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.… Continue reading

Melba’s Wash by Reesa Steinman Brotherton

Grand Manan Island is part of the province of New Brunswick and has a population of just over 2,000 (as of 2016). It is also the setting for Melba’s Wash by Reesa Steinman Brotherton, who was born in New Brunswick, and whose own story slightly follows that of Esther, the main protagonist.

It’s difficult to summarize the storyline of Melba’s Wash. As I was reading it, I couldn’t help but think of Eric Dupont’s Songs for the Cold of Heart: both have similar plots, spanning generations and various settings, and with a mirthful undertone for what is a dramatic story full of poverty, teen pregnancies, more pregnancies, deaths and secrets, lots of secrets.… Continue reading

Summer Shortlisting 2019: Best First Books!

It’s time to start revealing the short-listed titles for the 2019 “The Very Best!” Book Awards!

This year, I thought I would streamline the entire process for selecting books for “The Very Best!” Book Awards. While maintaining a running longlist throughout my reading year, I thought it best to pare that huge list down to two or three books in each category (Best First Book, Short Fiction, Fiction and Non-Fiction).… Continue reading

Side by Side by Anita Kushwaha

According to the Government of Canada website, every day, an average of more than 10 Canadians dies by suicide. For every person lost to suicide, many more experience thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts. For every death by suicide, at least 7 to 10 survivors are significantly affected by the loss. For Kavita Gupta, the protagonist of Anita Kushwaha’s award-winning novel Side by Side, it is the loss of her brother Sunil that has affected her and her parents.… Continue reading