When the Hill Came Down by Susan White

New Brunswick author Susan White writes great stories, suitable for young adult readers on up. Past reviews here at TMR include Fear of Drowning, The Memory Chair and Waiting for Still Water. Fine stories all, and I highly recommend them. Now, PEI’s Acorn Press has released her latest, When the Hill Came Down, a story about loss, jealousy, childhood abuse/misuse, love, and redemption.…

Down in the Ground by Bruce Meyer

In the collection of short flash fiction, Down in the Ground, author Bruce Meyer brings both wit and philosophical curiosity to his musings on death. These stories are brief and sometimes startling. In other hands, the subject might be given a maudlin treatment but here, the tone is surprisingly restrained, and at times, ironic.

In the story, “In Place”, ducks, having escaped the guns of hunters, alight on the narrator’s pond only to become frozen in place.…

Blue Summer by Jim Nichols

Maine’s Jim Nichols is one of those authors who write of their locale (in Mr. Nichols’ case, the fictional Baxter, Maine) in a way similar to that of Miramichi’s Wayne Curtis: it transcends the small-town environs with a larger than life writing style. In other words, you don’t have to live here (or there) to “get it”.

It has been five years since Islandport Press released Mr.…

The Only Card In A Deck of Knives by Lauren Turner

her debut collection The Only Card In A Deck of Knives out with Wolsak &Wynn publishers, the poet Lauren Turner takes us “to the edge of something” as she writes in the first line of her poem “If You Haven’t Found Me Yet, Say Good-bye”. But what that something is – gendered illness, vulnerability, anger, personal relationships — changes throughout the collection.…

A Memoir in Poetry: You Won’t Always Be This Sad by Sheree Fitch

I opened up Sheree Fitch’s memoir in poetry You Won’t Always be this Sad and was sobbing by page thirty. The famous Maritime author breaks our hearts once again as we follow along on her journey through grief after her son, Dustin, died at thirty-seven on March 2, 2018. Fitch describes the path to the other side of grief as a labyrinth: one gets lost in a labyrinth, often has to backtrack, finds themselves back where they started, loses a sense of grounding when there’s no sight over the walls, but a labyrinth has an exit.…

The End of Me: Stories by John Gould

In his third collection of very short fiction, Giller Prize finalist (in 2003 for Kilter) John Gould turns his laser focus on death in its infinite variety. A whole book about death might seem intimidating, or, to some, simply depressing. But by approaching the subject from every conceivable angle and constructing his stories using a profusion of refreshing and startling perspectives, Gould keeps his reader guessing and slightly off-balance throughout the volume.…

You Won’t Always Be This Sad: A Book of Moments by Sheree Fitch

Everyone experiences grief in their own way.  Sheree Fitch is a writer and it made perfect sense for her to write about a mother’s deepest grief – the loss of a child.  Within the pages of this book, Sheree shares thoughts and emotions in a continuous poem broken up between pages with the style changing throughout.   

Sheree uses many forms of free verse to communicate her grief. …

The Place of Us by Karen Draper

Karen Draper and her husband are ecstatic to welcome Preston, their first child, into their lives. Joyful anticipation turns to fear when they are told they must prepare to lose him.

We’ve all lost someone. It hurts. Horribly. Most often we scar, heal, and persevere. It’s hardwired, more or less, into the species. But the efficiency of physiological backup and failsafe systems don’t make the excruciating process of loss any easier.…

Signs of Life: Images Formed from Words and Clay by Gerri Frager

all have experience with death. And dying. A couple of my grandparents died at home – apparently the peaceful, in-their-sleep manner. Another went at the hospital. As she passed she said with perfect lucidity, “Oh, look at the beautiful flowers!” (There were no painkillers involved.) The kind of stuff that stays with you, to interpret as you choose. But an in-law of mine passed after a stint at a hospice.…

Silver Linings: Stories of Gratitude, Resiliency, and Growth Through Adversity by Janice Landry

feel that Nova Scotian author Janice Landry is one of those people you would like for a next-door neighbour: she comes across as a genuinely kind, understanding, upbeat person who likely takes care of their property. That’s just the impression she gives, as the reader of Silver Linings (Pottersfield Press) comes to know her as well as the seventeen people she interviews for her latest book, Silver Linings.

Things Worth Burying by Matt Mayr

in New Brunswick, one is all too aware of the role logging played in its history. Masts and wood for sailing ships, for building houses, for heating and the lists go on. It is a comparable story with other heavily forested parts of Canada such as Northern Ontario, where Matt Mayr’s exceptional sophomore novel Things Worth Burying* is set. Black River, located on Lake Superior is a logging town whose boom period is long past, and the once-thriving town is now a former shell of itself.…

The Tender Birds by Carole Giangrande

author Carole Giangrande’s newest novel, The Tender Birds (Inanna Publications) is a type of sequel to her outstanding 2017 novel All That is Solid Melts Into Air in that it expands on the character of Matthew Reilly, the lover of Valerie who leaves her with child and goes off to the Vietnam War. The bulk of the novel takes place in recent years (post 9/11), but there are several instances when the reader is taken back to incidents in a character’s past.…

A Joy To Be Hidden by Ariela Freedman

Having enjoyed two of Linda Leith Publishing’s recent titles (Hutchison Street and The Philistine) I picked up Ariela Freedman’s newest novel, A Joy to be Hidden hoping the quality of writing would be sustained. A few pages in, and I was entirely hooked into reading it. While her protagonist Alice Stein is likeable, it is Ms. Freedman’s intimate description of a corner of New York City in the late 90s that makes A Joy to be Hidden a real joy to read.…

An Exile’s Perfect Letter by Larry Mathews

intelligent humour seems to be in short supply these days, especially when we could all use a little of it in our lives given the depressing dross served up as so-called “news.” An Exile’s Perfect Letter (2018, Breakwater Books) fills that need, particularly for those of us Boomers nearing retirement age like Professor Hugh Norman is. He’s sixty-two and has three more years to go.…

In Every Wave by Charles Quimper, Translated by Guil Lefebvre

Over the few short years of its existence as an imprint of Baraka Books, QC Fiction has now produced nine titles, with a tenth one in the works. Looking back over this diverse catalogue, it would be easy to compare them to snowflakes (no two are alike) or the proverbial sampler box of chocolates. However, I have come to think of QC Fiction as a major league baseball pitcher who has a number of different pitches in his repertoire.…