Reviews of the written word

Cadillac Cathedral By Jack Hodgins Ronsdale Press 213 pages; $18.95 Reviewed by Margaret Thompson In his latest novel, Cadillac Cathedral, Jack Hodgins takes us back to familiar territory, the Macken world of mid-Vancouver Island. He recreates Portuguese Creek, a tiny community off the beaten track and populates it with what would have to be called […]

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Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter; Growing up with a gay dad By Alison Wearing 292 pages; $24.00 Reviewed by Cecania Alexander When I pick up a book, my dearest hopes are, admittedly, a bit unfair. Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter – a nonfiction family memoir about Wearing’s growing up as her father discovers his gay […]

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The Wind is not a River By Brian Payton Harper Collins $29.99;  308 pages Reviewed by Margaret Thompson War has provided storytellers with material for thousands of years. Whatever one’s viewpoint, there is a terrible fascination in extremes;  for fiction writers, examining the best and worst of individual behaviour against the collective excesses of armed […]

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Paying For It By Chester Brown Published by Drawn & Quarterly 290 pages, $19.95 By Lachlan Ross Taking the prostitution debate into “comic-strip memoir” form, Canadian cartoonist Chester Brown documents his relations with sex workers. The Toronto-based writer’s eighth book depicts a 14-year period (from 1996-2010) during which 36-year-old Brown gives up on the “romantic […]

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A Tale for the Time Being By Ruth Ozeki Viking Penguin 422 pages, $30 Reviewed by Vivian Moreau For those of you who walk West Coast beaches with eyes trawling for washed-up treasure, the Man Booker Prize-nominated A Tale for the Time Being may be a vicarious pleasure. But if you’re hoping for a narrative […]

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Savage Love By Douglas Glover Goose Lane 264 pages, $29.95 Reviewed by Susan Sanford Blades Turn to any page of Douglas Glover’s Savage Love and you’ll find yourself engrossed in a world without convention, where an emaciated woman in otter-skin coat and hunting boots becomes a universal sex symbol or a man falls in love […]

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Reading Canada: Teaching Canadian Fiction in Secondary Schools By Wendy Donawa and Leah C. Fowler Oxford University Press 275 pp. $69.95 Reviewed by Susan Braley. In Reading Canada: Teaching Canadian Fiction in Secondary Schools, Wendy Donawa and Leah C. Fowler rightfully name teachers as curators of Canada’s narrative culture. Teachers collect, preserve and interpret the […]

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The Land of Heart’s Delight: Early Maps and Charts of Vancouver Island By Michael Layland Touchwood Editions 232 pages,  $39.95 Reviewed by Margaret Thompson             In this meticulously researched and lavishly illustrated book, Michael Layland traces the development of the accurate, detailed maps of Vancouver Island we take for granted today. His own qualifications as […]

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The Place of Scraps By Jordan Abel, Talon 272 pages, $19.95 Reviewed by Candace Fertile The Place of Scraps by Nisga’a writer Jordan Abel is a collection of poetry with an intriguing premise: Abel has started with Totem Poles, a foundation text by noted anthropologist Marius Barbeau, extricated passages, and created word pictures and images […]

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People Who Disappear By Alex Leslie Freehand Books, 256 pages, $21.95. Reviewed by Miles Steyn The title of Vancouver author Alex Leslie’s debut collection of stories, People Who Disappear, sounds like a Dateline: Investigation Marathon. Yes, people do disappear, but don’t expect thrilling, high-stake plots; it’s the everyday, unassuming way of life which causes the […]