Off the Page
A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between
Thinking about ghost stories, now that summer itself is nearly a ghost.
Last month, Canadian Madeleine Thien was among 13 writers longlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize for fiction for …
Was Morrisseau an uneducated artist plagued by alcoholism and homelessness? A shaman artist who tapped a deep spiritual …
A shout-out to our fellow Canadian online literary hubs.
Books for young readers (and readers who are young at heart).
Our Children's Librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.
This week on The Chat, we’re in conversation with Brett Josef Grubisic. His novel From Up River and For One Night Only …
With this deeply considered list, Champagne shares with us some of the many books she read while researching the plight …
It’s all part of the experience: brave the heat and make your way to your local independent bookstore (bonus: many of …
Not to get all controversial, but summer itself is nearly a ghost, as we find ourselves now in the final days of August. And as we turn our minds to the turn of the season, it seems fitting to turn to ghost stories as well, autumn being their optimal season, what with bare trees like skeletons, all that fetid decay, and Halloween, of course.
Christy-Ann Conlin, author of The Memento—a ghost story that has made a perfect summer book for many readers—selects for us some of CanLit's strangest and most peculiar hauntings.
The Broken Hours, by Jaqueline Baker
The Broken Hours is a period piece set in Providence, Rhode Island in the mid-1930s, both a ghost story and a fictional portrait of cult favourite writer, H.P. Lovecraft. I gobbled up this ghostly tale in a night and love it for how unexpected the ghost is, both who, when, and how it appears. The novel is complete with creaking doors, shadows, and distortions of time which would make Shirley Jackson proud.
Last month, Canadian Madeleine Thien was among 13 writers longlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize for fiction for her extraordinary new novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing. This week, she’s my guest on The Chat.
Do Not Say We Have Nothing is impressive in scope, covering key historical moments in recent Chinese history, including the Cultural Revolution and the 1989 massacre at Tiananmen Square. The Guardian calls the book “a moving and extraordinary evocation of the 20th-century tragedy of China.” The Globe and Mail says the work “will cement Madeleine Thien as one of Canada’s most talented novelists, at once a successor to Rohinton Mistry and a wholly singular stylist.”
Madeleine Thien is the author of the short story collection Simple Recipes, which was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, a Kiriyama Pacific Prize Notable Book, and won the BC Book Prize for Fiction; the novel Certainty, which won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award; and the novel Dogs at the Perimeter, which was shortlisted for Berlin’s 2014 International Lite …
"On Our Radar" is a monthly 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet.
Mister Nightingale, by Paul Bowdring
Reviewed by Trudy Morgan-Cole at The Compulsive Overreader:
This is a novelist’s novel, a book for people who love words. It’s also a fun read for anyone who knows and loves St. John’s, Newfoundland and its literary scene, which is the main reason it floated to the top of my overcrowded “to-read” list. Apart from the general caricatures of the local scene and the loving evoked details of the city, there are a few characters that are pretty clearly (and in some cases, hilariously) based on thinly-disguised real people.
In My Humble Opinion: My So-Called Life, by Soraya Roberts
Reviewed by Sadaf Ahsan at the National Post:
Though Roberts’ book harbours a specific focus on what it means to be a girl in the wake of My So-Called Life (using it to demonstrate the weight of television in …
Mythologizing Norval Morrisseau: Art and the Colonial Narrative in the Canadian Media examines the complex identities assigned to Anishinaabe artist Norval Morrisseau. Was he an uneducated artist plagued by alcoholism and homelessness? Was Morrisseau a shaman artist who tapped a deep spiritual force? Or was he simply one of Canada’s most significant artists?
“Native artists had to know how to play the white man’s game, they had to be able to work the media and the market, or they weren’t going anywhere.”—Sarah Milroy, Globe and Mail, 7 February 2006
With the 2006 opening of Norval Morrisseau: Shaman Artist at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario, two of Canada’s leading newspapers, the Globe and Mail and the Ottawa Citizen, characterized the Anishinaabe artist’s retrospective as a “taming of demons.”
While each paper acknowledged Morrisseau as a pivotal artist in Canadian art history, both stories attributed demons to Morrisseau, when in actuality it was the Canadian nation and its colonial arm of nationalism, the media, that were the primary source of the many demons attributed to Morrisseau. As the first Indigenous artist in Canada to break into the mainstream art world, Morrisseau had entered an exclusive and elitist club with …
There are still some who contend that the online world is the enemy of all things properly bookish and literary, to which we would respectfully issue our disagreement. Then again after more than five years of celebrating Canadian books online, we would disagree, wouldn't we? But we're certainly not the only ones marrying a love of books with the digital world, and in the spirit of kinship, we'd like to take this opportunity to shout out to our fellow Canadian online literary hubs.
Who they are: Highlighting the best books Canadian independent presses have to offer, All Lit Up is managed by The Literary Press Group, and their mission is to keep these amazing books by indie presses on Canadian readers' radars.
You know them for: They were born as a pop-up shop a couple of Christmases ago featuring magnificent gift suggestions, and have since morphed into an online community bookstore for readers who like an indie vibe but don't have an independent bookshop in their neighbourhood.