We’ve got it all, for you


By Ben Wood

Didn’t we just have one? So why does it feel like it’s happening again, all around us — dominating the news, conversations with friends, even those browsing-history-inspired ads. The US election? No, the annual fall-fiction publishing frenzy!

Here at The Winnipeg Review, we’re here to help you decide what to read in publishing’s busiest time of year. Our reviews are informed, substantive and longer than you’ll find elsewhere, where the word limit for reviews are as short as an author blurb on the jacket cover.

In The Best Kind of People, Zoe Whittall “overturns the typical cultural narrative when well-known men are accused of rape,” giving little time to “his side of the story” and instead exploring the impact of sexual violence on the accused’s wife, son and teenage daughter. It’s a story that Shawn Syms heralds as “flawless.” We also have an excerpt from the novel, and it’ll only take one paragraph to pull you in.

Katherena Vermette writes “with a poetic ease that makes the hard things easier to swallow” in her highly anticipated debut novel, The Break, a story of shifting narratives about crime, the cycle of violence and the bonds of family. In our interview with Vermette, she says she saw her friends and family in the characters. “I was writing for my sisters, my daughters, my mother.”

André Alexis’ latest is noted for taking cues from Treasure Island, but also, reviewer Dan Twerdochlib notes, Raymond Chandler and Stephen King, making The Hidden Keys an intertextual treasure hunt and a fun read.

In our feature article, Joanne Epp asks what we always think at this time of year: where, in the review sections, bestseller lists and radio shows, is the poetry?

That’s not all. We review books with dark family secrets, books with lusty sex scenes and drug-soaked parties and books about people who just need to start over. And we have mesmeric new work from Kristyn Dunnion:

“Get so riled up thinking about her stuff and how some other girl is in that room, nicest room she had in a long time with the view and all, the view was real good and the fire escape came right up under the window, she could go in and out never mind a key, just do her own thing and invite the guys up that way, saved going down the stairs to buzz them in.”

You might start this issue not knowing what to read, but you’ll finish wanting to read it all. Let us know where you stand on the season’s latest titles in the comments below.

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From the Editor's Desk

Ben Wood

Ben Wood is a writer from Winnipeg and is an associate editor for The Winnipeg Review.