Kristyn DunnionBiblioasis, 2020299 pagesISBN 9781771963862$18.95 (ebook)Reviewed by Danielle Minnis Stoop City collects 13 wistful vignettes about the lives of some of the most unfortunate, vulnerable, and abused people in modern-day Toronto. There, people of every age, ethnicity, sexual identity, and socioeconomic status, struggle to cope. In the introductory story, “Now Is the Time to Light Fires” an unnamed narrator mourns the death of her girlfriend, Marzana, only to be informed of her infidelity when her ghost starts haunting their condo. “Fits Ritual” follows a homeless youth struggling with addiction, as he grows increasingly more concerned when his friend and partner, Roam, does not return from their latest scam. “Tracker &…


    [Book Review] “I felt as though I was a part of an endangered species. I still do,” writes Billy-Ray Belcourt in his genre-fluid memoir, A History of My Brief Body. A member of the Driftpile Cree First Nation in rural northern Alberta, Belcourt transcends the confines of memoir to deliver his thoughts on grief, queerness, colonialism, joy, loneliness, and love in pieces that feel like poems and essays simultaneously.


    John Elizabeth StintziArsenal Pulp Press, 2020320 pagesISBN: 9781551528014$19.95Reviewed by Miles Hayes In Vanishing Monuments, the debut novel by John Elizabeth Stintzi, time and memory intersect in poignant and devastating ways. Alani Baumb, a non-binary photographer living in Minneapolis, gets a call from a care home saying that their mother, who had been living with dementia in a nursing home in Winnipeg for years, has completely lost the ability to speak. Alani travels back to Canada to see their mother, staying in their unoccupied childhood home for the first time since running away as a teenager. Their mother’s declining health and aphasia adds urgency to their need for closure: “If it’s…


    TreeTalk creates a second canopy for the boulevard elm, re-foliated with poetic paper leaves and tied with string instead of caterpillar silk.


    Saleema NawazMclelland & Stewart, 2020428 pagesISBN: 978-0-7710-7257-4$24.95Reviewed by Giovani Ralaisa Saleema Nawaz’s bestseller Songs for the End of the World presents a world that mirrors our own, complete with a pandemic, self-isolation, reliance on the Web, and the power of human connection. Nawaz wrote this book from 2013 to 2019 after researching SARS and the Spanish Flu. She created ARAMIS, Acute Respiratory and Muscular Inflammatory Syndrome reminiscent of our own COVID-19, and let it flood her fictional world like “a maelstrom: intense, unseemly.” ARAMIS takes hold late July and spreads between August and December. Elliot is a first responder in New York who realizes he contracted it at a restaurant…


    [Book Review] Hana Shafi makes it very clear in the introduction of Small, Broken, and Kind of Dirty: Affirmations for the Real World that this is NOT a self-help book. It has evolved from her very popular Instagram series where Shafi is known as Frizz Kid to over 42,000 followers. There she delves into sexism, racism, and body politics as she does in these short essays divided into five chapters: “On Kindness,” “On Bodies,” “On Politics,” “On Self-Love and Healing,” and “On Resilience and Mental Health.”


    [Book Review] Any great memoir offers the reader immersion; the author researches his material by living it. It also has a protagonist with whom the reader can identify, not to mention suspense, urgency, and dramatic conflict. Heighton’s visceral and sensory scenes and authentic emotions build tension and rightly earn him CBC’s Best Non-Fiction Book of 2020, and a finalist position for the 2020 Writers Trust Prize for Non-Fiction.


    Joseph A. DandurandGuernica Editions, 2020127 pagesISBN: 978-1-77183-506-0$20.00Reviewed by Kashmir Lesnick-Petrovicz “Over time you begin to understand/who you are and why you are here” (111) I Will Be Corrupted is a fictional tale of a Kwantlen man living on Vancouver’s downtown east side who is both healer and heroin addict. Dandurand’s collection explores the painful battle of a life defined by addiction and mental health struggles, love and loss, trauma and Indigenous tradition, and forgiveness and eventual redemption. I Will Be Corrupted includes 57 relatable, raw, and heart-wrenchingly honest poems that play with fragments, unusual structure, and illusions so that each page is a new day unknown until we live it.…


    [Book Review] Throughout this memoir, Kurchak addresses the stigma associated with autism and how that effects who she is and wants to be. Autism is a part of her, but it is just one of many qualities that make her unique. Autism plays a role in how she forms her relationships with other people, but it is not the last word.


    Madeline SonikAnvil Press Publishers Inc, 2020194 pagesISBN: 978-1-77214-148-1$20.00 Reviewed by Isaac Maschek Madeline Sonik sets her misanthropic and heartbreaking short story collection in the fictional Ontario city of Fontainebleau, along the Detroit river. Each story follows a citizen of the city through traumas relived and repressed, from idealistic cops to heartbroken vandals. Sonik makes it easy to sympathize with even the most troubled individuals, and weep for the good-hearted souls trapped by Fontainebleau’s pull. Fontainebleau presents an immoral world where every human is a monster and every monster is humanized. The world Sonik describes is dark and grim,and plays with perspective, unreliable narrators, and characters that cross over between stories,…