Ramya’s Treasure by Pratap Reddy

Poor Ramya. A Hindu woman in her late 40’s finds herself out of work (due to downsizing), separated from her husband, childless and nearly friendless. Plus, she is suffering from depression. So much so that she cannot even motivate herself to fill out her papers to get EI assistance. This is the state we meet Ramya in at the beginning of Ramya’s Treasure, Pratap Reddy’s first novel, which follows on the heels of his captivating compilation of short stories, Weather Permitting and Other Stories, published in 2016.…

New 2018 Fiction from Goose Lane Editions

are a couple of mini-reviews of two recent fiction titles New Brunswick’s Goose Lane Editions, Marry Bang Kill by Andrew Battershill and Catch my Drift by Genevieve Scott.

Marry Bang Kill by Andrew Battershill

The title of this book comes from a popular question: when presented with three things (typically celebrities) who would you: (need I say more?). While this question is only posed once in the book, the title is a sure attention getter, and the writing between the covers, while perhaps not to everyone’s taste is excellent.…

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.…

The Honey Farm by Harriet Alida Lye

Alida Lye is a writer from Richmond Hill, Ontario. Now living in Toronto, she works at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. The Honey Farm is her first novel. (Note: this review is based on an Advance Reading Copy supplied by the publisher.

If you like novels that have:

  • Old Testament references and symbolism
  • a sweet love story
  • characters with a certain mystique about them
  • idyllic and remote setting
  • strange occurrences

If you answered “yes” to some or all of the above, then you will enjoy The Honey Farm (2018, Vagrant Press).…

The Street of Butterflies by Mehri Yalfani

Yalfani was born in Hamadan, Iran. She immigrated to Canada in 1987 with her family and has been writing and publishing ever since.

The Street of Butterflies (2017, Inanna Publications) goes well with another book of short fiction I recently reviewed (also from Inanna), Outside People. They are stories told from the point of view of those that have left their birth country for Canada, or have chosen to stay while others have left looking for more freedom and other opportunities.…

No Fury Like That by Lisa de Nikolits

“Each of us is a seeker, walking along Eternity’s Road, which has no beginning and no end.”
—Sri Chinmoy

An apt quote to begin a review concerning a book that deals with aspects of eternity, and whatever your belief (or beliefs) are, you may have to suspend them temporarily to fully enjoy this new offering from Lisa de Nikolits, author of 2016’s  The Nearly Girl (Inanna) as well as the award-winning Between the Cracks She Fell (2015, Inanna).…

Under the Zaboca Tree by Glynis Guevara

Guevara was born in Barataria, Trinidad. She was shortlisted for the Small Axe Literary short fiction prize in 2012 and was also a finalist for the inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean Literature in 2014. She currently lives in Toronto where she works as an adult literacy and ESL instructor.

Under the Zaboca Tree (2017, Inanna Publications) is a Young Adult (YA) book that tells the story of Baby Girl (Melody) Sparks, and her trip to Trinidad and Tobago with her father Smokey (Nicholas) who has sole custody of her.…

Mountain by Ursula Pflug

Ursula Pflug is the award-winning author of the novels Green Music; The Alphabet Stones and the story collections After the Fires and Harvesting the Moon. She has been shortlisted or nominated for many awards and currently lives in Norwood, Ontario. Her latest novel is Mountain (2017, Inanna Publications)

Mountain is a novel (but at only 98 pages, more of a novella) that tells the story of seventeen-year-old Camden O’Connor, a girl who lives in two worlds due to her parents’ separation.…

The Greatest Hits of Wanda Jaynes by Bridget Canning

If F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby defined a time period, then Bridget Canning’s The Greatest Hits of Wanda Jaynes is a book defined by a time period, and that time period is now. 2017. Technology and social media figure so prominently in Wanda Jaynes that this book could not have been written 10 or 15 years ago, for 2007 was still the email age; texting, YouTube, and the rise of the ubiquitous smartphone were yet to come.…

Pink Chimneys by Ardeana Hamlin

Pink Chimneys could well be the quintessential “Maine” historic novel in that it describes life in the Bangor region in the early 1800s when the city was being developed as a primary port for shipping and other businesses. Originally released in 1987, Islandport Press has released the 30th-anniversary edition of Pink Chimneys with a new forward by the author, who states:

“I don’t know what has given Pink Chimneys its longevity, but I believe readers find in the story something that moves them, that makes them care about Maude, Fanny and Elizabeth…..Something

In Many Waters by Ami Sands Brodoff

Award-winning author Ami Sands Brodoff’s newest novel, In Many Waters (Inanna 2017) takes place primarily in Malta where Zoe, along with her brother Cal were born and raised. The story begins in Malta. It is 2007 and it has been 7 years since Zoe and Cal lost their parents, Cassandra and Lior, in a surfing accident in waters off Mexico. Zoe dislikes being on the water, for it means you could be in it, a fear instilled in her when as a child, her father threw her into the water in a “sink or swim” moment: “Zoe never quite forgave him for that scare.

All That is Solid Melts Into Air by Carole Giangrande

All that is Solid Melts Into Air won a 2017 “The Very Best!” Book Award for Fiction.

Giangrande’s  All That is Solid Melts Into Air (Inanna Publications, 2017) centres around events in the life of Valerie Lefèvre, a New York-born woman married for over thirty years to Gerard, a French-Canadian man who is a political journalist, travelling the globe to cover wars, terrorism and other atrocities.…

The Women of Saturn by Connie Guzzo-McParland

This ambitious novel (420 pages) by Ms Guzzo-McParland is an epic story of an Italian family emigrating to Canada, some (like Caterina the narrator) to join their family, others (like her older friend Lucia) to meet husbands for the first time. They make the voyage by the sea in the late 1950’s onboard the Saturnia, from which the story takes its title.…

Nicola Peffers Black Deck book cover

Refuge in the Black Deck: The Story of Ordinary Seaman Nicola Peffers by Nicola Peffers

he HMCS Winnipeg is a frigate in the Canadian Navy, and it is also the ship that Ordinary Seaman (OS) Nicola Peffers served aboard for approximately two years, starting in 2009. Fresh out of marine electrical training, she boards ship in Hawaii, full of optimism, excitement and national pride.

Refuge in the Black Deck is an amazing memoir of time spent aboard ship, and Nicola Peffers takes us along as she goes from a proud, intelligent wide-eyed recruit to a lifeless, burned out, alcoholic, weed-smoking shell of her former self by the end of her deployment.…

Two Recent Titles from Inanna Publications – July 2016

Publications of Toronto produces consistently excellent titles– fiction, poetry and non-fiction written with “perspectives that have the potential not just to educate or entertain, but to excite, enhance and motivate your passion for change”. The following two titles are no exception. First is the novella What Happened to Tom, the second is All My Fallen Angelas, a collection of short fiction.…