“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
The year is 1936 and the Clarey family of Halifax, Nova Scotia is, by all accounts, a typical family. The father, Charles is the latest owner of Clarey Paint and Glass, a business started by his grandfather. Charles and Mary Clarey live in a house with their children Edith (Edie) and Mel. Their oldest, Gus is away at a seminary college in Antigonish. Mel’s best friend Lawrence (Lawrie) Shine lives across the street.… Continue reading
Redemption Songs won a 2017 The Very Best! Book Award for Non-Fiction.
do Nova Scotia, Black leader Marcus Garvey, and Rastafarian musician Bob Marley have in common? Very little, you might think until Jon Tattrie weaves some literary and historical magic to make it all seamlessly fit together in Redemption Songs (2016, Pottersfield Press), a treatise against racism and the false “colouring” of humans. It was in 1937 that Marcus Garvey, who was close to death, gave an epic speech in Sydney, Nova Scotia in which he praised the town for “giving the Negro a chance.” However, it was the following passage from Garvey’s speech that was to inspire Bob Marley decades later to write “Redemption Song” the last cut on the last studio album he was to record:
“We are going to emancipate our minds from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind.”
Redemption Songs is one of those books that clarify, enlighten and educate at the same time.… Continue reading
Author and forensic anthropologist Debra Komar has written two books to date dealing with murder and wrongful conviction in Atlantic Canada’s past. Her first book, The Ballad of Jacob Peck (2013, Goose Lane Editions) was about a murder inspired by religious fervour that occurred in 1805 in New Brunswick. The follow-up, The Lynching of Peter Wheeler (2014, Goose Lane Editions) is about the wrongful conviction of Peter Wheeler in the death of Annie Kempton in Nova Scotia in 1896.… Continue reading
Aftershock, a 2015 book published by Nimbus is an essential read for those interested in the Halifax Explosion of December 6th, 1917. It was on this date that one of the biggest explosions up to that time in North America occurred in Halifax harbour killing thousands and leaving many more injured and scarred for life. However, as the author states in the preface: “This is not a Halifax Explosion report.… Continue reading
Back in High School English class, we had to read Margaret Laurence’s A Jest of God, which I did enjoy reading, although looking back it might have been too mature a book for teenagers to study in depth. At any rate, any book with a strong and overburdened female living back in the late 1800s/early 1900s is fated to be compared with her beleaguered Manawaka heroines.… Continue reading
Like Any Other Monday is Halifax author Binnie Brennan's first novel, and it is an impressive one. Its 200+ pages are filled with a wondrous, meticulously researched story set in a time period that has practically been forgotten: the American Vaudeville era, and is loosely based on the life of Buster Keaton. The author also agreed to be interviewed by The Miramichi Reader about the book, her influences and her other interests.
Lunenburg (2015, Vagrant Press) is a Canadian reprint of a UK novel previously released in 2000. It is a detective/mystery novel which originally begins in 1970 outside Lunenburg, but ends in Halifax in the year 2000. Keith Baker is a UK novelist and has written three other thrillers published by Headline in the UK. I recently reviewed another thriller What Kills Good Men by David Hood.… Continue reading