In Progress: Stories by Catharine Leggett

Catharine Leggett lives in London, Ontario and In Progress was the winner of the Eludia Award, which is given yearly by Hidden River Publishing as a first-book award, for a book-length work of fiction (either a short story collection or a novel) by a woman writer, age 40 or above. Recognition like this from a publisher is not easy to come by, so even before I opened the cover, I knew that In Progress met with someone's standards for what good stories should be.

A Dark House and Other Stories by Ian Colford

I never had an opportunity to read Ian Colford’s previous book, Perfect World (2016, Freehand Books), but I had read many positive thoughts about it on social media and elsewhere. For example, Naomi MacKinnon (of Consumed by Ink) said of it in a guest review here: “By writing this book, Ian Colford has given us a chance to vicariously experience a life that is hard for many of us to imagine.” Anne Logan (of I’ve Read This) said of Perfect World in her review: “Colford doesn’t feel the need to show empathy for his protagonist, but his respect for the reader is evident in his succinct and unsentimental sentences.”

A Dark House and Other Stories* is a collection of eight stories covering about 180 pages, so the stories here are not too short, but are long enough for character development, particularly of each protagonist’s thoughts which is a standout characteristic of Mr.… Continue reading

Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta (Guest Post)

Note: For the past three summers, Naomi of the Consumed by Ink book review blog and I have been swapping a book review. This year I reviewed The Afrikaner by Arianna Dagnino for her site, and she has written a review of the critically-acclaimed book by Jamaican-Canadian author Zalika Reid-Benta, Frying Plantain (2019, House of Anansi Press)*. Naomi writes from Truro, Nova Scotia and reviews a broader range of CanLit than I do, although we sometimes review the same book, which is always interesting!… Continue reading

The Forbidden Purple City by Philip Huynh

While Philip Huynh's The Forbidden Purple City is a collection of short stories, they reflect the experience of his generation's being born and growing up in Canada. As such, they are a refreshing perspective on their culture (past and present) that many of us are not familiar with, nor have we read much of the literature resulting from their life experiences.

Use Your Imagination! by Kris Bertin

Halifax-based writer Kris Bertin has won many awards for his previous short story collection, Bad Things Happen (2016, Biblioasis) and I'm sure that Use Your Imagination! (2019, Vagrant Press*) will garner its share. Composed of seven stories spread over 200 pages, these are the type of short stories you can really get into.