Exile Blues by Douglas Gary Freeman

recently watched the 2013 movie Lee Daniel’s The Butler which I thought notable for vividly depicting the struggle for desegregation in Washington D.C. during the late 1950s and early 1960s by both peaceful and radical means. Viewed through the lens of time, it is even more shocking to think that humans treated other humans less favourably based on skin colour alone.…

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.…

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.…

The Pink House and Other Stories by Licia Canton

I enjoy reading short story collections, particularly when there are connections between the stories, for instance, reoccurring characters. Such is the case in Licia Canton’s The Pink House and Other Stories (2018, Longbridge Books), her second collection of short fiction.

The two main characters throughout the majority of the stories are Rita, an Italian-Canadian, and an unnamed woman who gets struck by a car outside the Bell Centre in Montreal.…

The Art and Passion of Guido Nincheri by Mélanie Grondin

The beauty of many old churches (particularly cathedrals, basilicas, etc.) is in their architecture as well as in their religious art, whether it is the many large frescoes or the exquisite stained glass windows that adorn them. The late (1885-1973) Italian-Canadian artist and stained glass master Guido Nincheri has enjoyed a recent resurgence of interest, thanks to his grandson Roger Bocchini Nincheri who has been tirelessly photographing and cataloging his grandfather’s hundreds of existing works.…

Behind the Eyes We Meet by Mélissa Verreault

Verreault has a master’s degree in translation from Université Laval in Quebec City and lives in Lévis with her Italian husband and their triplets. She has published three novels in French. Behind The Eyes We Meet is the English translation of L’angoisse du poisson rouge, her first novel to be translated. The translator is Arielle Aaronson.

Behind The Eyes We Meet is several stories in one, that of Sergio (a POW in WWII) and his grandson Fabio, who emigrated to Canada and now resides in Montreal, and Manue (short for Emmanuelle) who discerns that there is something missing from her twenty-something life.…

Gravitational Fields by Harry Rajchgot

“A Novel of Peacetime & War”, Gravitational Fields (2016) by Harry Rajchgot is an epic (450 pages) story that covers the events of the Jewish people from pre-WWII through the struggle to establish the Israeli State to living in Canada. In particular, it is the story of Duvid Grynstzyn (later David Gryn) and how he escaped the small Polish village that was exterminated of Jews by the German army, losing all of his family in a moment of time.…

In Many Waters by Ami Sands Brodoff

Award-winning author Ami Sands Brodoff’s newest novel, In Many Waters (Inanna 2017) takes place primarily in Malta where Zoe, along with her brother Cal were born and raised. The story begins in Malta. It is 2007 and it has been 7 years since Zoe and Cal lost their parents, Cassandra and Lior, in a surfing accident in waters off Mexico. Zoe dislikes being on the water, for it means you could be in it, a fear instilled in her when as a child, her father threw her into the water in a “sink or swim” moment: “Zoe never quite forgave him for that scare.

Gambling with Fire by David Montrose

Ricochet Books is a series of vintage noir mysteries from Véhicule Press of Montreal, QC. Gambling with Fire is their latest release and the fourth novel written by New Brunswick-born David Montrose,the pen name of Charles Ross Graham (1920-1968). Originally released in 1968, Graham had passed away only a few months previously.

Montreal, Post-WWII

The setting is Montreal just after the end of the second world war.…