Brighten the Corner Where You Are, a Novel Inspired by the Life of Maud Lewis

Reviewed in The Miramichi Reader by Patricia Sandberg

Nova Scotia artist Maud Lewis, a character perhaps as folkloric as her paintings, comes to life in Carol Bruneau’s reimagining of her in Brighten the Corner Where You Are.

See my review of this fine book in The Miramichi Reader of Brighten the Corner Where You Are, a Novel Inspired by the Life of Maud Lewis, written by Carol Bruneau and published by Vagrant Press.

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. 

See my other book reviews here: Melt by Heidi Wicks, Skin House by Michael Blouin, Cottagers and Indians by Drew Hayden Taylor, Impurity by Larry Tremblay, Rising Tides edited by Catriona Sandilands, and The Group of Seven, Reimagined, edited by Karen Schauber. To read some reviews of my book Sun Dogs and Yellowcake, click here.

Book Review of Novel ‘Melt’ by Heidi Wicks

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.

See my full book review of novel Melt by Heidi Wicks in The Miramichi Reader. Melt is published by Breakwater Books Ltd.

Heidi Wicks has written for The Telegram, The Independent, Newfoundland Quarterly, CBC, and The Globe and Mail. In 2019, she won the Cox and Palmer Creative Writing Award. She lives in St. John’s. 

See my other book reviews here: Skin House by Michael Blouin, Cottagers and Indians by Drew Hayden Taylor, Impurity by Larry Tremblay, Rising Tides edited by Catriona Sandilands, and The Group of Seven, Reimagined edited by Karen Schauber. To read some reviews of my book Sun Dogs and Yellowcake, click here.

Skin House, A book review and recommend

Review in The Miramichi Reader of Skin House by Michael Blouin.

I’m very pleased to share my review in The Miramichi Reader of Skin House by Michael Blouin.

Skin House got 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 storyWrong. 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.

Skin House is written by Michael Blouin and published by Anvil Press Publishers, Vancouver and is on the 2020 longlist for The Miramichi Reader’s “The Very Best!” Book Awards for Best Fiction.

To see my other book reviews: Rising Tides: Reflections for Climate Changing Times (nonfiction); and The Group of Seven Reimagined (nonfiction).

The Group of Seven Reimagined, Book Review

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.

The Group of Seven Reimagined, edited by Karen Schauber

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.

Book Review recommends ‘Sun Dogs & Yellowcake’

Gunnar Head Frame
The Gunnar head frame stood for more than 50 years after the mine closed, beckoning to all who passed by. Photo courtesy of Tim Beckett

BOOK REVIEW, submitted by Mr. Lynn Kelley

“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 artists.

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)