Book Reviews

  • ‘The Bone Mother’ by David Demchuk

    Reviewed by Casey Plett

    I should preface this review by saying I don’t like being scared and tend to avoid horror in both books and movies; every time I buck this and watch something good but scary, I enjoy it but end up regretting it. MORE >

  • ‘In a Wide Country’ by Robert Everett-Green

    Reviewed by Shawn Syms

    Growing up is hard to do, at the best of times. Even more so when home, family and identity itself all seem inscrutable and precarious. Twelve-year-old Jasper, the central character of Robert Everett-Green’s charming and thoughtful debut novel In a Wide Country, finds himself unexpectedly spirited away from Winnipeg by his wildly independent single mother Corinne in a white Corvair. MORE >

  • ‘Blue Field’ by Elise Levine

    Reviewed by Jonathan Valelly

    If the desolate black and cobalt cover of Blue Field somehow doesn’t adequately signal the tone of the book, the first sentence nails it: “She hung.” Elise Levine’s new novel takes place in a state of not suspense, but suspension. MORE >

  • ‘The Nightingale Won’t Let You Sleep’ by Steven Heighton

    Reviewed by Mark Sampson

    It felt somewhat apropos to be reading Steven Heighton’s new novel, The Nightingale Won’t Let You Sleep, just a few weeks after video emerged in May of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s supporters and dark-suited bodyguards kicking the crap out of protesters outside the Turkish Embassy on U.S. soil. MORE >

  • ‘The Water Beetles’ by Michael Kaan

    Reviewed by Michael Minor

    A relative latecomer to novel-writing, Winnipeg-born author Michael Kaan tells an important story in his debut The Water Beetles. Kaan elegantly folds the familiar form of the coming of age novel into a prisoner of war account, based on his father’s childhood in Japanese occupied Hong Kong during WWII. MORE >

  • ‘A Three-Tiered Pastel Dream’ by Lesley Trites

    Reviewed by Lynne C. Martin

    Pepto-Bismol pink, the colour of the cover of Lesley Trites’ first short-story collection, is also the title of the opening story. Told from the point of view of a socially challenged office clerk, Paula is coming off a one-night stand with Greg and discovers she’s pregnant. MORE >

  • ‘Death and the Intern’ by Jeremy Hanson-Finger

    Reviewed by Dan Twerdochlib

    Drugs and money seem to run the hospital where Janwar Gupta is doing his practicum. In Death and the Intern, an anesthesiologist-in-training is framed for manslaughter. Convinced that he was set up, Janwar plays amateur detective and stumbles upon corruption in Ottawa’s Civic Hospital as he tries to uncover who wanted his patient dead and why. MORE >

  • ‘Bridge Retakes’ by Angela Lopes

    Reviewed by Domenica Martinello

    Whether we abide by or eschew them, categories matter. They can be limiting or limitless, depending on your perspective. Throughout the reading of Angela Lopes’ brief debut Bridge Retakes, I questioned the unequivocal categorization of this book as a novel. MORE >

  • ‘Everything Is Awful and You’re a Terrible Person’ by Daniel Zomparelli

    Reviewed by Andrew Woodrow-Butcher

    Juicy, funny, and thoroughly absorbing, this first book of fiction from Vancouver writer Daniel Zomparelli looks at the lives of young gay men in the age of Grindr. Everything Is Awful and You’re a Terrible Person offers all the superficial, gossipy pleasures one would expect from stories full of dates, hookups, and anonymous online chats. MORE >

  • ‘Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall’ by Suzette Mayr

    Reviewed by Dana Hansen

    If one has spent any time working and teaching in a post-secondary institution, it’s nearly impossible to read Suzette Mayr’s new novel, set on the campus of the fictional University of Inivea somewhere in Alberta, without recognizing the crisis of self-confidence experienced by the hapless, anxiety-ridden Dr. Edith Vane. MORE >

  • ‘The Last Neanderthal’ by Claire Cameron

    Reviewed by Clarissa Fortin

    Imagine stumbling upon a fully grown Neanderthal woman in the forest.

    “She would spread the fingers of her left palm to greet you,” reads the prologue of Claire Cameron’s latest novel The Last Neanderthal. “You’ve never seen such a magnificent creature … she could close up your throat with one squeeze. Don’t run though.” MORE >