Book Reviews in June/July 2002 Issue

Note from Editor
by Olga Stein
Newfoundland poet Mary Dalton, in the interview which appears in this issue, describes how her poetry has been shaped not only by the geography and cultural characteristics of her surroundings, but more importantly, by the unique sounds of Newfoundland's voices, the "riches of speech rhythms and idioms".

Weathers Poems New & Selected
by Douglas Lochhead,Edited by David Creelman

Goose Lane Editions
202 pages $24.95 paper
ISBN: 0864923449
Book Review
Douglas Lochhead, Hidden in the Maritimes
by W. J. Keith
Ask even a dedicated reader of Canadian poetry to name the leading practitioners of the art over the last forty years, and the chances are that the name of Douglas Lochhead will be absent from the list. The main reason for this unfortunate state of affairs probably lies in the fact that he is not represented in the standard anthologies. Similarly, literary critics have, for the most part, passed him by. Yet another factor is, no doubt, the quietness of his poetic voice.
Saints of Big Harbour
by Lynn Coady

416 pages $34.95 cloth
ISBN: 0385258682
Book Review
Travels in Coadyland
by Harold Hoefle
In Lynn Coady's new novel, Saints of Big Harbour, immediately recognizable is her teeming, blaspheming, paining, laugh-geysering world. Her competition, in the attempt to get the place and the characters of Cape Breton right, has only ever been herself; Alistair MacLeod, D.R.
The Princess and the Whiskheads: A Fable
by Russell Smith, Illustrated by Wesley W. Bates

110 pages $19.95 paper
ISBN: 0385658982
Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing
by Margaret Atwood

Cambridge University Press
219 pages $28.99 cloth
ISBN: 0521662605
Book Review
A Dragon and a Princess
by T.F. Rigelhof
Have you ever caught yourself wondering what sort of books Margaret Atwood might have written had she followed in her father's footsteps and studied forest entomology rather than literature when the thematicists held sway? It isn't an idle question. Atwood is enormously talented in diverse ways. She's at least as many-sided and multi-angled as a hexagon but she's never been a plane, two-dimensional writer
At Swim, Two Boys
by Jamie O'Neill

643 pages $29.95 paper
ISBN: 0743207130
Book Review
Irish Love Story
by Stan Persky
Irish writer Jamie O'Neill's At Swim, Two Boys is a book of glorious ambition. It is, at once, a thoroughly entertaining historical love story set in the time of the Irish uprising of 1916, the Great Irish Gay Novel to date, an engagement with much of 20th century Irish writing, a linguistic feast, and a presentation of transgressive sex that some Canadian parliamentarians would probably want banned. The story behind the book also reads like a rags to riches literary fairytale.
Family Matters
by Rohinton Mistry

McClelland and Stewart
487 pages $39.99 cloth
ISBN: 0771061277
Book Review
Bombay's Dark Hour
by by Irene D'Souza
Although, both Mistry and that erudite punmeister Salman Rushdie, ground their fiction in Bombay, Rushdie is more apt to acclaim his birthplace; he sees and savours the rose in the middle of the dungłthe cup may not runneth over with joy and mirth, but the inhabitants experience a joie de vivre, and we are convinced Bombay is as cosmopolitan as any other city. Mistry, by contrast, hones in on the dung: "Corruption is in the air we breathe.
A Pilgrim in Ireland: A Quest for Home
by Frances Greenslade

Penguin Books
253 pages $29.99 cloth
ISBN: 0670911127
Book Review
A Canadian Quests in Ireland
by Anne Cimon
Frances Greenslade has an engaging way in her first book of non-fiction A Pilgrim in Ireland: A Quest for Home. Even when her ideas about religion are far-fetched, and her stated beliefs on the fringe, she can hold the reader with the charming power of her anecdotes. This book originated, Greenslade tells us, from a recent trip she made to Ireland, after a cache of her late mother's papers were given to her, including maps of holy sites her mother had annotated.
Lost Land of Moses The Age of Discovery on New Brunswick's Salmon Rivers
by Peter Thomas

Goose Lane Editions
254 pages $19.95 paper
ISBN: 0864922930
Book Review
Going to Fish in New Brunswick
by Dave Carpenter
We live in a country that boasts some of the most famous salmon and trout rivers in the world. The Skeena, The Bow, God's River, the Restigouche, the Miramichi, the Margaree, the Matapedia. This is the same country which woke up one morning, surprised as can be, to discover that there wasn't any longer a cod fishery on the East Coast. More recently, Canadians were dismayed to discover that the steelhead and salmon runs on the West Coast were also disappearing
The Ph.D. Trap Revisited
by Wilfred Cude

Dundurn Press
333 pages $22.99 cloth
ISBN: 1550023454
Book Review
Re-visiting and Re-visioning the Ph.D.
by W. Lambert Gardiner
Wilfred Cude published The Ph. D. Trap in 1987 and now (at over twice the length) The Ph. D. Trap Revisited in 2001. One major theme of a "revisit" is the changes since the "visit". The verdict here is "no change". This is no surprise. In what other profession would reform be described as moving graveyards and management as herding cats? We study everything but ourselves.
by Dawn Rae Downton

McClelland and Stewart
292 pages $34.99 cloth
ISBN: 0771028342
Book Review
Atlantic Canada Ghost Stories
by Joel Yanofsky
Saul Bellow once said that "a writer works in isolation." But the whole time Dawn Rae Downton was working on Seldom, her courageous, moving memoir of life in an early 20th century Newfoundland outport, she couldn't help feeling she was not alone. Ethel Wellon Wiseman, Downton's grandmother, whose harrowing story Seldom recounts, was always with her. "I was four months old when my grandmother died," Downton said by telephone from her farm on Nova Scotia's North shore.
Eduardo Galeano Through the Looking Glass
by Daniel Fischlin and Martha Nandorfy

Black Rose
436 pages $19.99 paper
ISBN: 155164178X
Book Review
Struggle for Liberation through Literature
by Cherry Clayton
Daniel Fischlin and Martha Nandorfy have produced an inspiring and challenging study of the relationship between human rights and Latin American literature, one that draws attention to the relationship between United States political and economic power and dominant paradigms of literary theory.
Downhill Chance
by Donna Morrissey

Penguin Books
428 pages $24 paper
ISBN: 0143033603
Book Review
Lost Eden in Newfoundland
by Kerry Riley
Donna Morrissey, that fierce and funny new voice of the Maritimes, first rocketed onto the Canadian literary scene with her debut book, Kit's Law, which earned, amongst a host of other honours, the Canadian Booksellers Association Libris award in 2000. The book found a permanent place in the hearts of many Canadians when Mary Walsh delivered a pitch-perfect rendition of it on CBC Radio's "Between the Covers".
The House of Blue Mangoes
by David Davidar

Harper Flamingo Canada
416 pages $24.95 paper
ISBN: 0006392199
Book Review
Among the Mangoes
by Maureen Lennon
"ąit would be well for England, better for India and best of all for the cause of progressive civilization if it be clearly understood that ąwe have not the smallest intention of abandoning our Indian possessions and that it is highly improbable that any such intention will be entertained by our posterity." This sentiment was expressed by George Nathaniel Curzon, British Viceroy of India, 1898-1905, to British Prime Minister Arthur Balfour.
by W.G. Sebald, Translated by Anthea Bell

Knopf Canada
298 pages $32.95 cloth
ISBN: 0676974333
The Emigrants
by W.G. Sebald, Translated by Michael Hulse

New Directions Press
237 pages $19.99 paper
ISBN: 0811213668
The Rings of Saturn
by W.G. Sebald, Translated by Michael Hulse

New Directions Press
296 pages $31.99 cloth
ISBN: 0811213781
by W.G. Sebald, Translated by Michael Hulse

New Directions Press
263 pages $21.99 paper
ISBN: 0811214850
For Years Now
by W.G. Sebald and Tess Jaray

Short Books
75 pages $22.99 paper
ISBN: 1904095097
Book Review
The Weltanschauung of W.G. Sebald
by Eric Miller
The first of W.G. Sebald's apertus in the collection For Years Now (2001) runs as follows: It is said Napoleon was colourblind & could not tell red from green The little book that this observation inaugurates is itself vibrant with the graphic work of Tess Jaray; the cover of the volume has the bold look of an optical test, brightly red with white dots.
Moody Food
by Ray Robertson

Doubleday Canada
344 pages $29.95 cloth
ISBN: 0385259255
Book Review
Rock'n Rolling in Yorkville
by Ian McGillis
Canada has always been sadly lacking in its own rock'n roll mythology. One could theorize all day about the reasons for thisłwe produced mostly folkies, most of our best left the country early, many a potential hero went unrecorded for lack of infrastructure. Nonetheless, the raw material is out there for the digging. (The excellent early chapters of John Einarson's recent Randy Bachman biography, detailing the hyperactive Winnipeg beat scene of the early 1960s, are a good case in point.
When Words Deny the World
by Steven Henighan

Porcupine's Quill
211 pages $19.95 paper
ISBN: 088984240X
Book Review
Global Pressures on Canlit
by Jason Brown
The gasping front page headlines the day after Thomas Mallon trashed Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin in the New York Times are a token of how habituated we've become to docility in the treatment of our major literary stars. According to Steven Henighan, the latest offerings of the most iconic Canadian authors are, more often than not, greeted with a gloves-on "cheerleading" approach in the major reviews.
The Cue for Passion Grief and its Political Uses
by Gail Holst-Warhaft

Harvard University Press
228 pages $39.95 cloth
ISBN: 0674002245
Book Review
Grief as Political Capital
by Patrick R. Burger
The response by the U.S. government to the 9-11 attacks was to harness the grief and rage at the deaths of the 4000 victims and hurl it toward Afghanistan. In the aftermath of the attacks, little attention was given to individual grief for individual victims; instead, the national character of the tragedy was repeatedly emphasized, and this became the justification for the deployment of American (and NATO) troops in central Asia
Back Flip
by Anne Denoon

Porcupine's Quill Press
323 pages $24.95 paper
ISBN: 0679311793
Book Review
Thyme and a More than a Hint of Irony
by Clara Thomas
Unless is the story Reta Winters tells us as she endures the breakaway of Norah, her eldest daughter, from family, boyfriend, girlfriends and university. Every day Norah sits cross-legged on the northeast corner of Bloor and Bathurst, a begging bowl on her lap and a cardboard sign on her chest. GOODNESS, it says.
Way Out West On the Trail of An Errant Ancestor
by Michael Shaw Bond

McClelland & Stewart
248 pages $32.99 cloth
ISBN: 0771011326
Book Review
An Englishman Treks Through Canada
by Erling Friis-Baastad
In 1862 a 23-year-old British lord, Viscount Milton, and his personal physician trekked from Winnipeg to Victoria. Their expedition almost came to a disastrous end in the Rocky Mountains. The Viscount became a celebrity; the trip became a legend and its geographical discoveries were entered into the history books.
To the River
by Tim Lilburn

McClelland and Stewart
80 pages $14.99 paper
ISBN: 0771053231
Home and Animal
by Grant McConnell

Art Gallery of Swift Current NEC
24 pages
ISBN: 0969423411
Ecology of Everyday Life Rethinking the Desire for Nature
by Chaia Heller

Black Rose Books
184 pages $19.99 paper
ISBN: 1551641321
Living in the World as if it Were Home Essays
by Tim Lilburn

Cormorant Books
110 pages $16.95 paper
ISBN: 1896951147
Book Review
Staying Put or EcoPoetics
by Iain Higgins
Asked once in an interview what people can do to help save the earth, California poet Gary Snyder offered this advice: stay put. It's hard to imagine a simpler answer, or one more uncongenial to footloose North Americans, particularly in the decades since On the Road, Easy Rider, the "temporary" oil crisis of the early seventies, and commercial deregulation of the sky.
by Christian B÷k

Coach House Books
105 pages $16.95 paper
ISBN: 1552450929
Book Review
Vowel Movements: Pointless Toil and Empty Productivity
by Carmine Starnino
It seems fitting that a poet who, at one point, earned his living counterfeiting artificial languages for television shows (extraterrestrial in the case of Earth: Final Conflict, tribal in the case of Amazon) now joins the ranks of a literary movement notorious for conjuring up auxiliary jargons, synthetic syntaxes and lexical hijinks
The Life The Seductive Call of Politics
by Steve Paikin

Penguin Books Canada Ltd.
326 pages $35 cloth
ISBN: 0670892238
Book Review
Political Life through a Series of Interviews
by Stephen Knight
The inescapable truth about life in politics, it seems, is that it's a lot like fame. At least, that's the distinct impression one gets reading Steve Paikin's The Life: The Seductive Call of Politics, a collection of reflections and anecdotes from current and former Canadian politicians about life before, during and after public life. When you're famous like, say, a movie star, you have wealth, power and access.
There's a Carnival for You
by Barbara Nickel
Interview with Mary Dalton Mary Dalton was born at Lake View, Harbour Main, in Newfoundland, and now lives in St. John's where she teaches in the Department of English at MUN. Her poems, essays and reviews have appeared in journals and anthologies throughout Canada. She has published two collections of poetry, The Time of Icicles and Allowing the Light, both with Breakwater.
Interview with Ray Robertson
by Andrew Johnson
Novelist, critic and teacher Ray Robertson was born in Chatham, Ontario in 1966. After completing an undergraduate degree at Victoria College, University of Toronto, Robertson earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Southwest Texas State University. His first novel, Home Movies, was published by Cormorant Books in 1997. This was followed by Heroes, published by Simon and Pierre in 2000. His latest novel, Moody Food (2002), is published by Doubleday.
Consorting with the Enemy: Interview with Paulette Jiles
by Linda Morra
Paulette Jiles was the winner of the Governor-General's award for poetry in 1984. Her previous publications include North Spirit (1995) and Cousins (1992). Her debut novel and the focus of the interview, Enemy Women addresses the effects of the Civil War upon the residents of southeastern Missouri, where Jiles herself was born and raised. Although she currently resides in San Antonio, Texas, she was interviewed by Linda Morra while vacationing on Padre Island, in the Gulf of Mexico.
Same World But Different: Interview with Rohinton Mistry
by Nancy Wigston
Rohinton Mistry burst on the Canadian writing scene in 1987 with Tales from Firozsha Baag, a brilliant collection of stories focussing on Bombay's Parsi community. Such a Long Journey, his 1991 novel, won the Governor General's Award, the Smith Books/Books in Canada First Novel Award, and was short-listed for the Booker Prize.
Chance Encounter Between Two Women
by Eva Tihanyi
Speaking of Spelling Mississippi: Interview with Marnie Woodrow Marnie Woodrow was born in Orillia, Ontario, in 1969 but has lived in Toronto for the past fifteen years. At the age of 22, she published her first collection of short stories, Why We Close Our Eyes When We Kiss (1991). This was followed by another story collection, In the Spice House (1996), and recently by a first novel, Spelling Mississippi (Knopf Canada, 2002).
Letters to Editor
Letters to the Editor
Dear Editor, I don't dispute whether English language poets in Montreal experience the double exile described by David Solway in the Winter 2002 issue: he makes a convincing case. Nor do I deny that exile can have a salutary effect on poetry: as Philip Larkin put it, who famously shunned London for Hull, "removed lives / Loneliness clarifies". But I do question whether the double exile of anglophone Montreal poets is responsible for their neglect. No one neglected Larkin after all.
Don Bell's Found Books
We bookscouters who make our living hunting literary treasures in libraries, garage sales, flea markets and various obscure locales have a common disease brought on by our love of the bound-up word: Call it Bookitis. Often you pick up a book with every intention of selling it at a reasonable profit but out of curiosity you sit down, start leafing through, fall in love with the book and instead of flogging it to n'importe qui end up keeping the lovely object. Collecting. Hoarding.
The Colour of Literature
by David Solway
I have long been uncomfortable with the set of prescriptive beliefs and presuppositions current in the literary and academic communities about the proper way of reading (and writing) literary texts and of aligning their relation with the social world. According to this rationale, if a work of art offends the values or the sensibilities of a particular "interest group," it may be legitimately sanitized or even suppressed.
Roundup of mystery books: Mystery MTlange
by Robert Allen Papinchak
Howard Engel certainly knows how to entertain. He ought to. For many years, he was a producer for the CBC. He uses that setting to its best advantage in a thoroughly enjoyable tenth outing for his P.I. Benny Cooperman, in The Cooperman Variations (Penguin Books, 279 pages, $18.99, ISBN: 0140297448). Benny's old high school friend, Vanessa Moss, is now the head of entertainment at The National Television Corporation. It's a working environment "as packed with false friends as a pinata.
The Divine Economy of Salvation
by Priscila Uppal

405 pages $32.95 cloth
ISBN: 0385658044
by Christy Ann Conlin

Doubleday Canada
322 pages $29.95 paper
ISBN: 0385658079
Spelling Mississippi
by Marnie Woodrow

Knopf Canada
386 pages $34.95 paper
ISBN: 0676974317
Rush Home Road
by Lori Lansens

Knopf Canada
547 pages $34.95 paper
ISBN: 0676974503
Crow Lake
by Mary Lawson

Knopf Canada
291 pages $34.95 cloth
ISBN: 0676974791
The Heart Does Not Bend
by Makeda Silvera

Random House Canada
264 pages $32.95 cloth
ISBN: 0679311343
First Novels
First Novels
by W.P Kinsella
The first book I read for the 2002 season, Crow Lake, by Mary Lawson, (Knopf Canada, 294pages, ISBN: 0676974791), is a spellbinding story and likely to be collecting accolades at the end of the year. The bitter land and climate of Northern Ontario are like characters in this story of four orphaned children struggling to stay together as a family.
If the World Were a Village
by David J. Smith, Illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong

Kids Can Press
32 pages $15.95 cloth
ISBN: 1550747797
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Deborah Wandell
Big numbers boggle our brains. How then to write a children's book that dares to use population figures to talk about the world's people? Through the clever strategy of making 1 person stand for 62 million people, author David J. Smith neatly sidesteps our collective mental block when confronted by rows of numbing 000s.
19 Varieties of Gazelle Poems of the Middle East
by Naomi Shihab Nye

HarperCollins/Greenwillow Books
142 pages $25.5 cloth
ISBN: 0060097655
The Other Side of Truth
by Beverley Naidoo

256 pages $25.5 cloth
ISBN: 0064410021
Little Soldier
by Bernard Ashley

Scholastic Press
230 pages $22.99 cloth
ISBN: 0439224241
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Jeffrey Canton
Since September 11th 2001, we have all had to acknowledge that our world has changed. We have become more reflective aboutł sometimes even more outspokenłabout the nature of conflicts in Afghanistan, the Middle East, the Balkans and, most recently, India and Pakistan. We see how these conflicts actually impact on the way that we live our own lives.
The Child that Books Built A memoir of childhood and reading
by Francis Spufford

Faber and Faber
214 pages $26.99 cloth
ISBN: 0571191320
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Jeffrey Canton
In the June 3rd issue of the New Yorker magazine, readers were treated to an imaginative short story from the pen of A.S. Byatt.
The Invisible Enemy
by Marthe Jocelyn,Illustrations by Abby Carter

167 pages $15.99 cloth
ISBN: 0887765858
Berta A Remarkable Dog
by Celia Barker Lottridge,Illustrations by Elsa Myotte

99 pages $14.95 cloth
ISBN: 0888994613
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Karen Krossing
Two new illustrated novels will appeal to humour-lovers in the eight-year-old to twelve-year-old set. Berta: A Remarkable Dog, by storyteller and author Celia Barker Lottridge, will provoke a quiet chuckle as a dachshund becomes mother to a lamb. The Invisible Enemy, by Marthe Jocelyn, will trigger loud hoots of laughter as Billie deals with her arch-rival turned invisible.
The Word for Home
by Joan Clark

Penguin Canada
286 pages $22.99 cloth
ISBN: 0670911216
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Gillian Chan
Joan Clark's latest novel The Word for Home tells the story of two sisters, Sadie and Flora Morin, who are, to all intents and purposes, abandoned to the less than kind care of strangers in pre-confederation Newfoundland when their feckless, dreamer of a father abandons his relatively secure job to go in search of gold. The reader sees everything through the eyes of the older sister, Sadie, as the girls struggle with their miserly landlady, Mrs.
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Jeffrey Canton
This spring has been just hopping for Canadian kids' booksłas well as a wonderful new crop of fiction for children and teens, picture books and great non-fiction, a number of the major children's book awards have been announced recognizing great Canadian books for kids.
Canada Invents
by Susan Hughes

Owl Books
112 pages $29.95 cloth
ISBN: 1894379233
Canada Invents
by Susan Hughes

Owl Books
112 pages $19.95 trade paper
ISBN: 1894379241
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Trudee Romanek
If you expect a book on Canadian inventions to be filled with nothing but dusty old characters such as Alexander Graham Bell and Sir Sanford Fleming, Canada Invents, will surprise you.

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