Shanghai Grand takes Grescoe and his readers far from Montreal – not only to a distant land but also to a very different time. Its story unrolls in the streets, nightclubs, luxury hotels, and shikumen lane courtyards of Jazz Age Shanghai.
Small Beauty follows the story of Xiao Mei, a young mixed race Chinese trans woman coming to terms with the loss of her cousin, Sandy. Abandoning the city – along with its labyrinthine welfare system and the complicated community of trans women she’s fought hard to become part of – Mei runs back to the small town where she and Sandy grew up in order to try to work out her feelings.
First published in 2008, the small, sparsely rendered story of a nine-year-old boy’s attempts to come to terms with the death of his five-year-old brother did more than just launch the comics career of Jonquière-born Girard; it became a word-of-mouth cult item inspiring a rare devotion in its readers. People press Nicolas on friends, give it as a gift, revisit it in times of need.
Fifty years after the publication of Leonard Cohen’s groundbreaking and notoriously difficult postmodern novel, poet David McGimpsey reflects on its enduring relationship to the city of Montreal.
“I can’t do realism. I mean, it’s a lie,” Jacob Wren says with a laugh in his voice. Sitting across from me in a café in Mile-Ex, the prolific novelist and artist continues, “a book isn’t reality. Reality isn’t even reality.”
Translator Peter McCambridge is no ingénue to the art, having translated seven novels, all from Quebec. He directs the website Québec Reads and Baraka Book’s new imprint of Quebec literature in translation, QC Fiction.
Montreal writer Alice Zorn immortalizes this icon in her beautifully crafted second novel, Five Roses. Like the gigantic blue eyes of T. J. Eckleburg looking down on the Valley of Ashes, Zorn’s sign is a landmark that does service as a literary device.
There is a moment in childhood that first marks our awareness of the wider world, the moment we recognize what takes place beyond our own sphere. Our young selves are drawn to the narrative, to the images played and replayed on the news, to the hushed thrall of the grown-ups.
Librarian Jessie Loyer on the publication of the report by McGill-Queen’s University Press and the role of Canadian libraries in reconciliation.
The year is off to a good start for Monique Polak. Not only will she see her eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth books for young readers published, but she’s also the first CBC/QWF Writer-in-Residence. For Polak, these are all opportunities to tell her stories.
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.