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.
The title of Robert Edison Sandiford’s short story collection, Fairfield: The Last Sad Stories of G. Brandon Sisnett, plays a number of tricks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Kim Thúy is a marvellous storyteller, full of energy, vibrant and animated, quite unlike the jewel-like precision and restraint of her writing.
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.”