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Book Reviews in August 2003 Issue

Note from Editor
Editor's Note
by Olga Stein
Apart from death, what Tolstoy's "Death of Ivan Ilych", Joyce's "The Dead", and Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" have in common is their visceral affect on the reader. In general, short stories have that poetic capacity to charge at the reader's emotions before engaging the intellect. A thoughtful inspection of any short story should lay open the author's handiwork¨the design, purposefulness of word choice, control of tempo, the artifice as such. But these tend to work behind the scenes.
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A Streak of Luck
by Richelle Kosar

Cormorant Books
288 pages $22.95 paper
ISBN: 1896951473
Book Review
Larger Forces at Work
by Maureen Garvie
It may be constitutionally impossible for a Canadian writer, even in the age of "Joe Millionaire", to write a book that ends happily ever after. So when we read on the dust jacket of Richelle Kosar's new novel that the hapless Masaryk family has won a lottery, we wonder how long it will be before their bubble bursts The Masaryks believe the bad times are finally over.
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The Perpetual Ending
by Kristen den Hartog

Knopf
274 pages $34.95 cloth
ISBN: 0676974570
Book Review
No Fairy Tale Ending
by Kjeld Haraldsen
Iwas once madly, reelingly infatuated with a pair of identical twins (the cravenness of my desire makes me wince even now, twenty years later). Teutonically chiseled, cool-eyed, their sly, foxy faces were helmeted with ultra-grainy, ultra-palely blond hair; in addition to appearances, they shared a creepy "Shining"-style telepathy. (There was an older, plainer sister¨perpetually, understandably glum
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A Streak of Luck
by Richelle Kosar

Cormorant Books
288 pages $22.95 paper
ISBN: 1896951473
Book Review
Larger Forces at Work
by Maureen Garvie
It may be constitutionally impossible for a Canadian writer, even in the age of "Joe Millionaire", to write a book that ends happily ever after. So when we read on the dust jacket of Richelle Kosar's new novel that the hapless Masaryk family has won a lottery, we wonder how long it will be before their bubble bursts The Masaryks believe the bad times are finally over.
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The Ability to Forget
by Norman Levine

Key Porter
208 pages $21.95 paper
ISBN: 0886194156
Book Review
Martin Loney on two Globalization texts
by Michael Greenstein
Norman Levine is a master of the monosyllable, a painter of lambent brushstrokes, and a musician of minimalist dialogue and narration. These characteristics are naturally allied with the short story genre and its attendant epiphanies, rather than the longer novelistic format and its character development. Most of the stories in this collection have been previously published, but the final one, "The Ability to Forget", is new.
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Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self
by Claire Tomalin

Viking/Penguin
499 pages $39.99 cloth
ISBN: 0670885681
Book Review
Prototype of a Diarist
by Nancy Wigston
Claire Tomalin's new biography of Samuels Pepys comes to us trailing its own interesting literary tidbit. Tomalin, who previously has written acclaimed biographies of Mary Wollstonecraft, Shelley, and Jane Austen¨to name a few¨won this year's Whitbread Prize for her work about England's most candid 17th century diarist, Samuel Pepys. Also on the Whitbread list was her husband, novelist Michael Frayne, shortlisted for Spies, his latest novel.
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One Man's Trash
by Ivan E. Coyote

Arsenal Pulp Press
136 pages $16.95 paper
ISBN: 1551521202
Book Review
One Man's Trash
Reading Ivan E. Coyote's One's Man's Trash is like sharing a long drive with a stranger, the kind of journey that lets you learn as much about yourself as your travelling companion. The stories are intimate, humorous, honest and unheroic; they speak of small experiences and memories that become much larger in the telling. Each one holds some unexpected truth, revealed by the detailed observations that are so much a part of Coyote's distinct style.
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Pattern Recognition
by William Gibson

Putnam
356 pages $39 cloth
ISBN: 0399149864
Book Review
Patterns of Power and Destruction
by Patrick R. Burger
In Pattern Recognition William Gibson concerns himself with the patterns of reality that determine the fates of individuals and nations. At the same time, he does not stray far from the emotional touchstone of individual reactions to everyday events¨however extraordinary. His main character, Cayce Pollard, offers the slight hope that individuals can discern those grand patterns and even influence them, for she is the agent of Gibson's premise that such patterns can be apprehended
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One World The Ethics of Globalization
by Peter Singer

Yale University Press
256 pages $36.25 cloth
ISBN: 0300096860
Book Review
Awaiting a Global Ethic
by Anthony Skelton
It's Saturday. You have just finished reading the paper and have decided to go for a stroll in a nearby park. After a time, you come to the edge of a stream, a favorite spot for neighborhood families. From the corner of your eye you notice that an unattended child has slipped into the water and is struggling to stay afloat. Without your help she will surely drown. But aiding her does not come without a cost to you: your Gap khakis, suede jacket and new loafers will be ruined.
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Breaking the Skin Twenty-First Century. Volume Two: New Irish Poetry
by Irish Writing. Edited by Nigel McLoughlin, Matthew Fluharty and Frank Sewell

The Black Mountain Press
260 pages $12.5 paper
ISBN: 0953757021
Book Review
Ireland's "Superhighway Poets"
by Todd Swift
Breaking The Skin is an anthology of "an emerging generation"¨in this case of poets from the North and South of Ireland, born between 1957 and 1975, who have published no more than one collection (most since 1999). These new poets write mainly in the English, although there is a brief selection of work translated from the Irish at the back
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The Good Life
by Brad Cran

Nightwood Editions
79 pages $15.95 paper
ISBN: 0889711836
Killing Things
by John Degan

Pedlar Press
91 pages $19.95 paper
ISBN: 096865228X
Cartography and Walking
by Adam Dickinson

Brick Books
99 pages $15 paper
ISBN: 1894078225
Book Review
Rural and Urban Mapping
by Andrew Lesk
If I could step beyond this page and give Adam Dickinson an award for his wondrous debut it would have to be . . . well, I'm not on any jury, but I do have this space. And I'll use it to say that Dickinson's poems are luminous, subtle, and exceptional
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Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
by Hugh Wheeler. Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Applause Theatre & Cinema Book Publishers
256 pages $16.95 paper
ISBN: 1557830665
Book Review
Theatre by Keith Garebian
Musical theatre is the special gift of America, and Sweeney Todd is one of the best gifts from that nation. The Todd legend concerns a barber who, in revenge for the wrongs committed against him and his family, turns into a serial killer in London. He slits the throats of his victims while they are in his tonsorial chair and shuttles their corpses through a trapdoor into the cellar of his shop, where his female accomplice turns the flesh into stuffing for her pies.
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Paris, 1919: Six Months that Changed the World
by Margaret MacMillan

Random House
497 pages $53 cloth
ISBN: 0375508260
Book Review
Making Sense of the Whole Damn Mess
by Patrick Watson
"For six months in 1919 Paris was the Capital of the world." So begins the introduction to this substantial and engaging account of that bizarre conference after the armistice that momentarily silenced the guns of The Great War. The direction of world history for the next century was largely set in motion at that conference. The inevitability of a second World War was almost assured.
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Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds
by Harold Bloom

Warner Books
814 pages $55 cloth
ISBN: 0446527173
Book Review
Describing Without Defining Genius
by Don Akenson
One of my favourite country songs goes "If You Don't Like Hank Williams, You Can Kiss My Ass" and I feel the same way about Harold Bloom. Like the song says, What he Done was well worth Doing, and I'm dead-sick of reading English academics and their even paler North American imitators reef on Old Harold. What they hate about him is pretty clear. First, that he is so obviously quicker, smarter and better-read than they are is something they cannot forgive
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Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate
by Naomi Klein

Vintage Canada
296 pages $22.95 paper
ISBN: 067695518
Book Review
Theroux's Dark Star Express
by Christopher Ondaatje
The last book I read by Paul Theroux was Sir Vidia's Shadow: A Friendship Across Five Continents¨a most uncomfortable experience. Theroux and Naipaul had met while at Makerere University in Uganda in the mid 60s¨disciple and teacher¨and became strong friends. In fact Theroux published an adulation of V.S. Naipaul, an Introduction to his work in 1972.
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Book Review
"But We Must Notice": Robert Lowell's Poetry Classes
by Elise Partridge
In the spring of 1977, Robert Lowell taught what would turn out to be his final classes. One was a seminar on nineteenth-century English and American poets, the other a writing workshop which also surveyed twentieth-century poets. English 255 and English F each met for two hours weekly at Harvard, with a dozen or so students and half a dozen auditors attending.
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The Letters and Diaries of Etty Hillesum, 1941-1943 (Complete and Unabridged)
by Edited by Klaas A.D. Smelik. Translated by Arnold J. Pomerans

Novalis
800 pages $45 cloth
ISBN: 2895073430
Book Review
Etty Hillesum Speaks to Us
by Manny Drukier
We ached and despaired over the fifteen-year-old Anne. As we read The Letters and Diaries of Etty Hillesum, 1941-43, we find that the city and era are the same. In 1944, just months before the war's end, betrayed by a neighbour, the Frank family is discovered in their Amsterdam hideout. Only the father survives. Etty Hillesum, twenty-seven years of age, holds that it is her duty to bear witness to the murder of a people. The diary is her testimony.
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Until You are Dead Steven Truscott's Long Ride into History
by Julian Sher

Vintage Canada
584 pages $24.95 paper
ISBN: 0676973817
Book Review
Shaming a Canadian Court's Decision
by James Allan Evans
In 1966, The Trial of Steven Truscott by Isabel LeBourdais was a Canadian bestseller. Yet it had nearly failed to find a Canadian publisher. McClelland and Stewart had signed a contract, but Jack McClelland developed doubts, for LeBourdais was doing what was just not done in the 1960s. She was suggesting that the Canadian judicial system was an imperfect instrument. A court in Goderich, Ont.
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Moy Sand and Gravel
by Paul Muldoon

Faber and Faber
90 pages $36.5 cloth
ISBN: 0374214808
Book Review
Mulling over Muldoon
by Jana Prikryl
Paul Muldoon's trademark style¨words that are made to skid across the English language like skipping stones and, with each lexical skip, mutate into similar words, many only seen in dictionaries, with the poem generated in the wake of this repeated mutation¨compels a level of concentration that is hard to muster unless you're balling your fists and steadily sipping coffee through a straw
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Uncomfortably Numb
by Sharon English

The Porcupine's Quill
191 pages $18.95 paper
ISBN: 0889842507
Book Review
H. L. Mencken
by Michelle Ariss
'Oh. Dear Robert.' 'Who art in England.' Regina bowed her head. 'Hallowed be thy hair.' 'Thy cockdom come.' 'Thy lust be done.' 'On my willing body.' 'As it is on mine.' We nodded solemnly. Regina let the jackets fall in place...
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Far Eastern Tour The Canadian Infantry in Korea 1950-1953
by Brent Byron Watson

McGill-Queen's University Press
238 pages $34.95 cloth
ISBN: 0773523723
Tolerant Allies: Canada and the United States 1963-1968
by Greg Donaghy

McGill-Queen's University Press
235 pages $75 cloth
ISBN: 0773524339
An Inside Look At External Affairs During The Trudeau Years: The Memoirs of Mark MacGuigan
by Edited by P. Whitney Lackenbauer

University of Calgary Press
208 pages $34.95 cloth
ISBN: 1552380769
Book Review
Canadian Foreign Policy¨plus ca change...
by Rondi Adams
Depending on your point of view, Canadian foreign policy since the Second World War has either gone shamefully to hell on a handcart or reached a long dreamed of state of independence, with Ottawa taking orders from neither Washington nor London. With the Canadian military's systematic castration over the years and our troops, such as they are, conspicuously missing from Operation Iraqi Freedom, one might feel inclined to think we've taken a wrong turn
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Crabwalk
by Gnnter Grass/translated by Krishna Winston

234 pages $25 cloth
ISBN: 0151007640
Book Review
Moral seasickness on an Unsinkable Vessel
by Eric Miller
Anyone who suffers from a troubled conscience may have an interest in the history of Germany. In Jewish and Christian tradition, scripture once sustained the notion of guilt. Scripture has fewer fully persuaded adherents now. But history provides a library of secular texts to replace those that were once divinely sanctioned. In these new texts, the Fall of Man may prove to be strictly dateable.
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Three Pagodas Pass: A Roundabout Journey to Burma
by George Fetherling

Subway Books
152 pages $19.95 paper
ISBN: 0968716326
Harmattan: Wind Across West Africa
by Marcello Di Cintio

Insomniac Press
188 pages $19.95 paper
ISBN: 1894663322
Book Review
Two Travellers of Different Stripe
by Clara Thomas
These two books nicely illustrate the wide range that the category "Travel Literature" enjoys. They are very different in intent and effect: each one will satisfy the requirements of certain readers, while frustrating the expectations of others; both offer the armchair traveller entertainment and instruction, but enthusiasts of one will not find the other equally rewarding.
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The Globalization Myth
by Alan Shipman

Icon Books
236 pages $19.99 paper
ISBN: 1840463597
Book Review
Faster, Must Go Faster
by Jeremy Lott
If I were to give an award for the breeziest book on globalization, it would go to either Thomas Friedman's faddish, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, or Alan Shipman's new offering: The Globalization Myth. The lingo in the latter is happening, the jokes are targeted at the pretentious and it almost manages to make a subject that defies readability entertaining. Some, however, may mistake this breeziness for a lack of insight or imagination, which would be a miscalculation.
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A Moral Reckoning The Role of the Catholic Church and its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair
by Daniel Goldhagen

Alfred A. Knopf
363 pages $38 cloth
ISBN: 0375414347
Book Review
A Moral Reckoning
by Nicholas Maes
Although it has been almost sixty years since the Holocaust ended, we still have not digested its many implications, to judge by the amount of print that keeps appearing on the topic. Indeed, this defining event of the twentieth century continues to inspire so many novels, movies and historical studies that, according to one recent book, it has become something of an industry, a self-serving phenomenon that all too often feeds upon itself.
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Keeping Afloat
by M. Travis Lane

Guernica Editions
94 pages $12 paper
ISBN: 1550711318
Drunkard's Path
by Deanna Young

Gaspereau Press
104 pages $14.95 paper
ISBN: 189403144x
Slow-Moving Target
by Sue Wheeler

Brick Books
88 pages $14 paper
ISBN: 189407808x
Book Review
The Everyday Matters
by Christopher Doda
"Nothing is too small to say" is a line from M. Travis Lane's "Solar Remission," the opening poem in Keeping Afloat, that could easily serve as a motto for Lane's collection as well as for Sue Wheeler's Slow-Moving Target and Deanna Young's Drunkard's Path.
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A Whistling Woman
by A.S. Byatt

Chatto and Windus
421 pages $38.95 cloth
ISBN: 0701173807
Book Review
Whistling Out of Chaos
by Cindy MacKenzie
A Whistling Woman, A.S. Byatt's latest novel, is, as the French say, a casse-tete. Opening it is to enter into a confusing and dream-like world, a cerebral space rich with a wide range of ideas as fully present as the novel's human characters and in fact, often "stronger than individuals," as "they twist, pull and mould" the reader's mind.
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Interviews
Books in Canada interviews Tim Bowling
Books in Canada: The Paperboy's Winter, a new novel,your second, was released in February. The Witness Ghost, a new collection of poetry, your fifth, was published in March. Can you tell me a bit about the differences between writing poetry and writing fiction? Tim Bowling: Well, writing poetry is ecstasy and writing fiction is just pleasure. I'm partly kidding, of course, since each form does come with its frustrations.
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Interviews
Canada and the Short-Story Cycle. John Oughton in Tandem with Gerald Lynch
Brian Fawcett has published more than a dozen books, including Cambodia: A Book for Television for People Who Find Television Too Slow (1986) and Public Eye: An Investigation into the Disappearance of the World (1990). He is currently the editor of the internet news service, dooneyscafe.com.
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Letters to Editor
Letters to the Editor
Dear Editor, In his review of Lewis Lapham's collection of essays, Theatre of War (BiC, March 2003), Brian Fawcett criticizes Lapham for having "excessive confidence in his own judgment," as though this trait is to be avoided in a writer of persuasive essays. He is willing to dismiss some of the most incisive, subtly satirical and courageous homegrown attacks on the current American administration because none of the questions posed "have easy answers.
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Essays
A Few Days with Don the Bookman
by Daniel Bell
Montreal, Tuesday, February 25, 2003 Just arrived from Hong Kong. My father, Don Bell, had fallen gravely ill. He was too short of breath to talk on the phone. I had sent an email that was read to my father, begging him not to leave me. He seemed fine about two weeks ago (during my last visit to Montreal), but my sister Valerie told me that this latest lung infection will most likely prove to be fatal.
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Essays
Michael Greenstein--three books on bombing
by Joy Parks
Ivan E. Coyote wants three things from her readers, or those fortunate enough to experience a performance of her work. "I want them to laugh. Then cry. Then think. In that order" she grins. "Kitchen table stories" is how she defines her unique short fictions that deal with her childhood in the North, her family, her experiences of being queer/transgendered and her life in the close-knit community of the working class east-Vancouver neighbourhood that's been her home for 11 years.
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Covert Entry Spies, Lies and Crimes Inside. Canada's Secret Service
by Andrew Mitrovica

Random House Canada
358 pages $35.95 cloth
ISBN: 0679311165
Prose/Poetry
Poetry
by Isabel Vincent
In the early 1990s, when I was researching a book on Latin-American terrorist groups and their Canadian links, a source at Canada's spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), told me (in an off-the-record conversation, of course) that I had accumulated more information than the agency itself had on two Canadians suspected of kidnapping a high-profile businessman in Brazil.
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Up Front
Amazon.ca/Books in Canada Bestsellers Lists
* Stats based on period from March 12 to April 16 Top 50 Bestselling Fiction 1 J.K.
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They shouldnĂt Make You Promise That
by Lois Simmie

Fitzhenry & Whiteside $14.95 paper
ISBN: 1550502069
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by Patricia Robertson
Fiction They Shouldn't Make You Promise That, Lois Simmie's classic comic novel (recently reissued by Coteau), finds its humour in the mordant observations of its heroine. Life has pretty much come to a grinding halt for Eleanor Smith, nTe Barker, as we learn from her opening question¨"Whatever happened to Saturday night?"¨and her response: "The kids still have them.
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Romancing Mary Jane¨A Year in the Life of a Failed Marijuana Grower
by Michael Poole

Greystone Books/Douglas & McIntyre
258 pages $19.95 paper
ISBN: 1550547496
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by Jo-Anne Mary Benson
Non-Fiction/Memoir It is always a pleasure to come across a book that informs the reader as much as it entertains. This happens to be the case with Michael Poole's, Romancing Mary Jane. Poole's objective was to provide a candid glimpse of his entrepreneurial experience as a cannabis gardener. Readers will find this to be an entertaining adventure tale, which still manages to produce a balanced study of marijuana and its impact on society.
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Flither-Lasses and Photography, Coco and Quakers The Sweetest Thing
by Fiona Shaw

Virago
441 pages $26.95 cloth
ISBN: 1860499872
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by Michael Kinsella
Fiction The Sweetest Thing is an absorbing novel. Set in England, during the late 1800s, it tells of the changing fortunes of Harriet, a 'flither-lass', who escapes the desperate poverty of her fishing village to work in 'Wetherby's Cocoa Works', in the city of York
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The Other Side of Truth
by Beverley Naidoo

HarperCollins
256 pages $25.5 cloth
ISBN: 0064410021
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Jeffrey Canton
South African born Beverley Naidoo was forced into exile in 1965 as a student. Her first book, Journey to Jo'Burg: A South African Story, and published in 1985 was banned in South Africa. She has explored the lingering effects of racial hatred in her novels Chain of Fire and No Turning Back and in her short fiction collection, Out of Bounds. Her novel, The Other Side of Truth, won the prestigious Carnegie Medal.
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Dear Ichiro
by Jean Davies Okimoto. Illustrated by Doug Keith

Kumagai Press $27.95 cloth
ISBN: 1570613737
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Deborah Wandal
This story establishes an important link between childhood feelings of anger and hatred, and global issues pertaining to war and peace between nations. When young Henry's best friend becomes his worst enemy through a thoughtless act, Henry's great-grandfather finds a way to talk about Henry's "I'll hate you forever" outburst of hurt and vengefulness.
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Children's Books
Children's Books
by Deborah Wandal
During the bombing of Sarajevo in 1992, a cellist, Vedran Smailovic, played in one of the city's squares for 22 days to commemorate 22 of his neighbours who were killed while standing in a bread queue. The Canadian author has succeeded brilliantly at integrating this event and the horrors the city's inhabitants endured during the months of bombing, with a fictional tale of a boy forever changed by the experience of hearing the cellist.
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Children's Books
Children's Books
by Jeffrey Canton
Bernard Ashley's Little Soldier explores how race hatred infiltrates into the very deepest recesses of a child's soul, fuelling the ethnic conflicts that, in this case, burns between the Kibu and Yusulu tribes in a fictionalized African country that is in part modeled on Zaire.
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A Stone in My Hand
by Cathryn Clinton

Candlewick Press
208 pages $21.99 cloth
ISBN: 0763613886
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Jeffrey Canton
Eleven-year-old Malaak Abed Atieh's world is collapsing around him. It's 1988, and we're in Gaza City. This is occupied territory. Malaak doesn't understand what's happened to her father who went one morning to Israel to look for work as a mechanic and never returned. We later learn that the bus he was travelling on was bombed by the shabab, the youth fighters in the intifada.
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Keesha's House
by Helen Frost

Candlewick Press
116 pages $26.95 cloth
ISBN: 0374340641
Jinx
by Margaret Wild

Walker and Company
215 pages $27.95 cloth
ISBN: 0802788300
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Jeffrey Canton
Looking for something a little different? Why not try a young adult novel in verse. Since Karen Hesse's 1997 Newbery Award-winner Out of the Dust, we've seen the growth of a considerable body of blank verse novels that explore some very important aspects of teen life including racism, suicide, homosexuality, single motherhood, literacy, eating disorders, school shootings and first love. These verse novels have an accessibility that makes them attractive to teen readers.
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A Brave Soldier
by Nicolas Debon

Groundwood Books
32 pages $15.95 cloth
ISBN: 0888994818
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Deborah Wandal
It's ironic that the War in Iraq comes in the third year of the United Nation's Decade to Promote the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the World's Children. While the regime of Saddam Hussein may now have toppled, the conflict hasn't yet drawn to a close. Afghanistan is still reeling from the fall of the Taliban and the attacks that followed September 11th in the War Against Terrorism.
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Camel Bells
by Janne Carlsson

Groundwood Books $8.95 paperback
ISBN: 0888995164
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Jeffrey Canton
First published in 1987, Camel Bells looks at pre-Taliban Afghanistan through the eyes of 12-year-old Hajdar. It is a novel that moves back and forth in time, chronicling the Marxist coup of 1979 and the ensuing Soviet invasion¨the beginning of the nearly ten-year struggle between Russia and the mujahadeen freedom fighters that ended with the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1988/1989 and that lead, ultimately, to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban in 1996.
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The Colour of Home
by Mary Hoffman. Illustrated by Karin Littlewood

Frances Lincoln $27.95 cloth
ISBN: 0711219915
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Jeffrey Canton
A new refugee from war torn Somalia, Hassan finds his new English home dull and grey and colourless. He has no friends and doesn't understand English. Shown some paints, he begins to paint a picture of his home, starting initially with bright and vibrant colours that remind him of the life he left behind. But after painting his picture, he adds red and orange flames, darkens the vivid blue sky to a murky purple and smudges out figures
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The Road to Chlifa
by Michele Marineau, Susan Ouriou,

144 pages $9.95 TP
ISBN: 0889951292
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Deborah Wandal
Dedicated to the children of war, the story follows a Lebanese teenager, Karim, as he escapes war-torn Beirut, travels a dangerous route over the mountains to Chlifa, and then on to Montreal and a new life. But this journey and time-line is completely fractured within the novel, because Karim himself is unable to move on with his life
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