The more information we have easy access to, the more important it becomes not only to filter out what we don’t need to know, but also to figure out what we want to know. According to Levitin, “the twenty-first century’s information problem is one of selection.”