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On Our Radar

New books by Doretta Lau, Dani Couture, George Murray and Michael Pittman, and Kathryn Palmateer and Martha Solomon.

"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.


Book Cover How Does

How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun? by Doretta Lau

From Mark Sampson's review at Free Range Reading

"While the marketing bumpf promises a 'whimsical new take on what it means to be Canadian,' what we actually get is a wild, smash-mouth array of wholly original pieces, a deliberate hodgepodge that puts us an entire galaxy away from the staid 'immigrant-as-nationalism' narrative that is so overdone in our country’s literature. Lau’s pieces run the gamut from the violent and vulgar to the tender and touching. Yes, most of her characters are Asian Canadians struggling to find their way in the world, but each tale stands on its own as a singular thing, carefully wrought with an eye toward pristine originality."


Book Cover Yaw

Yaw, by Dani Couture

From Maisonneuve's "Two Poets Discuss" feature

"YAW, as a title, isn’t just appropriate because boats and barges abound in Couture’s book; the book seems to enact a a course-change in mourning for the poet’s 'would-be husband.' There is acceptance in this book. Perhaps not of the loss, but of learning to live with being haunted, to always be 'the unanswered phone and the caller untethered.' The book is an honest and (mostly) unsentimental conversation with, and answer to, 'A voice bent/ and coming/ from somewhere/ else.'


Book Cover Wow Wow and Haw Haw

Wow Wow and Haw Haw, by George Murray and Michael Pittman

From Lisa Doucet's review at Atlantic Books Today:

"Murray’s adaptation of this Celtic legend has a rhythmic cadence that makes it feel like a time-honoured tale being lovingly retold. Like the best traditional folktales, it has an understated quality.

Pittman’s beautiful mixed-media illustrations have a charm and a whimsy that enhance the story. The bold, solid and dark-hued figures of fox and crow are set against exquisitely textured backdrops with jagged, unfinished edges that form the borders of each page. It is a gorgeous package, a story finely told and beautifully illustrated."


One Kind Word

One Kind Word, by Kathryn Palmateer and Martha Solomon

From Jesse McLaren's review at Rabble

"These stories cover the history of abortion in Canada—from Linda who had a 'terrifying experience' in 1968 when abortion was illegal, to Joyce whose experience with a Therapeutic Abortion Committee in 1988 shaped her life as a pro-choice activist, to Mika who had a clinic abortion four months before she participated in the book. The stories cover a variety of experiences in unplanned pregnancies, barriers to abortion, emotional reactions to the procedure, and level of support from family or friends. Regardless of their personal reactions to abortion—from grieving to ambivalence to empowerment—the women have a shared experience of facing barriers to choice and feeling the need to speak out. As Kaleigh says, about both her disability and her experience with abortion: 'In having open conversations we actively annihilate shame.'"

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