The Valerie Sherrard Interview

Miramichi New Brunswick author Valerie Sherrard has written more than a dozen novels for young people, including Counting Back from Nine, which was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award and The Glory Wind. Her work has also been shortlisted for numerous Canadian awards, including the Ann Connor Brimer, Red Maple, and Snow Willow Awards. Valerie’s most recent novel is Random Acts.

Miramichi Reader: Valerie, please tell us a bit of your background.… Continue reading

Till the Boys Come Home by Curtis Mainville

It was back in 2010 that Canada’s last known First World War veteran, John Babcock died at age 109. He regretted that the war ended before he got to see action: “I think if I had a chance, I would have gone to France, taken my chances like the rest of them did,” he said in 2007. “A lot of good men got killed.”

Till the Boys Come Home (2015 Goose Lane Editions) by Curtis Mainville, a 22-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, focuses on the good men (and women) of Queens County, New Brunswick who either volunteered, were conscripted or stayed home to support the war effort by working on the family farm or in the mines.… Continue reading

Knife Party at the Hotel Europa by Mark Anthony Jarman

A man, let’s call him Adam (since one of the stories in this collection is called Adam and Eve Saved from Drowning, and Eve is the name of his cousin and sometime traveling companion) is trying to escape his past: a failed marriage, children grown and out of the house, and the beautiful woman that he left his wife for suddenly departs his life. Might as well go to Italy for the summer where he sweats it out, escapes a knife party (knives figures prominently throughout the book), drinks wine, takes drugs, eats, considers becoming the next Pope and falls in love with his pretty cousin Eve.… Continue reading

A Hero by Charlotte R. Mendel

Nova Scotian author Charlotte R. Mendel has written a different kind of novel with A Hero (2015, Inanna Publications*). It is different in that it concerns the lives of an extended Muslim family living in an unnamed post-revolutionary Muslim country. While the family is Muslim, it could be any family living anywhere, from the inner city to the suburbs. In fact, as I started reading the book, it seemed to me like a Muslim version of “All in the Family”.… Continue reading

The Lost Wilderness by Nicholas Guitard

This book by New Brunswick author and photographer Nicholas Guitard is subtitled “Rediscovering W.F. Ganong’s New Brunswick” and it is an attractive book. From the moment I took it out of the shipping wrapper and saw the cover picture of Ganong standing on a rock in the middle of a body of water doing surveys, I could sense it was something special. Goose Lane Editions has nicely packaged this 200+ page volume complete with colour pictures, appendices, index and a selected bibliography.… Continue reading

Let Us Be True by Erna Buffie

Just after finishing Let Us Be True (2015, Coteau Books), I rated it a 3 out of 5 stars at Goodreads. Then I changed my mind and gave it another star because I kept thinking about the story long after I finished it, which is a sign of a four-star book for me. I kept thinking about it primarily due to the way the author, Erna Buffie has written the life story of Pearl Calder.… Continue reading