Hutchison Street by Abla Farhoud

Translated by Judith Weisz Woodsworth, Hutchison Street (2018, Linda Leith Publishing) is a collection of character sketches spun into a tapestry of interconnected short stories as colourful as the inhabitants of the actual street itself. The book is divided into two parts (like the street itself): The Mile End Side and the Outremont Side. An interlude provides the author a pause to give an explanation of what makes the street so unique:

The houses on Hutchison Street have stayed pretty much the same.… Continue reading

Nirliit by Juliana Léveillé-Trudel

On the back cover of Nirliit (2018, Véhicule Press) there is a quote by Dorothée Berryman of La Presse that perfectly sums up how I felt about reading this small, but transcendent novel: “I’m about to reread this book because its powerful beauty haunts me.” I did reread the book, but only after I was almost finished it and I felt I needed to go back to recapture the mood of the book; I felt I was reading it too fast and not absorbing the acute perceptions of the author regarding her time spent in the northern Quebec Inuit village of Salluit.… Continue reading

The Sweet Bloods of Eeyou Istchee by Ruth DyckFehderau

According to the Diabetes Canada website, there are 11 million Canadians living with diabetes or prediabetes. Every three minutes, another Canadian is diagnosed. For the James Bay Cree living in the territory of Eeyou Istchee in Northern Quebec, “fully one-third of the adults have been diagnosed with type 2 or gestational diabetes and more remain undiagnosed.”

The Sweet Bloods of Eeyou Istchee was produced by creehealth.org in order to educate and inform the Cree and other Indigenous peoples of the dangers of eating too much of the wrong foods

and not getting enough exercise.… Continue reading

Songs for the Cold of Heart by Eric Dupont (translated by Peter McCambridge)

Note to readers: In lieu of the regular review that I would normally post, I am instead publishing a letter* I received from a reader regarding Songs for the Cold of Heart (2018, QC Fiction). I found it fairly sums up my thoughts on the book, and I reprint it here with the sender’s permission.

Dear Mr. Fisher,

May I call you James? I am one of the 12 subscribers to your blog (I do hope you get more soon, people don’t know what they are missing) and I wanted to not only thank you for alerting your few readers to the fact that the east coast of Canada has many fine writers, but la belle province has a number of them as well.… Continue reading

Behind the Eyes We Meet by Mélissa Verreault

Verreault has a master’s degree in translation from Université Laval in Quebec City and lives in Lévis with her Italian husband and their triplets. She has published three novels in French. Behind The Eyes We Meet is the English translation of L’angoisse du poisson rouge, her first novel to be translated. The translator is Arielle Aaronson.

Behind The Eyes We Meet is several stories in one, that of Sergio (a POW in WWII) and his grandson Fabio, who emigrated to Canada and now resides in Montreal, and Manue (short for Emmanuelle) who discerns that there is something missing from her twenty-something life.… Continue reading

The Back Road and Beyond by Robert McKay

Miramichi author Robert McKay is back with another self-published volume of personal stories to follow-up on his 2010 book The Back Road. That book was a look back at life growing up in Newcastle (now part of the amalgamated city of Miramichi) in the 1940’s and 50’s. They are for the most part humorous recollections, being composed of the type of adventures to be had by a young lad and his friends in a simpler, carefree time.… Continue reading