Book Reviews

Review: Her Body Among Animals

There is seemingly no situation a Ferrante narrator will not relate to a point of arcane science trivia. When metaphor becomes the primary vehicle for storytelling, the device soon feels forced.

Review: Canada’s Place Names & How to Change Them

As Beck’s research shows, naming is a vital part of how we construct and interpret the world around us. Names can hold clues to the land and celebrate its people and stories; they can also be used to conceal what came before.

Review: Biography of X

A tightrope walk of a novel, Catherine Lacey’s Biography of X deftly weaves speculative fiction and fact into a story about love and abuse, a relationship turned sour and the lengths one will go to for their art.

Review: Through the Billboard Promised Land Without Ever Stopping

Initially penned in 1971, it was not until recently that House Sparrow Press published Derek Jarman’s voyage for the first time. Steeped in notes of Americana, the brief novella is a poetic fairy tale of a fantastical road trip across a trippy landscape.

Review: Boat Life Vol. 1

The perfect blend of the mundane, the nostalgic and the fantastic, Boat Life collects Tsuge Tadao’s stories serialized from 1996-2000 in a wonderful volume. The river might just be the perfect place to escape and find oneself.

Review: Tegan and Sara: Modern Heartthrobs

Unlike many other acts who saw the quality of their music degenerate in inverse proportion to their pocketbooks, Tegan and Sara’s art has only increased in its popularity and reach. Melody Lau does an excellent job of highlighting these tensions.

Review: Continuity Errors

Catriona Wright’s poetry book is for millennials who are climate anxious, financially insecure and over-saturated with the dark humour of the internet.

Review: The Marigold

Equal parts Cronenberg and Ballard, the Toronto of Andrew F. Sullivan’s satirical horror is most effectively unnerving when rendered from the vantage point of foundation pits, damp parking garages, fortress-like backyards and underground tunnels.

Review: Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands

What makes Beaton’s book so powerful and unique is her close watch on the day-to-day life of oil sands work. A glimpse into what a lunchroom looks like, assigned housing, a party, a ride in a truck with a co-worker you trust and a ride with one you don’t.

Review: Troll

Troll tells the story of what happens when one never returns from those youthful spelunking expeditions, but instead chooses to live down in the cave with all the bats, snakes and guano.

Review: Girlfriends

Emily Zhou’s stories have a nice edge to them. At their best, they’re tender and have a nice undercurrent of emotion. There’s a resonance in her 20-something protagonists fumbling around, learning the beats and trying to make a go of it.