Claremont by Wiebke von Carolsfeld

One of the welcome surprises I get from time to time is reading a work of fiction set in a location near where I used to live. Claremont by Wiebke von Carolsfeld (2019, Linda Leith Publishing) is set not only in Toronto but in the Trinity-Bellwoods neighbourhood where I lived for about a year back in the late 1980s. We rented a house on Massey Street (technically in neighbouring West Queen), just a stone’s throw (OK, a 9-minute walk!) to 46 Claremont St.… Continue reading

Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta (Guest Post)

Note: For the past three summers, Naomi of the Consumed by Ink book review blog and I have been swapping a book review. This year I reviewed The Afrikaner by Arianna Dagnino for her site, and she has written a review of the critically-acclaimed book by Jamaican-Canadian author Zalika Reid-Benta, Frying Plantain (2019, House of Anansi Press)*. Naomi writes from Truro, Nova Scotia and reviews a broader range of CanLit than I do, although we sometimes review the same book, which is always interesting!… Continue reading

The Boy on the Bicycle: A Forgotten Case of Wrongful Conviction in Toronto by Nate Hendley

Readers of true crime will be happy to hear that Nate Hendley is back with The Boy on the Bicycle (2018, Five Rivers Publishing). This was a project Mr. Hendley had put on hold while finishing his encyclopedic book The Big Con, which was a history of confidence men, hoaxes and frauds from past to present.

The Boy on the Bicycle revisits the murder of seven-year-old Wayne Mallette on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto 62 years ago in 1956.… Continue reading

The Light a Body Radiates by Ethel Whitty

At fifty-eight pages into The Light a Body Radiates by Ethel Whitty (2018, Caitlin Press), Eileen Macpherson’s grandmother tells her:

“If you’re a storyteller, it’s your job to make it a story that wants to be told. Where we come from, the one who always keeps the stories is the granddaughter.” Then she murmured, “You can be that granddaughter to me.” In response to the confusion she read on my face, she continued in a less conspiratorial tone, “Don’t worry, they’ll be good stories.”

The Light a Body Radiates comprises a good story in its 280+ pages.… Continue reading