Note from EditorEditor's Note
by Olga Stein
Mistry, Shields and Martel are three of this year's six nominees for the Man Booker Prize. Remarkable! All three authors had appeared on Books in Canada First Novel Award shortlists: Shields in 1976 for Small Ceremonies, Martel in 1996 for Self, and Mistry's Such a Long Journey was the winner in 1992. The First Novel Award has in no small way contributed to what is described in the Globe & Mail as the "stunning apotheosis of Canadian writing that has occurred in the past two decades.
Book ReviewVivid History and a Fine Testament
by David Berry
Not long ago, a Victoria acquaintance of mine who has never travelled across the Rockies was telling me how much he was looking forward to his first visit to Ontario. There's so much more history there, he said. Not so, I instantly replied, having lived half a life in both placesűűnot at all.
| Collected Stories |
by Saul Bellow, Janis Freedman Bellow
442 pages $44 cloth
Book ReviewGreatness and Longevity
by Joel Yanofsky
My favourite story in Saul Bellow's latest volume of Collected Stories is "Him With His Foot in His Mouth". Its title, alone, is delectable¨an appetizer, a taste of Bellow's career-long talent for playing both ends against the middle. In this particular case, for being a Jewish writer and not seeming like one. Or maybe that should be the other way around. (Which is another Bellow talent: to encompass contradictions rather than defy them.
Book ReviewThe Matt Cohen Companion
by Michael Greenstein
The U.S. has its two Roths¨Philip and Henry, the former overshadowing the latter; Canada has its two Cohens¨Leonard and Matt, the former overshadowing the latter. This, in spite of Leonard's two novels compared to Matt's more than twenty books of fiction. In his posthumously published memoir, Typing: A Life in 26 Keys, Matt Cohen complained about this neglect and the difficulties of being a Jewish writer in Canada.
Book ReviewA Modest History
by Paul Keen
The Victorians can be a difficult group to make sense of, not least because they were themselves so thoroughly addicted to endless self-diagnosis. "Never since the beginning of Time," wrote Thomas Carlyle, one of their leading self-scrutinizers, was there "so intensely self-conscious a Society. Our whole relations to the universe and to our fellow-man have become an Inquiry, a Doubt; nothing will go on of its own accord . . . but all things must be probed into.
Book ReviewHomeostatic Kipple: Meditations on Philip K. Dick
by Patrick R. Burger
Two young women on the street were discussing this summer's Spielberg/Cruise SF blockbuster based on Philip K. Dick's 1956 short story of the same title.
"Minority Report was good until the last five minutes¨it looked like they could have ended it three times, but they didn't know which ending to choose."
"I hate it when they do that."
This scrap of cultural debris, of kipple, is more significant than it first appears, a happenstance reminiscent of Dick's stories.
Book ReviewCelebrating Stratford's Fiftieth
by Keith Garebian
Several years ago at a book launch, I was in conversation with an academic eminence gris, a cultural nationalist who was truly more gris than eminence, despite all the praise he had garnered over the years in the course of pontificating about Canadian theatre. As our conversation proceeded on a short number of subjects, one being classical theatre, he stunned me by declaring that the Stratford Festival was the worst thing to have happened to Canadian theatre.
Book ReviewThe Biological Imperative of Storytelling
by Shaun Smith
In 1998 Columbia University published a lecture given by the Pulitzer winning playwright David Mamet. Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama is a tiny, brilliant book. In just 80 pages, Mamet sets us straight on the human impulse to dramatize. We all do it, we cannot not do it, it is one of the tools we use to survive.
Book ReviewThe Queen is Dead, Long Live the Queen!
by Lila Kari
If one were to sum up the twelve-hundred-page opus magnum of Stephen Wolfram A New Kind of Science in one sentence, that sentence could be: "Computation is the Queen of Sciences."
This being in obvious contradiction with the view held by many since Plato, that mathematics is the queen of sciences and of the universe itself, it warrants some elaboration.
Book ReviewWhat the World is Coming to Perspectives on Impending Environmental Crises
by David Colterjohn
Whether by happy coincidence or through the medium of editorial precognition, the three books reviewed here fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that can be assembled in several different ways. It's not that the authors agree with each other (they don't), but that the differences between them open up a sort of Zen space in which certain lines of thought can flourish. We might as well start by examining each book in turn, according to the order in which they were published.
Book ReviewSkilled Writers let the Planet state its Case
by Erling Friis-Baastad
Being a copy editor for a community newspaper has led me to the jaundiced conclusion that one of the greatest dangers facing the natural world are those who write angry letters and columns defending it.
Book ReviewVindicating Midas
by Chris Jennings
The Phrygian king Midas is probably best known as an avatar of avarice. Granted a wish by Dionysus, he asked "ŠLet whatever I touch become gold,'" not thinking that "whatever" would include food, water, wine and that "ŠNothing can live...in a world of gold.'" It likely marks a shift in cultural attitudes toward avarice that we describe successive success as a Midas touch, but perhaps all Midas really needed was a good editor¨Šyes, turn that to gold; no, this is better plain, real.
Book ReviewPoems as Instruments of Transference
by Pino Coluccio
When asked in an interview with Ian Hamilton for London Magazine in 1964 how he would characterize his development as a poet Philip Larkin answered, "I don't think I want to change; just to become better at what I am." Similarly, in a 1972 radiobroadcast celebrating his fiftieth birthday he said, "There's a great pressure on writers to Šdevelop' these days. I think the idea began with Yeats and personally I'm skeptical of it.
|Prague: a Novel |
by Arthur Phillips
367 pages $37.95 cloth
Book ReviewThe Future of the Past
by Irena Murray
In his book of essays, Art of the Novel, Milan Kundera fervently advanced the thesis that there are certain things "only the novel can do." By that he meant mostly that the novel can validate several different and even contradictory truths by the simple virtue of creating characters compelling enough to embody them in a story. Arthur Phillips's first novel, Prague, aspires to this status without, however, quite getting there
by Lisa Moore
218 pages $24.95 cloth
Book ReviewSkittish Dance of Relationships¨its Tangled Ambivalence
by Kjeld Haraldsen
The messy sprawl of life, its contingencies, concessions; the chanciness, the often offhand, flippant gamble of our biggest life decisions, their repercussions, ramifications; the white, obliterating heat of desire; the intricacies of grief: these passages, these inevitabilities provide the bedrock for the stories in Newfoundland writer Lisa Moore's outstanding new collection, Open.
Moore zaps us with bracing metaphors, stabs of jabbing, tart wit. Funny, brainy.
Book ReviewThe Shtetl in America
by B. Glen Rotchin
Hasidic cool? Shtetl chic? Whatever you may call it there is a renaissance under way in American Jewish fiction. A spate of writing from new authors in recent years indicates a trend toward redefining the Jewish voice.
Book ReviewRenovating the Catholic Church
by Gregory Baum
Some Catholics are angry with their Church, provoked by its many contradictions. They express their complaints in books or articles in a tone of accusation, seemingly addressing the Church from a position outside of it. The more substantial literature critical of the Catholic Church, however, is produced by Catholics strongly identified with the Catholic tradition, who love their Church and think of themselves as located at its theological centre.
| How Linda Died |
by Frank Davey
288 pages $17.95 cloth
Book ReviewThe Passing of Linda
by Clara Thomas
HOW LINDA DIED is unique. A story of approaching death, it is a triumphant testimonial to life and love. The downward curve which would seem to be inevitable swings upward and the end brings affirmation, not despair. If you do not shrink from the title, I challenge you to open the book and read a few pages.
Book ReviewStanding on Holy Ground, Wearing Shoes
by Steven Laird
The East Coast means different things for those who live there and those who only visit¨for the tourist it's the sea, for the residents, their way of life. It is a region where "industry" implies not only husbanding re-sources on both land and sea, but also an attitude, an approach to the habit of living and the business of surviving the privations of climate and the persistence of memory.
InterviewsPlenty of Light and Shadow within which to Seduce the Reader: Interview with Lisa Moore
by Eva Tihanyi
Lisa Moore was born in 1964 in St. John's, Newfoundland, where she lives with her husband, stepdaughter (19), daughter (12), and son (3). She is the author of two story collections, Degrees of Nakedness (The Mercury Press, 1995) and Open (House of Anansi, 2002). She sums up her various other careers thus: "I've worked teaching, writing art criticism, a teensy bit of TV and some radio
Prose/PoetryThe Farmer-Fisher Bard: A Look at Charles Bruce
by Carmine Starnino
Fifty-two years ago, the Governor-General's Award for Poetry was given to a collection that took as its subject a twenty-mile stretch of Nova Scotia called Chedabucto Bay
| 13 |
by Mary-Lou Zeitoun
142 pages $14.95
| Donovan's Station |
by Robin McGrath
193 pages $16.95
| The Beautiful Dead End |
by Clint Hutzulak
202 pages $14.95
First NovelsFirst Novels
by W.P Kinsella
What a pleasure it is to read a novel that is highly original, clearly written and full of memorable situations and observations. The Beautiful Dead End, by Clint Hutzulak, Anvil Press, $14.95, 202 pages, ISBN: 1895636396), in its first pages appears to be just another novel about lowlifes.
| Blur |
by Michelle Berry
Random House Canada
288 pages $9.88 cloth
Brief ReviewsBrief Reviews
by Janet French
The private lives of Hollywood movie stars are a source of endless mystique for a curious and gossip-hungry public. Superstar and artificially cultivated beauty Emma Fine is no exception, especially when her married lover Ted is discovered bobbing face-down in her pool.
Michelle Berry's Blur (Random House Canada, cloth, ISBN: 0679311416) is a fictional exploration of a public's morbid fascination with the lives of the notorious.
| Love and Other Ruins |
by Karen X. Tulchinsky
317 pages $21.95 cloth
Brief ReviewsBrief Reviews
by Nikki Abraham
Comedy is tougher to write than any other kind of fiction. While every art form relies on some initial moment of recognition and sympathy on the part of the audience, successful comedy depends also on mood, i.e., someone's state of readiness to laugh. Worse, this is not a condition that can be willed into existence. On the contrary, the more willpower is invoked, the less amusement there will ultimately be.
Brief ReviewsBrief Reviews
by Sarah Rosenfeld
With 79 sources in the bibliography, its obvious Josey Vogels did her homework for her fourth book The Secret Language of Girls (Thomas Allen Publishers, 276 pages, $21.95, paper, ISBN: 0887621023). This entertaining, often hilarious read for twenty- and thirty-something females is like reading the official manual for the Secret Society of Girl Talk.
by Alexander Craig
"I was thirty-seven before I used the most difficult word in journalism¨I." So said one of the deans of British journalism, Katherine Whitehorn.
Anthony Westell, one of Canada's most experienced journalists, seems to have decided to wait twice as long. He's written previous books, on public policy, but The Inside Story, A Life in Journalism (Dundurn Press, 253 pages $29.99, cloth, ISBN: 1550023756), he declares, is his first, and last, book of reminiscences.
Children's BooksChildren's Books
by Jeffrey Canton
This fall, we're seeing a simply stunning selection of new books for children and young adults here in Canada and abroad and as we head into November and the 26th annual Canadian Children's Book Week, Books in Canada is gearing up to give readers a comprehensive look at new picture books, fiction and non-fiction for readers of all ages
First Novel AwardMartin Sloane takes home the Amazon.ca/ Books in Canada First Novel Award for 2001
by Daniel Richler, T. F. Rigelhof, Annabel Lyon, Eva Tihanyi
Two men and two women comprised the 2001 Amazon.com/Books in Canada First Novel Award judges' panel. They are introduced below.
Daniel Richler is the Editor-in-Chief of BookTelevision: The Channel. His novel, Kicking Tomorrow, was published internationally, turned bestseller in Canada and was named one of the New York Times Book Review's best books of 1992.
Great AuthorsAppreciating Charles Bruce
by Mary Dalton, Brian Bartlett
My first reading of Charles Bruce, in the eighties, awakened aesthetic delight, the pleasure of discovering an accomplished artist, a master of metre and rhythm whose plangent music, quiet and sure-footed, was equal to his vision of the human moving in and with the flow of time. Other responses followed: deep gratitude...and the simmering of something close to rage.
Great AuthorsAmazon.ca/Books in Canada Bestsellers Lists
* Stats based on period from August 9 to September 16
1. Tom Clancy, Red Rabbit (Putnam, Hardcover)
2. Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones (Little, Brow, Hardcover)
3. Maeve Binchy, Quentins (McArthur, Paperback)
4. Wayne Johnston, The Navigator of New York (Knopf Canada, Hardcover)
5. Rohinton Mistry, Family Matters (McClelland & Stewart, Hardcover)
6. Robert Jordan, Crossroads of Twilight (Tor, Hardcover)
7. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet (Raincoast, Paperback)
OutlookNote from Amazon.ca
by Marven Krug, Steve Duda, Tom Nissley
The early buzz about Michael Redhill's debut novel, Martin Sloane, the winner of this year's Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award, was how long Redhill took to write it: a decade's work, a dozen complete drafts. Now, though, all that anyone talks about is how good it is, and how likely it is to endure. As long as Redhill may have taken to complete Martin Sloane ("Long live revision," wrote the Amazon.