Off the Page
A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between
New books by Michelle Berry, Alicia Priest, Laisha Rosnau, and Dave Atkinson
Not all first novels are assured enough to hold their own among titles from more established names, but those that are a …
Aislinn Hunter's first novel, Stay, was made into a feature film starring Taylor Schilling (Orange is the New Black) and …
Canadian children's literature is avowedly world-class, and the selection this season is up to the usual standard.
Desired and reviled, adulated and condemned, Winnipeg inspires intense and contradictory emotions.
Sky and earth, large scale to small, these books cover the gamut of wild summer fun.
What's the opposite of pretty? Ugly. But ugly has its merits, among them a license to create because by allowing ourselv …
Our Most Anticipated Series continues with this look at forthcoming Canadian poetry in Fall 2014.
Learn about the remarkable lives of these magnificent creatures in 5 Elephants by Rob Laidlaw.
So much to look forward to: cookbooks, biographies, sports books, history texts, memoirs, books on politics and current …
"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.
Interference, by Michelle Berry
"My friend, this is the book for you. Ominous as its themes may be, Interference is tightly plotted and neatly executed, very nearly perfectly paced, and satisfyingly complex—but it is also escapism in its purest form, and a sheer delight to read.
The inhabitants of Parkville’s Edgewood Drive are normal, familiar. Ralph and Claire are coping with the demands of chemotherapy on Claire’s cancer-stricken body; their teenage children are attempting to cope. Tom and Maria are occupied with worry over their obsessive-compulsive daughter, Becky, and ignoring the problems in their marriage. Across the street, Trish, a busy mother and small-business owner, cleans up after her kids and screens all her calls when she’s finally alone in the house. Next door to Trish lives Dayton, fresh off the plane from California with a new baby—and no sign of a husband. A few streets away live peripheral characters—Michael, a disfigured car-wash employee, and Leah, the mother of a disabled …
First novels, as a lot, are exciting phenomena because they carry so much of an author's energy and ambition. The best of them are electric, marked with a confidence and uniqueness that sets them apart from the rest.
In today's post, Mark Medley, who's just moved from the National Post to the Globe and Mail as books editor; Jared Bland, arts editor at the Globe; Steven W. Beattie, review editor at Quill & Quire and author of the blog, That Shakespearean Rag; and our own Kerry Clare, editor here and author of the popular lit blog, Pickle Me This, choose their favourite Canadian debuts so far of 2014.
Mark Medley's Picks
"Reading Nick Cutter's debut horror novel, The Troop, is just about the most fun I've had this year. Okay, I know Cutter is actually Giller Prize-nominated author Craig Davidson, but this is his first novel under the pen name. A violent yet surprisingly tender portrait of boyhood—forget Richard Linklater! I was also blown away by Emily Carroll's debut collection of illustrated stories, Through the Woods. These are old-school, slow-burn …
Red Letter Day is the 49th Shelf series where Canadian authors tell us about a dream day where all pleasures are possible, thanks to a combination of extraordinary talent and mad cash. Today that day is envisioned by Aislinn Hunter, author of The World Before Us, a novel Helen Humphreys calls "a brilliant work of humanity and imagination." Aislinn's previous works have also earned her nominations for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, the Pat Lowther Award, The Danuta Gleed Award, The ReLit Prize, and the Amazon.ca First Novel award. Her poetry collection Into the Early Hours won the Gerald Lampert Award.
Here is the premise: It’s been a good year. Things are looking up. You’ve sold your book, some lucrative foreign rights, and won a few prizes. AND it’s your birthday. It’s time to treat yourself. For once, money is no object. It’s time to go live a little.
And so ...
49th Shelf: You walk (or fly!) to your favourite bookstore (AH: Ben McNally in Toronto—so my bestie can meet up with me) and browse the shelves for three books you’ve been me …
Canadian children's literature is avowedly world-class, and the selection this season is up to the usual standard. Our Fall Preview offers hours and hours of bedtime reading for lit-lovers of all ages. And don't miss the rest of our Fall Previews: Fiction, Non-Fiction and Poetry.
With Good Morning, Canada (September), Andrea Lynn Beck follows up her celebrated Goodnight, Canada, as children across the country welcome a brand new day. You probably know and love Helaine Becker and Werner Zimmerman's A Porcupine in a Pine Tree, so get ready for their latest, Dashing Through the Snow: A Canadian Jingle Bells (October), which begins with Sasquatch upsetting Santa's sleigh and everyone getting the wrong presents. Sangeeta Bhadra's debut is Sam's Pet Temper (September), an amusing story about a boy who eventually learns to control his troublesome "pet," illustrated by Marian Arbona. In Winter Moon Song (August), award-winning writer Martha Brooks tells her own version of the "Rabbit in the Moon" story, which is shared by many cultures, her tender tale complemented by Leticia Ruifernández's illustrations.
Winnipeg's gorgeous wildness is powerfully apparent in the photography book Stuck in the Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg by Bryan Scott and Bartley Kives. We're pleased to bring a few examples of the book's remarkable images, which celebrate and explore one of Canada's best cities.
Desired and reviled, adulated and condemned, Winnipeg inspires intense and contradictory emotions from residents, visitors and people who have never even ventured within wading distance of the Manitoba capital. The city at the centre of North America inspires a profound sense of ambivalence, stuck as it is between a colourful and triumphant early history, a long period of 20th-Century decline and an uncertain if optimistic future. Stuck in the Middle finds photographer Bryan Scott and journalist Bartley Kives exploring the geography, design and reputation of the only city they have ever truly known, loved and hated. With vicious honesty and intense affection, Scott and Kives expose Winnipeg's beautiful and conflicted soul for the rest of the world to admire and detest and ultimately ignore.