Still Crying for Help: The Failure of Our Mental Healthcare Services by Sadia Messaili

This is a true story about the suicidal death of a 32-year-old man, Ferid Ferkovic, the son of the author. It is a story told straight from a mother’s heart with nothing but a loyal love for her son and her total discouragement with the Quebec mental healthcare system that failed her and her son. It has been translated from the French by Alishia Jensen.…

Lightness by Fanie Demeule, trans. by Anita Anand

to one source, 90% of all anorexics are females. They lose a few pounds but are still not satisfied. They become obsessed with reaching the “ideal” weight, but it’s a moving target, practically unattainable. Such is the case with the unnamed young woman in Lightness (Déterrer les os in French) by Quebec author Fanie Demeule, which has been translated into English by Anita Anand.*…

The Art of the Fall, a Play Translated by Danielle Le Saux-Farmer

Fiction could never be labelled as predictable. It has published divergent kinds of contemporary French fiction titles which it carefully translates into English to gain a wider audience. Witness what happened recently with Eric Dupont’s Songs for the Cold of Heart: a prestigious Giller nomination that made the publishing world take notice that there is a virtually untapped market for translations.…

Blue Bear Woman by Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau

Originally published in French as Ourse Bleu in 2007, Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau’s book has the distinction of being the first novel published in Quebec by an Indigenous woman. Now, English readers have Blue Bear Woman, a translation by Susan Ouriou and Christelle Morelli and published by Inanna Publications.* Blue Bear Woman is a powerful little novel of a mixed blood Cree/Métis woman (Victoria is her given name) searching for the memories of her past growing up in the James Bay area of Quebec.…

The Little Fox of Mayerville by Éric Mathieu, Translated by Peter McCambridge

Éric Mathieu’s The Little Fox of Mayerville (translated by Peter McCambridge)* represents a bit of a departure from recent QC Fiction offerings such as Prague and In the End They Told Them all to Get Lost, which while being ingenious works of fiction, may not have been to everyone’s taste like the Giller-nominated Songs for the Cold of Heart.

Walmart: Diary of an Associate by Hugo Meunier, Translated by Mary Foster

In Miramichi, Walmart is one of the very few places to get items like clothing, housewares and electronics. As such, it is a pretty busy place, as are most Walmarts I have been in throughout North America.  Honestly, I never give much thought to the people that work there (the Associates) since I usually know what I want and where to find it.…

The Daughters’ Story by Murielle Cyr

I would like to start this review* by quoting the Author’s Note at the end of the text: “Although the references to historical names and events are real, this story remains, first and foremost, a work of fiction. October of 1970 was a tumultuous time for the people of Quebec. Emotions ran high, ideals soared and plummeted, yet they emerged from this with a clearer, more confident vision of themselves as a society.…

The Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster: Public Betrayal, Justice Denied by Bruce Campbell

­It has been a little over five years since the July 2013 rail disaster that thrust the small Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic into national headline news. A runaway train descended on the town, derailing at a curve in the track, spilling its highly combustible payload in the centre of the town, igniting the worst disaster on Canadian soil since the Halifax Explosion in 1917.…

Motherhood: The Mother of All Sexism by Marilyse Hamelin

When I first received this review copy in the mail, I wasn’t sure what to expect, or even if I would be interested in it, since neither my wife nor I am a parent. Nevertheless, I started reading it, and as usual, I got caught up in the subject and learned a few things along the way. Until I read this book, I have never fully understood why, when a child is sick, that it is the mother that needs to drop everything (including her work) and retrieve the child from daycare or school.…

The Carpenter From Montreal by George Fetherling

I love noir fiction (and film), so I was eager to read this book of criminal men with power, some in control, some out of control in the Prohibition Era of 1920-1933. On the back cover of The Carpenter from Montreal (2017, Linda Leith Publishing) it states to any curious reader that may pick up this novel: “In this cinematic and genre-bending novel, George Fetherling both honours the roots of serious noir fiction while also pushing its boundaries.”…

Hutchison Street by Abla Farhoud

Translated by Judith Weisz Woodsworth, Hutchison Street (2018, Linda Leith Publishing) is a collection of character sketches spun into a tapestry of interconnected short stories as colourful as the inhabitants of the actual street itself. The book is divided into two parts (like the street itself): The Mile End Side and the Outremont Side. An interlude provides the author a pause to give an explanation of what makes the street so unique:

The houses on Hutchison Street have stayed pretty much the same.…

Nirliit by Juliana Léveillé-Trudel

On the back cover of Nirliit (2018, Véhicule Press) there is a quote by Dorothée Berryman of La Presse that perfectly sums up how I felt about reading this small, but transcendent novel: “I’m about to reread this book because its powerful beauty haunts me.” I did reread the book, but only after I was almost finished it and I felt I needed to go back to recapture the mood of the book; I felt I was reading it too fast and not absorbing the acute perceptions of the author regarding her time spent in the northern Quebec Inuit village of Salluit.…

The Sweet Bloods of Eeyou Istchee by Ruth DyckFehderau

According to the Diabetes Canada website, there are 11 million Canadians living with diabetes or prediabetes. Every three minutes, another Canadian is diagnosed. For the James Bay Cree living in the territory of Eeyou Istchee in Northern Quebec, “fully one-third of the adults have been diagnosed with type 2 or gestational diabetes and more remain undiagnosed.”

The Sweet Bloods of Eeyou Istchee was produced by creehealth.org