Following the River: Traces of Red River Women by Lorri Neilsen Glenn

Towards the end of Lorri Neilsen Glenn’s enthralling memoir-like journey of discovery Following the River: Traces of Red River Women (2017, Wolsak & Wynn), she states:

“When we consider countless horrors in the world, innumerable disasters and catastrophes, a ship consumed by fire on a late summer night is but only one. Unremarkable, yet its dark stroke colours lives for generations.”

The ship in question was the SS Premier, a ship that plied the waters of Lake Winnipeg, carrying people and cargo south to north, north to south.… Continue reading

Watermark by Jennifer Farquhar

When I was a young lad, my parents owned a cottage that fronted on a small lake in South Eastern Ontario. While I swam in the water by day, I never ventured near the shore at night. That was when all kinds of things came forth out of the depths to languish on the shore – or so my young mind reasoned. In Jennifer Farquar’s Watermark (2018, Latitude 46 Publishing) Mina McInnis and her brother David actually sneak out of their house at night to swim in the cold waters of Lake Huron!… Continue reading

Through Sunlight and Shadows by Raymond Fraser

Sadly, Through Sunlight and Shadows would prove to be Raymond Fraser’s swan song, as he passed away just a few short months after its publication. It is his fourteenth book of fiction and is an all-new volume of “memoirs” of his fictional/semi-autobiographical character, Walt Macbride. While regular readers of Mr. Fraser’s will be familiar with Walt in all his manifestations, his youngest days growing up in Bannonbridge (an alias for Chatham, NB) are lesser-known.… Continue reading

The Land’s Long Reach by Valerie Mills-Milde

This is the book that I was awaiting from Valerie Mills-Milde. I had to patiently wait two years from the time that her exceptional debut novel After Drowning (2016, Inanna Publications) was released. That book won a 2017 IPPY Silver Medal for Contemporary Fiction. Of After Drowning, I stated: “After Drowning is an intriguing, well-paced and mysteriously captivating story of everyday lives impacted by tragic events and the collateral damage they inflict as well as the long road back to recovery and reconciliation.” In a sense, The Land’s Long Reach is also a captivating story of lives impacted by tragic events (WWI, domestic violence) and the collateral damage inflicted (mental, medical and psychological stress, strained family relationships) on each and every character. … Continue reading

Quarry by Catherine Graham

Acclaimed poet Catherine Graham’s debut novel Quarry (2017, Two Wolves Press) is the type of story that takes me back to two places: my high school English class and my family’s summer cottage. Firstly, it is exactly the type of book that our English teacher would have had us read as a class, then dissect and/or write a book review of. Very much like we did with The Stone Angel and The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.… Continue reading