The Last Crossing

This book is almost deceptively well-crafted. I first pegged The Last Crossing as a standard western/family epic: a simple adventure/love story, with a touch of mystery, wrapped in an admittedly interesting history lesson, and featuring an entertaining if perhaps occasionally cliché canvas of characters. But what Vanderhaeghe delivers is also an incredibly well-paced, thought-provoking pastiche comprised of beautifully interwoven stories. The nuances of both character and plot development are revealed in a patient, organic rhythm that was somewhat lost on me given my sporadic reading of the text. . . . → Read More: The Last Crossing

Deafening

Frances Itani’s Deafening features two highly distinct narrative parts. It begins as the story of a young girl from a small town in Ontario who, after contracting Scarlet Fever, loses her hearing at five years of age. The majority of the first part of the book follows Grania’s struggle to learn language, to develop literacy (both literal and emotional) and, as a result, to learn how to form and maintain relationships after having lost her hearing at such a crucial stage in childhood development. . . . → Read More: Deafening

Woman in Bronze

The second great strength of Woman in Bronze is Antanas Sileika’s precise understanding of a variety of complex art-making techniques and, more importantly, his ability to impart to the reader what it feels like to be an artist. . . . → Read More: Woman in Bronze

The Wars

I’m ashamed to admit that my experience with the works of late, great Canadian author Timothy Findley is woefully limited. Previously, I had read only Pilgrim, his penultimate novel. And I was a little disappointed by it. Regardless, I picked up The Wars, which is generally considered to be the book that put Findley on the map, and which I have always heard mentioned in connection with his name over the years. . . . → Read More: The Wars

Alligator

I picked up Lisa Moore’s Alligator as part of a spontaneous decision to read all of the 2005 Giller Prize nominees. As a graphic designer, I had been drawn to the book long before Giller nomination time, though I had some inintial apprehension about this book, owed pretty much entirely to the jacket synopsis. . . . → Read More: Alligator

The Way the Crow Flies

Ann-Marie MacDonald’s The Way the Crow Flies is the first book I’ve read this year* that has earned a spot on the coveted (well, in my own mind) list of “favourite books I’ve read: ever” list. . . . → Read More: The Way the Crow Flies

The Hatbox Letters

The Hatbox Letters, by Canadian author Beth Powning, was a nice enough book with which to start the year. And if it sounds like I’m damning it with faint praise — you’re not wrong.
. . . → Read More: The Hatbox Letters