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.… Continue reading

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.… Continue reading

Songs for the Cold of Heart by Eric Dupont (translated by Peter McCambridge)

Note to readers: In lieu of the regular review that I would normally post, I am instead publishing a letter* I received from a reader regarding Songs for the Cold of Heart (2018, QC Fiction). I found it fairly sums up my thoughts on the book, and I reprint it here with the sender’s permission.

Dear Mr. Fisher,

May I call you James? I am one of the 12 subscribers to your blog (I do hope you get more soon, people don’t know what they are missing) and I wanted to not only thank you for alerting your few readers to the fact that the east coast of Canada has many fine writers, but la belle province has a number of them as well.… Continue reading

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. Very much like we did with The Stone Angel and The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.… Continue reading

Malagash by Joey Comeau

(The following is an excerpt from a review written by Naomi MacKinnon at Consumed by Ink. It is reproduced here in part with her kind permission.)

Malagash is a gem of a book. And I can’t think of anyone I wouldn’t recommend it to.

The title of the book refers to the community where the story is set. Malagash is located along the north shore of Nova Scotia and is one of those places you can easily pass through without knowing you are there.… Continue reading

This Side of Sad by Karen Smythe

Karen Smythe is the author of a short-story collection, Stubborn Bones, and Figuring Grief. Her stories have also appeared in Grain, the Fiddlehead, the Antigonish Review, and the Gaspereau Review. She lives in Guelph, Ontario.

This Side of Sad (2017, Goose Lane Editions) is Ms. Smythe’s first novel and it is a singularly fascinating one. It is told in the voice of Maslen, a fifty-ish woman who has just lost her husband James in what appears to be an accidental shooting behind their farm in Ontario.… Continue reading