I thoroughly enjoyed the interlocking layers of Impurity by Larry Tremblay. A playwright, poet and essayist in addition to novelist, it’s Tremblay the playwright at work in this book as scenes shift before us.
Tremblay plays with us. He walks us through a “trap full of mirrors” where reflections cannot be trusted. The play within the play, the book within the book told through multiple characters’ points of view. A challenging and worthy read.
Arthur Copper, an Indigenous man, wants to grow and harvest wild rice from a quiet lake in Ontario’s cottage country. His adversary, a white woman named Maureen Poole, wants to retain the peaceful cottage experience she and her family have enjoyed for years.
Who is entitled to own or use land, or in this case, water is only one of several contemporary and provocative issues underlying the story.
Carol Bruneau is the author of three short story collections and four novels. Her first novel, Purple for Sky, won the 2001 Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award and the Dartmouth Book Award. Her 2007 novel, Glass Voices, was a Globe and Mail Best Book. Her reviews, stories, and essays have appeared nationwide in newspapers, journals, and anthologies, and two of her novels have been published internationally.
Reviewed in The Miramichi Reader by Patricia Sandberg
Melt is a modern relationship story: friends, husbands and wives, parents and children with the challenges that these connections bring. The author Heidi Wicks employs snappy, smart and frank dialogue to get into the minds and hearts of the two modern protagonists and adeptly builds scenes.
Skin Housegot me with this line on its back cover: “Skin House is a story about two guys who end up in the same bar they started out in.” I thought, sweet, a kind of modern Waiting for Godot story. Wrong. But oh, so good in what it does do.
The book is irreverent and saucy, unexpected and poignant, none of which gives it enough credit. You can read the review here.
Michael Blouin has won the ReLit Award (Best Novel), been shortlisted for the Amazon First Novel Award, the bp Nichol Award, the CBC Literary Award, and is a winner of the Diana Brebner Award and the 2012 Lampman Award from ARC magazine and has been published in a host of prestigious literary magazines.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In The Group of Seven Reimagined: Contemporary Stories Inspired by Historic Canadian Paintings, editor Karen Schauber has paired twenty-one beautifully-reproduced works of art by The Group of Seven and associated artists with fine storytelling by prominent, contemporary writers. The writers each chose a painting that resonated with them and wrote a story inspired by what they saw.
Like a fine wine with dinner, some things cry out to be paired. In Reimagined, the nearly hundred-year-old brandy that was the Group of Seven is introduced to a fresh vibrant cuisine that is flash fiction, and both are the richer for it.
The Ottawa Review of Books published my full review of this book in its October edition. For information about how the project developed, biographies of the writers included, or to purchase, visit the book website.
Edited by Karen Schauber. Published 2019 by Heritage House. ISBN –
978-1-77203-288-8. Available through Heritage House and Amazon.ca.
AY Jackson of The Group of Seven visited Gunnar Mines and Uranium City twice to paint. Jackson, along with Lawren Harris, also painted many times at Great Bear Lake, the site of Port Radium’s uranium mine.
“Sundogs & Yellow
Cake: Gunnar Mine – a Canadian Story” by Patricia Sandberg
“In February 2017, back when we met at the Artful Dodger, our luncheon speaker was Patricia Sandberg, author of SunDogs and Yellowcake: Gunnar Mines- A Canadian Story. Patricia spoke about her experiences growing up in Gunnar and related a few of the stories in her book. I purchased a copy of the book, which Patricia graciously signed.
The book sat on the shelf in
our living room until I was packing for a beach vacation in February of this
year. It turned out to be a perfect vacation read, with relatively short,
self-contained chapters that weave the author’s coming-of-age story with
touching accounts of the families who made a life under trying and primitive
circumstances, all against the backdrop of the Cold War nuclear arms race. The
author corresponded with more than 100 former residents of Gunnar and their
absorbing personal accounts capture the building of healthy, vibrant community
despite isolation and a harsh environment. The book is lavishly illustrated
with photographs and sketches by A. Y. Jackson and other well-known Canadian
The author’s coming of age in an isolated northern mining town resonated with my own experience as a young man who found himself in an isolated northern mining town that shaped me professionally and personally and blessed me with many enduring friendships. I enjoyed Sun Dogs and Yellowcake as much as anything I’ve read in recent memory, and, with summer just around the corner, I would highly recommend it as a vacation (or bush camp) read.”
Published in The Rock Record 2001-9 by Saskatchewan Geological Society (SGS)
Thanks: Many thanks to Lynn Kelley for surprising me with this book review and to SGS for including it in The Rock Record.
Footnote: The Gunnar Headframe stood from 1954 (approx) to 2011 as a beacon to all those who ventured to explore the ghost mining town of Gunnar. In 2011, the headframe was demolished.
YouTube videos: The headframe’s sad demise and plans for cleanup of the Gunnar site. Louie Mercredi and his crew building the ice road over Lake Athabasca to Gunnar. Mr. Mercredi is much braver than I!
Purchase information: To read harrowing tales of survival and loss on Lake Athabasca, get a copy of Sun Dogs and Yellowcake here or through Amazon (hardcopy or e-book)