Book Reviews

  • ‘Scarborough’ by Catherine Hernandez

    Reviewed by Phoebe Wang 

    Scarborough, Catherine Hernandez’s debut novel, isn’t about the perfect families, the families with “two whole parents with two whole jobs.” Instead, she attempts to speak for “We, the brown kids with one and one-half parents, with siblings from different dads we see only in photos; we who call our grandmothers Mom; we who touch our father’s hands through Plexiglass.” MORE >

  • ‘Glass Beads’ by Dawn Dumont

    glassbeadsReviewed by Gwen Benaway

    Being Indigenous in Canada often feels like stepping into the middle of a conversation. The conversation you are suddenly thrust into is one which has been going for almost 400 years. Finding your place in that dialogue is challenging and forces you to learn about the past and decide on the future you want. Throughout the interconnected stories in her collection, Glass Beads, Dawn Dumont weaves several Indigenous voices together in a narrative of self-discovery that reflects the conversation many Indigenous people find ourselves in. MORE >

  • ‘Sonja & Carl’ by Suzanne Hillier

    413G1Kp0QqL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Reviewed by Amy Attas

    Suzanne Hillier recently returned to writing after retiring from the law firm she started in the 1970s, and the teaching career she had before that. Her first book, Divorce: A Guided Tour, was published in 2011, and Sonja & Carl is her first novel. MORE >

  • ‘This Accident of Being Lost: Songs and Stories’ by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

    This Accident of Being LostReviewed by Gwen Benaway

    I am familiar with Leanne Simpson’s work, so when I was asked to review her newest book, This Accident of Being Lost, I immediately said yes. Simpson and I share some common ground. We were born in the same small town in the middle of rural Ontario. We are Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) and learned some of our teachings from the same elder. More important, we are Indigenous writers who create work exploring the boundaries of what we call “decolonial love.” This notion of reclaiming love and intimacy as a space for resistance and revitalization sits at the heart of Simpson’s new work. MORE >

  • ‘So Much Love’ by Rebecca Rosenblum

    somuchloveReviewed by Dana Hansen

    To read Toronto writer Rebecca Rosenblum’s first novel, recently nominated for the 2017 First Novel Award, as mainly a thriller about the mysterious disappearance of two people from their small Ontario town, is to place too much emphasis on the surface of this quietly brilliant novel, overlooking its deeper, perhaps less conspicuous themes and implications. MORE >

  • ‘Next Year, For Sure’ by Zoey Leigh Peterson

    nextyearReviewed by Liz Harmer

    A synopsis can tell you most of what you already know about Next Year, For Sure, Zoey Leigh Peterson’s debut novel: Chris and Kathryn have been together happily for nine years when they decide to try opening up the relationship. He has a habit of falling in love and a “high cuddle drive,” while “nothing invigorates Kathryn like a good crush.” This good crush comes along in the form of Emily, an outgoing odd-jobber who lives in a house full of eccentrics. MORE >

  • ‘Hope Has Two Daughters’ by Monia Mazigh

    hopetwoReviewed by Seyward Goodhand

    Some remarkable novels translated into English in the last few years have at their core a passionate platonic relationship between two women. I am thinking of Elena Ferrante’s “Neapolitan Quartet” and Magda Szabo’s The Door. The subject of female experience and the imperative, as Ferrante expresses it, “to delve truthfully into the darkest depths” of that experience, contribute to the excellence of this work. MORE >

  • ‘Barrelling Forward’ by Eva Crocker

    barrellingReviewed by Charlene Van Buekenhout

    Reading the short stories in Barrelling Forward by emerging writer Eva Crocker was like an exercise in my body’s capacity for taking in anxiety by proxy. Crocker’s ability to infuse each story with cinematic detail creates suspense out of ordinary situations. MORE >

  • ‘Bad Endings’ by Carleigh Baker

    Bad EndingsReviewed by Casey Plett

    Short story collections are kind of my personal bread-and-butter reads. I like them like I figure my dad liked Elmore Leonard. Even when I’m pretty sure I know where the book’s going, damned if I won’t enjoy getting there. MORE >

  • ‘Little Sister’ by Barbara Gowdy

    Little SisterReviewed by Rudrapriya Rathore

    Little Sister, renowned Canadian author Barbara Gowdy’s newest novel, introduces itself more effectively than I can:

    Rose Bowan, sitting in the office of the Regal Repertory Theatre, watched a rainstorm from her window and felt “a quick, exquisite sensation of her skin tightening and cooling.” Hearing the phone ring, she snatched it up. “‘Harriet here,’ she said in a croaky, tentative voice that was not Rose’s but somehow exactly hers. And the name wasn’t hers, of course, but it suited the small, kinetic person she seemed to be inside.” MORE >

  • ‘What We Once Believed’ by Andrea MacPherson

    415nIZvcxRL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_Reviewed by Rachel Carlson

    What We Once Believed is the sixth book written by poet and prose author Andrea MacPherson. Her works include three poetry collections—Ellipsis, Away, and Natural Disasters—and two previous novels, When She Was Electric and Beyond the Blue. MORE >