Off the Page

A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between

Latest Blog Posts
Book Cover Oy Feh So

Notes from a Children's Librarian: Books on Jewish Heritage

By Julie Booker

Compelling stories showcasing Jewish Heritage to be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

read more >
The Chat with GGs Literature Award Winner Madhur Anand

The Chat with GGs Literature Award Winner Madhur Anand

By Trevor Corkum

Check out our conversation with Madhur Anand, whose brilliant experimental memoir This Red Line Goes Straight to Your He …

read more >
Me and Bridget Jones (20 Years Later)

Me and Bridget Jones (20 Years Later)

By Erika Thorkelson

Erika Thorkelson's "Me and Bridget Jones (20 Years Later)" is one of the essays in Midlife, a new essay collection explo …

read more >
The Chat with GGs Literature Award Winner Michelle Good

The Chat with GGs Literature Award Winner Michelle Good

By Trevor Corkum

Today we are pleased to kick off our special coverage of the 2020 Governor General's Award winners (English-language) wi …

read more >
Book Cover Cattail Skyline

The World Up Close

By Joanne Epp

A recommended reading list by author of new book CATTAIL SKYLINE on paying close attention to the small and particular.

read more >
Book Cover What's In It For Me

The Keepers on My Bookshelf

By LS Stone

Depth and humour are themes in this great recommended reading list by the author of the new middle grade novel What's in …

read more >
Book Cover the Girl from Dream City

How Does a Woman Become a Writer?

By Linda Leith

"The writers who interest me most, always, are women who write about themselves in ways that a male writer never could." …

read more >
Book Cover Big Reader

11 Essay Collections to Revisit Now

By Susan Olding

"The bestselling novel of a decade ago will sometimes seem stale or irrelevant today, but that’s rarely true of an ess …

read more >
The Chat Special Coverage: Griffin Poetry Prize Roundtable 2021

The Chat Special Coverage: Griffin Poetry Prize Roundtable 2021

By Trevor Corkum

We’re so pleased to be partnering once again with our friends at the Griffin Poetry Prize to profile this year’s thr …

read more >
Book Cover Run Riot

Poetry Feels Like Memory to Me

By Ash Winters

"Something of the intensity of feeling, sparseness of narrative and intricacy of images in poetry feels like memory itse …

read more >

Aga Maksimowska on a Child's Perspective of Revolution and Building Character

Aga Maksimowska, author of Giant (Pedlar Press, 2012).

How do you fit into a new country when you don't speak the language, your motherland is in upheaval, and you're teenaged-girl body is as well? In fact, you're a "giant."

Giant, by Aga Maksimowska, presents a child’s perspective of revolution—Poland in 1989—a traumatic time of change mirrored in 11-year-old Gosia's body and the absence of her migrant-worker parent, a mother who works in Canada cleaning houses and a father who ferries Asian goods to Europe.

Gosia is transported quite suddenly to Canada to live with mother. There, she undergoes puberty as Poland struggles with its own transformation. Gosia feels neither Polish nor Canadian, yet her identity is weaved from the threads of multi-ethnic influences, both old and new. It's a quintessentially Canadian story.

"If you like misshapen, afflicted, uniquely insightful youthful protagonists grappling with sweeping historical change, you'll love Giant. Aga Maksimowska channeled Salman Rushdie and Günter Grass in creating this unforgettable, funny, outsized Polish Canadian girl narrator." Elaine Chang (Reel Asian)

"In Giant, Aga Maksimowska has created a heroine who is bold, fiercely funny, and as unforgettable as the Polish uprising to which she is a witness. A story of emancipation so heart-breakingly hilariou …

Continue reading >

War/Torn Identities

Hasan Namir was born in Iraq in 1987. He is the award-winning author of God in Pink, which won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Fiction and was chosen as one of the Top 100 Books of 2015 by The Globe and Mail. His latest book is the poetry collection War / Torn, which is also the theme of this recommended reading list. 

*****

These books deal with war/torn identities in which the protagonist or the narrator of the poetic voice struggles to reconcile a sense of self. These books inspired me as their characters went through journeys of self-discovery and at times struggled to find their inner voices. This list is a mix of fiction, poetry and short stories all with hyphenated characters and voices that are deeply moving. And what I mean by hyphenated is that the characters all struggle with conflicting characteristics, identities and surroundings. 

*

Bad Endings, by Carleigh Baker 

Carleigh’s story collection isn’t necessarily plot-heavy, but more character-driven and portraying realistic experiences. The stories’ endings are sometimes intentiona …

Continue reading >

The Edges of Identity

Fawn Parker—whose most recent publication is the novel Set-Point, which “takes us to the very edge of identity, virtual and lived,” according to poet Kateri Lanthier—recommends eight books dealing with issues of identity, sexuality, and mental health. 

Heroine, by Gail Scott 

A Montreal woman masturbates in her bathtub, musing on her involvement with the '70s leftist movement, a polyamorous romance with a man always just out of reach, and her own personal identity cast against other women, other artists. Gail Scott blends poetic prose, stream of consciousness and “new narrative” (term coined by Soup magazine) to bring the reader right into the room with her protagonist. The line blurs between tense, story, character, and body. 

 *

Sodom Road Exit, by Amber Dawn

Starla Mia Martin moves back home to what feels like a ghost town (C …

Continue reading >

The Randomizer

Load New Book >
X
Contacting facebook
Please wait...