The Fiddlehead Issue No.270 (Winter 2017)

Issue No. 270 of the Fiddlehead literary journal sports an attractive cover with art by Ann Manuel entitled “Blur 1” making you feel that what is contained within is something special. There are works of short fiction by Jasmina Odor, Charlie Fiset, David Clerson (an excerpt from his otherworldly novel Brothers (translated by Katia Grubisic), Darryl Whetter and David Carpenter. There are poems from no less than twelve different poets as well as book reviews.… Continue reading

mouth human must die by Lee D. Thompson

This 2017 chapbook by New Brunswick author Lee D. Thompson is either the work of a literary genius or a literary madman (not that the two are mutually exclusive). Having a small acquaintance with Mr Thompson impels me to put him in the former category as this 35-page exercise in creative writing left me staggered by his vision into the schizophrenic mind of Lester, a young man who lives in his mother’s basement, refuses medication and communes nocturnally with Lara, a Slow Loris in the city’s zoo.… Continue reading

The Path of Most Resistance by Russell Wangersky

The dedication at the beginning of The Path of Most Resistance (House of Anansi, 2016) states: “For those who fight the hardest to win the smallest of battles. You know who you are.” And that is what the baker’s dozen of Russell Wangersky’s short stories are about: winning small battles, typically in a passive aggressive way, either overtly or in a less conspicuous manner.

“Rage”, the first story, finds Ian, a journeying pharmaceutical rep, wondering why other drivers are so angry: “Why does everyone seem so angry today, Ian wondered.Continue reading

As Fierce as Steel (Gold & Steel Saga) by Christopher Walsh

First-time novelist Christopher Walsh has penned a formidable fantasy novel in Fierce as Steel (2016), the first instalment in the Gold & Steel saga set in the country of Illiastra where revolution is brewing against the wealthy and all-controlling Elite Merchant Party (EMP) and the Triarchists, the sole ‘official’ state-sanctioned religion. The principal revolutionaries are the Thieves, led by the elusive Lady Orangecloak, whose mission is to “steal back freedom” for the oppressed.… Continue reading

Blackbird Calling by Laura Swart

When I first received Blackbird Calling (Quattro Books, 2016) and started reading it, I soon put it aside because I wasn’t ready for it, my mind wanted an ‘easy’ read at the time (it being summertime and the season of distractions, not to mention yard work) but I vowed to return to it one day. That day came months later, and I finished it in one day.… Continue reading

Geranium Window Cover

The Geranium Window by Beatrice MacNeil

“How can anyone have a child and keep such a thing hidden?”

the late 1950’s the Briar family of Rocky Point, Cape Breton unsuccessfully attempt to keep their third child, Joseph hid in his room, not to be spoken of or seen by anyone outside of the immediate family.

“Joseph Briar, born of original shame, the product of an old sperm and a soft egg; his stern sixty-one-year-old father laid down the fundamental lie.Continue reading

Holy Rule by Mary Frances Coady

A likeable and very readable story of a convent/girl’s school in 1958. The Reverend Mother initially comes across as a neurotic Captain Bligh type of character and one even begins to question her sanity after awhile. The present pope has just died and everyone in the Catholic world at the time is curious as to who the new pope will be.
It is also a time of the rise of Communism in Russia, Sputnik, and social changes as well, leaving the older generation (like the strict Reverend Mother) confused as to enforcing the Holy Rule in the convent/school and the changing social behaviours of not only the students but the nuns as well.… Continue reading

The Effect of Frost on Southern Vines by Sandra Bunting

Miramichi’s unofficial poet laureate Sandra Bunting, has just released her first collection of short stories entitled The Effect of Frost on Southern Vines (2016, Gaelog Press). Having lived abroad for many years, Ms Bunting returned to Miramichi in 2011. The stories that make up this volume are primarily set in Ireland, but some, such as the title story are set on this side of the Atlantic.… Continue reading