S. Montana KatzGuernica Editions, 2020236 pagesISBN: 1771835508$20.00 Side Effects: A Footloose Journey to the Apocalypse is a rollercoaster read through the Baby Boomer years, 60-80s, exploring the devil-may-care attitudes of a peculiarly quirky family. The narrator is the first-born daughter of that family, who offers a retrospective of past events. The book captures a post-war optimism as a newly married couple from New York set out to travel the country by motorcycle for their honeymoon. When they reach California, they are seduced by the warm climate and intellectual counter-culture and vow to live there one day as political activists. A year later they have their first child and Side Effects is told…
Alex PasseyAt Bay PressSeptember 29, 2020347 pagesISBN: 9781988168234$29.95 Mirror’s Edge is a cunning and thought-provoking debut science fiction/fantasy novel that showcases two beautifully juxtaposed worlds. It follows Rath in a technologically advanced future in which everyone and everything is connected through a MOSES chip nestled against the brainstem. Except, Rath hates his MOSES chip. He could have it removed, but doing so would make it impossible for him to function as a part of his society. Sarah’s world is beautiful and pristine, nature nearly untouched by the humans that live in a simpler world. Sarah lives in a small cabin in the woods with a large garden, a tool shed,…
A HISTORY OF MY BRIEF BODY
[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…
SONGS FOR THE END OF THE WORLD
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…
I OVERCAME MY AUTISM
[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,…
Catherine BushGoose Lane Editions, 2020365 pagesISBN: 9781773101064$24.95Reviewed by Benjamin Weick Blaze Island captures the essence of 2020: global warming, mass forest fires in Australia and California, and the Covid-19 pandemic. These are lessons we’ve failed to learn as a community or have been unable to acknowledge in the face of peril. Blaze Island is a remote, rural location based on Fogo Island off the northeast coast of Newfoundland (not to be confused with Blaze Island in Nunavut). North of Blaze Island icebergs are increasingly breaking off sheets and drifting southward. Miranda is the protagonist whose father has become fearful and overprotective after his fall from grace in the scientific community…
An apple tree grown from seed can take up to 10 years to bear fruit and Marlene Cookshaw’s fifth book of poetry, Mowing, has likewise germinated for over a decade. Now she is harvesting the fruits of her literary labour and it is sweet.
“Wood is time captured. A map. A cellular memory. A record.” Spanning 138 years, Greenwood is structured like the cross-section of a tree, the rings of which physically record time passing, and is reflected visually in the novel’s Table of Contents. The oldest events occur in 1908, nestled in the middle rings, and the near future events of 2038 hover on the outer rings.