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

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.

Lewis has been depicted in books, films and plays. Certain facts are known–her struggle with disabilities including crippling rheumatoid arthritis, her marriage to the meanspirited, miserly alcoholic Everett Lewis, the gaily decorated one-room house where they lived in abject poverty, and the colourful scenes she painted of bucolic country life and sold for a few dollars each.…

Melt by Heidi Wicks

We meet Jess and Cait, best friends and cusp-millennials, in 2016 during a funeral reception for Jess’s mother. Cait comforts Jess while assessing her own complicated relationship with her husband, Jake.

As Jess notes, “Cait and Jake have been at each other for years. Pick-pick-picking like crows jabbing their beaks into other people’s garbage.” Cait, a CBC host and the more daring of the two, is about to make a significant life decision.…

Cottagers and Indians, by Drew Hayden Taylor

Taylor’s two-person play Cottagers and Indians was inspired by a years-long dispute between cottage owners on Pigeon Lake in Ontario and an Anishnawbe man seeding manoomin (wild rice) in their waterways.

In the play, Maureen Poole, a white woman at her lakeside split-level ranch house, and Arthur Copper, an Indigenous man in his canoe, face off over his seeding and harvesting of the once-flourishing Indigenous food, manoomin.…

Summer Feet by Sheree Fitch, Pictures by Carolyn Fisher

Wherever you are this summer of 2020, with COVID swirling around and many needing comfort, what better than to pick up a book that reminds you of summers past? Sheree Fitch’s delightfully playful language would be a treat to read to young ones – after all, Summer Feet is a children’s book. Not being either a child or having a willing one nearby, I read it aloud to myself several times, revisiting the exuberance of summers past.…

Impurity by Larry Tremblay, Translated by Sheila Fischman

Larry Tremblay is a playwright, poet and essayist in addition to novelist, and we feel the playwright at work in this book as scenes shift before us. Tremblay plays with us. He walks us through a “trap full of mirrors” where reflections cannot be trusted. The play within the play, the book within the book told through multiple characters’ points of view.…

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 story. Wrong. But oh, so good in what it does do.

Take a down-and-out guy who stocks store shelves, add an ex-girlfriend who hates him while he still loves everything about her, his father Otis who lives unhappily in a nursing home and wonders who his son is, and his best friend, bald Gerry, who works in a meat department in a grocery store and competes with the guy for top rung on the loser ladder.…

Rising Tides: Reflections for Climate Changing Times, edited by Catriona Sandilands

the introduction to Rising Tides, Sandilands states that climate change stories “focus increasingly on thornier questions of persistence, adaptation, resistance, and renewal” instead of apocalypse. Ultimately, the short fiction, poetry and personal climate testimonies in this climate change anthology are about hope.

“The way rain falls the spring of life seed to root, stem to leaves. Oh trees, weather maker, life shaper, air sweet.…

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