A Philosopher, a Psychologist, and an Extraterrestrial Walk into a Chocolate Bar by Jass Richards

Spike, a psychologist and activist, and Jane, a philosopher and writer, leave their dead-end temp jobs in Toronto and head for Paris--on their lunch break--by car, stopping frequently to stock up on chocolate. Along the way, they meet X, a lost extraterrestrial.

Deli Meat by Tom Halford

At one point in Deli Meat (2018, Crooked Cat Books), Bree Arms tells her husband Todd that she is reading a book called, um, Deli Meat. She tells him it “is weird as hell and twice as strange,” which is a good summing up of the book itself. It was a very delightful type of weirdness and strangeness that I found between the blood-red covers of author Tom Halford’s first book.… Continue reading

Explosions by Mathieu Poulin (Translated by Aleshia Jensen)

Micheal Bay and the Pyrotechnics of the Imagination, you may, at first glance think this is an authorized biography of the acclaimed action film director and producer of such movies as Bad Boys, Armageddon and Transformers.  A closer look at the cover reveals the disclaimer: “A Novel.” So what we have here is a fictional story built around real people and events, an approach that movie enthusiast and first-time Quebec author Mathieu Poulin manages to carry off beautifully in Explosions (2018, QC Fiction, originally published in 2015 as Des Explosions), which has been scrupulously translated from French by Aleshia Jensen.*

The main premise in Explosions is that Michael Bay considers himself an intellectual director whose films traverse deep philosophical territory, as he explains to his ex-girlfriend, Daphné who is unconvinced:

“My films are essays on serious and complex topics.… Continue reading

Bag of Hammers by Edward Riche

I‘ve always been a fan of good satire. Back in the late 70’s and 80’s I read National Lampoon magazine monthly, watched Saturday Night Live and SCTV weekly. Read Doonesbury and Bloom County Babylon daily. Then came This Hour Has 22 Minutes on CBC. This show introduced me to East Coast humour and satire, specifically that of Newfoundland origins.

Although I’ve never been there (yet), the island of Newfoundland appears to me as a distinct society, as much as Quebec certainly does.… Continue reading

The Mill Town Councilor by Paul McAllister

I discovered The Mill Town Councilor quite by accident: I was picking up a copy of Robert McKay’s The Back Road and Beyond when I noticed this large (480 page) book with a photo of one of Miramichi’s mills on the front. Of course, I just had to get a copy, and am I ever happy I did! This is one rollicking story that everyone will enjoy.… Continue reading