Danielle Barkley

Danielle Barkley holds a PhD from the Department of English at McGill University. She has taught writing, rhetoric, and critical analysis, and currently works as a graduate career educator at the University of British Columbia.

Reviews by Danielle Barkley:

December 8, 2022
The small, precisely rendered moments are what make Kasia Von Schaik's stories resonant, familiar, and refreshing.
March 2, 2022
Michel Tremblay’s earthy yet tender perspective outlines characters who are vital, engaging, and imperfect.
November 16, 2021
In Miléna Babin's novel rife with orphans, abandoned children, and a semi-feral fox, wildness is a dominant mode.
July 8, 2021
Jocelyne Saucier’s newest novel is part mystery, part love letter to remote Canadian towns, and part meditation on writing and storytelling.
March 18, 2021
This collection of Margaret Laurence's non-fiction is valuable for researchers as well as more casual readers.
November 5, 2020
This new edition offers English readers access to a work that manages to be both intimately familiar and utterly strange.
July 23, 2020
After months of stasis and waiting, the protagonist of If You Hear Me muses, “Everything still happens in the present tense.” The stark uncertainty of her situation – her husband has spent months in a coma, hovering somewhere between life and death – has made imagining a future impossible, while the happiness of their previous normal life becomes harder and harder to remember.
November 3, 2019
Claremont traces the intersecting stories of the members of a family that is not only simply unhappy, but reeling in the face of tragedy. In the first chapter, readers follow nine-year-old Tom as his abusive father, Russell, murders his mother Mona before also killing himself. In the wake of these events, Mona’s three siblings, Will, Sonya, and Rose, attempt to rally together to care for Tom.
July 6, 2019
Gégoire Courtois’s novel The Laws of the Skies conducts a visceral experiment with both narrative and human nature. It removes all prospect of hope from the outset, then creates a spectacle of waiting for forewarned deaths to occur, rather than generating suspense about whether or not they will.
March 23, 2019
In classical mythology, Persephone is forcefully separated from her mother and taken to the underworld. She is eventually able to return, but the reunion is incomplete: Persephone must forever spend a portion of time hidden away, moving through a cycle of appearance and disappearance tied to the seasons. Through both indirect and direct reference, this myth infuses Ariela Freedman’s novel A Joy to Be Hidden, where secrets, loss, and separated family members interweave through multiple plot lines.
November 3, 2018
The notion of children – the children we raise, the children we lose, and the children we once were – threads through both Fragments, a collection of short stories by Maloose, and In Every Wave, a novella by Charles Quimper.
July 7, 2018
In some ways, Martine Delvaux’s White Out is an origin story and a family history. However, as the title indicates, it is a narrative dominated by blankness, where absence matters as much as presence. The absence of the narrator’s father functions as a central void, which threatens to consume anything that is solid and tangible about her life. The text is, by necessity, a story without a climax or resolution; it is driven less by plot than by a series of meditations and unanswered questions. Nonetheless, the compulsive energy of the language, translated into English by Katia Grubisic, is such that it hits the reader like an avalanche or a blinding blizzard. There is little to grasp on to, but the reading experience is consuming.
March 24, 2018
Early in Leila Marshy’s novel The Philistine, the protagonist, Nadia, abruptly declines to board a return flight from Egypt to Canada and arranges instead for an open-ended ticket allowing her to stay indefinitely. What looks at first glance like a refusal to go home becomes far more ambiguous because of how the novel unsettles the categories of home and away, travelling and arriving, belonging and exile.
November 3, 2017
"For some, this was a time of moral clarity; for others, moral clarity was a lie,” writes Jocelyn Parr in her debut historical novel. The time she refers to spans the period between 1921 and 1929 in Moscow. The aftermath of the Russian Revolution and Civil War have created a world in which experiences seem at once more vivid and more stark, especially for the young. In the novel’s opening scene, the protagonist, Tatiana, meets her future husband Sasha after an explosion strikes.
July 7, 2017
The title of Lesley Trites’s debut work serves as a useful metaphor for the relationship between the eleven short stories included in the collection. While the tiers of a cake may have different flavours, they also fit together, with unity often created by the decoration. Likewise, Trites’s stories echo with distinct styles and voices.
March 17, 2017
In Never, Again, set during the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, a child protagonist not yet fettered by the burdens of history lends the novel its greatest strength: a subtle balance between everyday ubiquity and unimaginable horror.
July 8, 2016
To beckon is to entice, to draw someone in. It may be an act of deception, but it is not an act of coercion. When someone is beckoned, he responds willingly. That is the difficult reality that lies at the heart of Matthew Murphy’s debut novel, A Beckoning War.
March 18, 2016
The title of Robert Edison Sandiford’s short story collection, Fairfield: The Last Sad Stories of G. Brandon Sisnett, plays a number of tricks.
November 6, 2015
Claudine Dumont’s Captive is animated by the idea of power, and how quickly it can be gained or lost. When Emma, the novel’s first-person narrator, is abducted from her bedroom by a group of masked assailants and awakens in a locked room, she is quickly reduced to a state of helplessness and terror.
February 19, 2015
Denyse Baillargeon’s effort to provide a comprehensive overview in A Brief History of Women in Quebec, from the arrival of Europeans to the present day, produces a concise and clearly erudite introduction to the topic. Despite an attempt to provide a wide-ranging narrative, however, the book’s contents remain slanted towards a more thorough and energetic engagement with the history of the twentieth century.