Book Reviews in July 2001 Issue

Note from Editor
Note from the Editor
by Olga Stein
Dear Reader, We are very pleased to bring you this relaunch edition of Books in Canada. Canada is a rich, complex, open and diversified society and the literature that we produce reflects this wealth. Our task at Books in Canada is to provide our readers with an overview of this literature and to bring our finest writers, critics, and essayists to bear on the fifty or so books that we select for review each month.

Inside the Volcano: My Life with Malcolm Lowry
by Jan Gabrial

St. Martin's Press
204 pages $38.99 cloth
ISBN: 0312232772
Book Review
Vanity Keeps Breaking In
by Cynthia Sugars
IfMalcolm Lowry's first love was alcohol, his second love was surely the allure of uncanny coincidence. On his initial meeting with the woman who was to become his first wife¨and the model for Yvonne in his 1947 masterpiece Under the Volcano¨Lowry was convinced he stood face to face with destiny.
Book Review
2000 Yields a Fine Crop. The Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award Shortlist
by W.P. Kinsella
The overall quality of the first novels I read was very good. I was happy to discover that I had never heard of any of the novels or novelists. It is troubling when a friend's work turns up for judging, or I encounter a book I have reviewed or for which I have done a jacket blurb. What did I look for as I read? First, a book that holds my interest. Fiction, no matter how profound or symbolic must entertain.
Manufacturing Victims: What the Psychology Industry is Doing to People
by Dr. Tana Dineen

Robert Davies Publishing
320 pages $18.99 softcover
ISBN: 1552070328
Book Review
Creating a Mass Market for Psychology
by Robert Sibley
"To be cured against one's own will of a state we do not regard as a disease is to be put on the level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason, or those who never will, and to be classed with infants, imbeciles and domestic animals." (C.S. Lewis.) When a tragedy occurs at some school, office or worksite, policemen, firefighters and paramedics will rush to the scene to provide much needed services and save lives if necessary.
In the Name of the Father,an Essay on Quebec Nationalism Translated by Don Winkler
by Daniel Poliquin

Douglas and McIntyre
222 pages $22.95 paper
ISBN: 1550548581
Book Review
Quebec's Heart of Darkness
by Julian Samuel
It is with unpretentious erudition and unbridled courage that Franco-Ontarian Daniel Poliquin looks at this object called Quebec "nationalism" ű and picks it apart. For a fuller understanding of Poliquin's courage this "nationalism" ought be contextualized. Radio-Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the editors-in-chief of our provincial media, ex cathedra, reject in-depth criticism of Quebec "nationalism".
House on Fire
by Charles Foran

311 pages $32 paper
ISBN: 0002245515
Book Review
Shifting Realities in Gyatso
by Lisa Salem-Wiseman
In House on Fire, the stunning new novel by Charles Foran, realities are fluid and never certain. For reasons unknown, Domenic Wilson, a Canadian businessman living in Hong Kong, is being detained in the capital city of the occupied nation of Gyatso, a land where morality is relative, and where human rights abuses and political killings are commonplace.
The Uncharted Heart
by Melissa Hardy

Alfred A. Knopf Canada
218 pages $29.95 cloth
ISBN: 0676973434
Simple Recipes
by Madeleine Thien

McClelland & Stewart
227 pages paper
ISBN: 0771085117
Book Review
Secrets and Survival
by Gloria Hildebrandt
The Uncharted Heart and Simple Recipes are books of seven or eight short stories, written by women, about Canadian-born and immigrant characters struggling with secrets and survival. Here the similarities end. The nature of their secrets and survival are different, and except for these broad themes, the books are almost polar opposites. The Uncharted Heart is set in the rural past, while Simple Recipes presents a view of contemporary urban society.
Homelessness The Making and Unmaking of a Crisis
by Jack Layton

Penguin/McGuill Institute
246 pages $19.99 paper
ISBN: 0140288880
Sweet Charity? Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement
by Janet Poppendieck

354 pages $13.95 paper
ISBN: 0670880205
The War at Home An Intimate Portrait of Canada's Poor
by Pat Capponi

255 pages $32 cloth
ISBN: 0670882445
Pay the Rent or Feed the Kids: The Tragedy and Disgrace of Poverty in Canada
by Mel Hurtig

357 pages $34.99 cloth
ISBN: 0771042132
On Assistance to the Poor translated with a commentary by Alice Tobriner
by Juan Luis Vives

University of Toronto Press
62 pages $12.95 paper
ISBN: 0802082890
Book Review
Picture yourself poor
by Andrew Gray
For a long time there was a piece of graffiti on the wall of a 7-11 store in Toronto's Kensington Market that read CHARITY IS NOT JUSTICE. In very different ways, these five books about poverty help to illustrate why this anonymous slogan's is accurate. Anyone who follows the news has experienced some fatigue when it comes to the the subject of poverty¨an inability to register more images of long lines at food banks or further reports of bed shortages at homeless shelters.
Dirty Havana Trilogy Translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer
by Pedro Juan Gutierrez

Farrar, Straus & Giroux
392 pages $39.95 cloth
ISBN: 0374140162
Book Review
Humidity, Sex and Decay
by Stan Persky
Cuban writer Pedro Juan Gutierrez walks down some pretty mean streets in his Dirty Havana Trilogy. Billed somewhat awkwardly as "a novel in stories," Dirty Havana is actually a three-part collection of some 60 picaresque tales about the unrelenting grimness of life in crumbling Havana during the permanent "crisis" of the post-Soviet mid-1990s.
Sister Crazy
by Emma Richler

Knopf Canada
215 pages $29.95 paper
ISBN: 067697385X
Book Review
All In The Family. Another Richler Success
by T. F. Rigelhof
Sister Crazy is Emma Richler's first book and she begins where most good (and she is very good) fiction writers do, close to home, digging deep into the lived experience of childhood. This is riskier business for her than for most writers because some of her territory overlaps with that of the most trenchant and seriously comic novelist this country has yet produced, Mordecai Richler, her father.
Kim Echlin
by Dagmar's Daughter

211 pages $29.95 cloth
ISBN: 0670891029
Book Review
Myth and Music of Millstone Nether
by Clara Thomas
Kim Echlin's first novel, Elephant Winter, introduced us to a uniquely different creative imagination at work in the fiction field. Now, in her second novel, she has continued to surprise us¨and enchant us. For Dagmar's Daughter is an enchanted tale, and must be approached as such. To truly savour the novel, we need to give our trust to its teller and allow ourselves to be led where she leads us, in the open-hearted spirit of children who are eager to be led into a fairy world.
The Jasmine Man
by Lola Lemire Tostevin

Key Porter Books
293 pages $21.9 trade paperback
ISBN: 1552633217
Book Review
Love with a Tunisian Stranger
by Julie Chibbaro
Lola Lemire Tostevin's second novel, The Jasmine Man, is told in authorial fits and starts. Tostevin's main character, Amelia Legate GTrard, married to an associate professor/psychoanalyst, lives a life troubled by insecurity and lack of direction. She wants to study art history, but can't get herself to do anything about it. She wants to go to Paris with her husband, Gilles, but is unmotivated once she is there. She loves her husband, but she wants to have an affair with a stranger.
Think of the Earth
by Bertram Brooker

Brown Bear Press
300 pages $24.95 paper
ISBN: 1894184009
Book Review
Rediscovering Bertram Brooker
by Sherrill Grace
The occasion of this review is the 2000 republication of a 1936 novel. But Think of the Earth is not just any novel from that year, and Glenn Willmott's decision to prepare this new edition of the text, with introduction and notes, is not a casual one. Bertram Brooker's novel won the first Governor General's Award for Fiction in 1936¨and the cover of this new edition carries the familiar label used by contemporary publishers to announce this distinction.
The Dying Animal
by Philip Roth

Thomas Allen in Canada
156 pages $31.95 cloth
ISBN: 0618135871
Book Review
Roth's Hero, Kepesh, Still a Breast Man
by Joel Yanofsky
Other people. Somebody should have told me about them long ago. Philip Roth I can't remember where I read this remark, probably in one of Philip Roth's more self indulgent novels from the 1980s or early 1990s, probably one of the Nathan Zuckerman books, an early one like The Anatomy Lesson or The Counterlife. I can guess, however, what prompted the remark.
To Belive in Women: What Lesbians Have Done For America¨A History
by Lillian Faderman

Houghton Mifflin Company
434 pages $30 cloth
ISBN: 039585010X
Book Review
Women's Movement reinvisioned by Faderman
by Julia Creet
Lillian Faderman fires an opening salvo to "Academic postmodernists" in her book about the debt all emancipated American women owe to the lesbian pioneers of the nineteenth and early twentieth century: "To Believe in Women will perhaps be seen as being in opposition to postmodernism which does not recognize the possibility of reclaimed women of the past as lesbians.
The Mystery of Capital
by Hernando de Soto

Basic Books
276 pages $41.5 cloth
ISBN: 0465016146
Book Review
Formal Title is Key to Global Economic Wealth
by Avner Mandelman
Every now and then a book appears which presents an idea so novel, so simple, so compelling, that the reader is surprised the idea has not been presented before, nor tried by a politician somewhere, whose job it is to think of such things. Yet De Soto's book does precisely this. It presents a coherent plan to lift most of the developing and post-communist world out of their poverty, without outside capital.
Lives of Mothers and Daughters: Growing Up with Alice Munro
by Sheila Munro

McClelland & Stewart
272 pages $34.99 paper
ISBN: 0771066694
Book Review
A Mother-Daughter Duo
by Maureen Garvie
In 1997 my mother asked me if I wanted to write her biography," Sheila Munro recalls of the genesis of Lives of Mothers and Daughters: Growing Up with Alice Munro.
Desire in Seven Voices
by Edited by Lorna Crozier

Douglas & McIntyre
172 pages $16.95 paper
ISBN: 1550547380
Book Review
Seduced by the Book
by Mary di Michele
Inthe introduction to this collection of essays by women writers on the subject of desire, the editor, Lorna Crozier, outlines the questions the writers were all asked to consider: "When do you trust your desire? When do you censor it? When is it a source of power, and when a source of distress?" Seven writers, seven voices, a range of experience in the female¨can the reader find herself anywhere in this book? The collection opens with Susan Musgrave's essay, "Junkie Libido".
La Prisonniere, Twenty Years in a Desert Gaol Translated by Ros Schwartz
by Malika Oufkir, Michelle Fitoussi

293 pages $22.95 paper
ISBN: 0385601638
Book Review
Twenty Years in the Desert Lost
by Kildare Dobbs
Onmy first visit to Morocco in the early 1960s I had to stop my car at the approaches to Marrakesh for a crowd of wild, romantic cavalry, turbaned figures in white on superb Barbary horses, accoutred with scimitars, silver daggers and ornate muskets. They were streaming away from an assembly with the King, Hassan II, who was on a progress, dispensing justice from the stirrup. Hassan was a shariff, descended from the Prophet, hedged about not only with military but with spiritual authority.
Martin Sloane
by Michael Redhill

Doubleday Canada
280 pages $29.95 paper
ISBN: 0385259220
Book Review
Tiny worlds inside boxes: The Art of Martin Sloane
by Nancy Wigston
Poet and playwright Michael Redhill's first novel seems destined to become a small classic, one of those books handed from friend to friend.
Time Lord: Sir Sanford Fleming and the Creation of Standard Time
by Clark Blaise

Pantheon Books
256 pages $34.95 cloth
ISBN: 0676972527
Book Review
Setting Standards for Time: Science or Imperialism?
by Kildare Dobbs
Several popular studies in the history of ideas and technology have appeared recently, notably Dava Sobel's Longitude and E=mc2, a brilliant account of Einstein's famous equation and its consequences by David Bodanis. Now comes a freewheeling portrait of the Canadian engineer, Sandford Fleming, and his work in establishing the modern system of standardized times and time zones.
Paris to the Moon
by Adam Gopnik

Random House
338 pages $37.95 cloth
ISBN: 0679444920
Book Review
Observing the Observers in Paris
by Phyllis Grosskurth
Many books have been written by North Americans who have fled to Paris in search of romance, but none, I venture, more enchanting than Adam Gopnik's Paris to the Moon. I read most of the sections originally in the New Yorker, but to have them now combined into a cohesive five-year saga of the life of a transplanted little family is sheer bliss. What makes one book more appealing than another? In this case it is undoubtedly the open, good-natured, unassuming personality of the writer himself
The Philosophical Programmer: Reflections On The Moth In The Machine
by Daniel Kohanski

St. Martin's Press
256 pages $22.95 cloth
ISBN: 0312186509
Book Review
Elegant Solutions Improve Programming
by Rory A.A. Hinton
Books In Canada seems an unlikely place to review a book on computer programming. But The Philosophical Programmer is no ordinary programming book. You will not learn how to write code by reading it. You will, however, learn about some of the ethical consequences of the art and science of writing code and why these consequences matter. I use these terms deliberately. The science of writing code is clear enough, especially to programmers.
Our Lady of the Lost and Found
by Diane Schoemperlen

Harper Collins Canada
349 pages $32 cloth
ISBN: 0002255103
Book Review
Holy Mother Arrives
by Nikki Abraham
Diane Schoemperlen has written an uncategorizable book, which makes it difficult to review because all the usual comparisons are unavailable. Of course if you like, as I do, to have a writer take you by the hand and lead you down paths you did not know were there, then this may be your kind of book. The story takes place in the present, in a nondescript mid-sized North American city.
Andrew Pyper Discusses Lost Girls, The North, Its Ghosts, and The Law. Nancy Wigston speaks with Andrew Pyper
by Nancy Wigston
Andrew Pyper is a thirty-three year old native of Stratford, Ontario, who currently lives in Toronto. He holds a BA and MA in English Literature from McGill and a Law degree from the University of Toronto. Although he has been called to the bar, he has never practised law. Kiss Me, his first collection of short stories, was published in 1996 by Porcupine's Quill to warm reviews. His first novel, Lost Girls, was published by HarperCollins in June 2000.
River in a Dry Land: A Prairie Passage
by Trevor Herriot

Stoddart Publishing
356 pages $34.95 cloth
ISBN: 0773732713
River of Praise for Trevor Herriot
by Heather Hodgson
Trevor Herriot's River in a Dry Land is nothing short of a poetic masterpiece. Every reviewer of the book thus far has been hard-pressed to find anything wanting in it and collectively we are running out of superlatives to praise it. It is meticulously researched, and "beautifully written and overflowing with humanity" said David Carpenter in one of the first reviews (Globe and Mail). It's the kind of book that can change your life and change the way you think
George Fetherling
Whenever Grandmother meant to suggest that someone was not very bright, she would say of that person, "The poor dear is only nine pence to the shilling." There were, you see, 12 pennies in a shilling, which was one-twentieth of a pound. One day when I was little she taught me her fool-proof method of measuring the amount of dry spaghetti suitable for a two-person meal. You take the pasta and make a circle of it until the circumference is "bigger than a shilling and smaller than a florin
Casablanca: ThePoem
Ekstasis Editions
84 pages $12.95 paper
ISBN: 1896860583
Bogie and the Blackbird: The Airborne poetry of Kildare Dobbs and Seamus Heaney
by Richard Greene
Seamus Heaney's presence in the pages of Garm Lu is obviously a coup for its editors, who open their brief editorial with the word "Excitement!" This journal, published out of St. Michael's College, at the University of Toronto, has performed a considerable service in the last few years by featuring, in addition to essays and short stories, works by Canadian poets who write in an Irish or Celtic tradition¨Beryl Baigent, Carleton Wilson, Lucy Brennan, and Colin O'Cairbre to name a few.
The Trouble with Annie. David Solway Unmakes Anne Carson
by David Solway
It is time the stone made an effort to flower, time unrest had a beating heart. Paul Celan, "Corona" I have long suspected that the genus of drab writing which the great majority of our acclaimed poets generate so effortlessly these days is the reflex not only of the ambition to write abundantly whatever the consequences but, generally speaking, of the desire to acquire status in an official community of impresarios, critical strategists and bravura players
The Oxford Book of Stories by Canadian Women in English
by Rosemary Sullivan

Oxford University Press
608 pages $29.95 paper
ISBN: 0195414551
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by Linda M.Morra
Fiction Antholgies Rosemary Sullivan's The Oxford Book of Stories by Canadian Women in English (Oxford University Press, 608 pages, $29.95 paper, ISBN: 0195414551) differs markedly from her previous two anthologies: Stories by Canadian Women (1984) and More Stories by Canadian Women (1987).
Devils Music: In the Eye of the Hurricane
by Pete Davies

Michael Joseph, London
292 pages $15 Hardcover
ISBN: 0718144198
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by Michael Morassutti
Natural Science If the whole array of extreme atmospheric events is considered - tornadoes, lightning and thunder, heat waves, blizzards, hail storms, and so forth -the king of the beasts is certainly the hurricane. There is something frighteningly mesmerizing about these monsters. A satellite view from the silence of space shows them to be seemingly benign and billowy swirls of cotton candy. What one sees happening on the EarthÚs surface is a different matter altogether.
by Don Dickinson

325 pages $32 cloth
ISBN: 000225509X
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by Gerry Smith
Fiction The narrator of Don Dickinson's second novel, Robbiestime (HarperFlamingo, 325 pages, $32 cloth, ISBN: 000225509X), is Robbie Hendershot, an eleven-year-old living in Saskatchewan circa 1958, ˘afterthewar÷, and on the verge of revelation. His father had been a Lancaster tail-gunner, his mother a homesick British war bride. Robbie's big mystery is why his parents fight.
Stravinsky: A Creative Spring: Russia and France, 1882-1934
by Stephen Walsh

720 pages $53.5 cloth
ISBN: 0679414843
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by Gordon Phinn
Biography When Denys Finch-Hatton, the aristocrat and adventurer made famous by the film Out Of Africa, returned to England in the summer of 1911, fresh from purchasing his first farm in British East Africa, it was not only to fulfill his parents' request to attend the coronation of King George V and sundry society parties, but also to indulge his passion for the arts. Harley Granville Barker's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream was just the beginning
Mystical Rose
by Richard Scrimger

Doubleday Canada
234 pages $29.95 cloth
ISBN: 0385259549
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by Richard Greene
Fiction When you speak of a novel as haunting and original, it is not often that you can also say that it is spare, disciplined, and well-crafted. Richard Scrimger's second novel, Mystical Rose (Doubleday Canada, 234 pages, $29.95 cloth, ISBN: 038525949) combines all these qualities. A prolific author, Scrimger has won awards for his children's writing, as well as considerable praise for his first novel Crosstown which portrays the tragedy of a physician whose life tumbles into dereliction.
That Summer
by David French

128 pages $15.95 paper
ISBN: 0889224390
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by Janet French
Drama A poignant flashback in time, David French's play That Summer (Talon, 128 pages, $15.95 paper, ISBN: 0-88922-439-0) is a detailed recollection of nearing the end of youth through a chilling sequence of events. That Summer finds Margaret Ryan returning after forty years to a cottage on Ontario's Wolf Lake, where her family vacationed in her youth.
American Stories
by Nagai Kafu

Columbia University Press
239 pages $24.5 cloth
ISBN: 0231117906
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by W.P.Kinsella
Fiction The twenty-three stories in Nagai Kafu's elegant collection, American Stories (trans. Mitsuko Iriye, Columbia University Press, 239 pages, US $24.50 cloth, ISBN: 0231117906), were written in the early 1900s after the author spent five years in America, in places ranging from Tacoma, WA to Kalamazoo, MI.
Press 1 & Pray: And Other Letters from Voice Jail
by Josh Freed

VThicule Press
157 pages $16 tpb
ISBN: 1550651439
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by John Sinopoli
Humor Inhis last book, Fear of Frying and Other Fax of Life, Josh Freed dealt with second hand steak fumes, fat cats and beuracrats, and chronicled his battle with a ferocious flock of pigeons led by Attila the hen. With his latest work, Press 1 and Pray: And Other Lessons from Voice Jail (VThicule Press,157 pages, $16
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by Gerry Smith
Memoir Years ago, while riding my bike along College Street, I spotted Matt Cohen standing on the corner with a stroller. He bolted across the intersection and raced up Robert Street. I was amazed. There was the enigmatic, distant Author with whom I'd studied Creative Writing at York University¨cutting loose. I peddled on up to him and called, "Hey, Matt." Cohen halted, instantly becoming Professor Cohen, and turned, indignant, it seemed, that I had caught him in a candid moment.
Whisperings of Magic
by Karleen Bradford

184 pages $14 trade paperback
ISBN: 0006485758
by William Bell

Doubleday Canada
218 pages $16.95 trade paperback
ISBN: 038565829X
The War Within
by Carol Matas

Scholastic Canada
152 pages $18.99 cloth
ISBN: 0439988101
The Gramma War
by Kristen Butcher

Orca Book Publishers
170 pages $8.95 trade paperback
ISBN: 1551431831
In the Clear
by Anne Laurel Carter

Orca Book Publishers
138 pages $8.95 trade paperback
ISBN: 1551431920
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Jeffrey Canton
2001 looks to be yet another exciting year for children's books in Canada with exciting new offerings by William Bell, Karleen Bradford and Carol Matas among the new spring fiction releases as well as new picture books by Ludmila Zeman, Veronika Martenova Charles and Mireille Levert.
Sindbad In the Land of Giants:From the Tales of the Thousand and One Nights
by retold and illustrated by Ludmila Zeman

Tundra Books
32 pages $19.99 paper
ISBN: 0887764614
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Jeffrey Canton
Accomplished artist and storyteller Ludmila Zeman continues her retelling of Sindbad the Sailor and his wondrous voyages in this second book in her Sindband trilogy taken from the Tales of the Thousand and One Nights. Sindbad in the Land of Giants begins in the comfort of Sindbad's sumptuous home in ancient Baghdad, among riches and delights.
Maiden of the Mist: a Legend of Niagara Falls
by Veronika Martenova Charles

Stoddart Kids $17.95 paper
ISBN: 0773732977
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Jeffrey Canton
Veronika Charles has a affinity with folk tales. Stories originating from many different parts of the world seem to have attracted her attract her throughout her career. She has drawn on tales from Japan (The Crane Girl), South America (Necklace of Stars) and the Czech Republic (Stretch, Swallow & Stare-Czech) and this time she has turned her attention to a Seneca legend explaining the formation of the Horseshoe Falls on the Niagara River.
Benny Bensky and the Perogy Palace Illustrated by Linda Hendry
by Mary Borsky

Tundra Books
128 pages $8.99 trade paperback
ISBN: 0887765238
The Thumb in the Box Illustrated by Leanne Franson
by Ken Roberts

Groundwood Books
96 pages $7.95 trade paperback
ISBN: 0888994222
Everything on a Waffle
by Polly Horvath

Groundwood Books
184 pages $8.95 trade paperback
ISBN: 0888994427
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Jeffrey Canton
It's difficult to write about comic fiction partly because it's hard to encapsulate in just a sentence ort two the great comic twists and turns that an accomplished humourist weaves to make his readers smile, grin, chuckle and burst out with the rich ring of delighted and gleeful laughter. And you don't want to give away the best jokes either. But there is plenty of great humorous fiction being written and this spring, three notable offerings by Mary Borsky, Ken Roberts and Polly Horvath.
The Secret Under My Skin
by Janet McNaughton

HarperCollins Canada
238 pages $14.95 paper
ISBN: 0006485227
Raspberry House Blues
by Linda Holeman

Tundra Books
238 pages $8.99 paper
ISBN: 0887764932
The Breadwinner
by Deborah Ellis

170 pages $7.95 paper
ISBN: 0888994168
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Jeffrey Canton
Deborah Ellis' The Breadwinner, Linda Holeman's Raspberry House Blues, and Janet McNaughton's The Secret under My Skin were the top three favourites of the 25 students participating in this year's Red Maple Book Awards in the downtown Toronto school where I teach. Students regularly visited the school library to share their opinions and in my grade 8 English classes they wrote enthusiastically and at length about the books in their reading response journals.

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