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Books

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Finding the Enemy: Plaza Requiem, by Martha Batíz

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Few happy endings take place in Plaza Requiem, the aptly titled short story collection by Mexican-Canadian author Martha Bátiz, recently published by Exile Editions, but a lucidity exists in Bátiz’s writing that buoys the reader through her most gruesome tales. Bátiz, a Mexican writer now living in Canada, is the author of several books in Spanish, both fiction and non-fiction. She now teaches at...

Portrait of an Invisible Artist: Transit by Rachel Cusk

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Only one book I read last year rivalled Rachel Cusk’s Transit, the sequel to her 2014 novel Outline. That other book was Outline. Transit won’t thrill everyone: it will enrage those expecting plot, and it may unsettle those expecting a straightforward depiction of family drama and self-discovery. But many will read it with the breathless exhilaration it deserves. Like Outline, Transit is a series...

Reading Life: Kathryn Kuitenbrower

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For the third instalment in the TRB’s Reading Life series, Kelli Deeth sat down with Toronto novelist Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer. Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer is the author of the novels All The Broken Things, Perfecting, and The Nettle Spinner, as well as, the short story collection, Way Up. Her work has been published in Granta, The Walrus, and Storyville, where she won the Sidney Prize. She is...

“The whole art of everything is about forgetting yourself” – A Conversation with Alice Oswald

Alice Oswald’s collections include Dart, which won the 2002 T.S. Eliot Prize, Woods etc. (Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize), A Sleepwalk on the Severn (Hawthornden Prize), Weeds and Wildflowers (Ted Hughes Award) and, more recently, Memorial, which won the 2013 Warwick Prize for Writing. “Dunt,” included in this collection, was awarded the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. Her latest book, Falling...

“Rosily I Will Squander Myself”: A Review of 3 Summers by Lisa Robertson

Bear with me while I tell you, briefly, about Epicureanism: a philosophy about a world without divine judgment, where nothing you are or do in your lifetime is anything more than what it is. This is a world without sin but also without transcendent meaning. There are definitely gods, as befitting an idea forged in ancient Greece, but there is no grand, God-given plan. Amanda Jo Goldstein calls...

The Season – On Football Books and Football

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The referee blew the whistle, the ball went to our centre-back. He passed it out wide to me. Quicker than I expected. I took a quick step out toward the ball and twisted my ankle as I landed. I even thought I heard a snap as I fell down on to the turf. I limped to the sidelines and sat, looking uselessly for ice. In my sleep, that night, I was still playing: turning with the ball, untouched...

Bromance Revisited: A Review of Fugue States, by Pasha Malla

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If there is one aspect of Pasha Malla’s new novel, Fugue States, that will linger in the mind long after you’ve finished the last page, it will be the book’s supremely rendered portrait of an obnoxious friend from the past. Have we all not had someone like this in our lives before? A person whom we’ve known for years, even decades, and maintained a relationship with out of a dyed-in-the-wool...

Karen E. Bender’s Reading Life: Oh, that sentence

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We’re delighted to bring you the second instalment in our Reading Life series, a look into the books at the heart of American author Karen E. Bender’s life and work. Karen E. Bender is the author of the story collection Refund, which was a Finalist for the 2015 National Book Award and shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. She is also the author of...

Nuannaarpoq: Thomas Wharton’s Every Blade of Grass

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In all of his literary fiction, Thomas Wharton speculates on one question: what is a book? Answers are as various as books themselves. Wharton imagines fantastic books: books as pinwheels and books nested inside books until they were too tiny even to read. Audio-books and graphic novels stretch books in the direction of the purely acoustic and the primarily visual. In e-formats, a book no longer...

Death is Not the End: A Review of Patience by Daniel Clowes

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Few artists have done more to elevate the status of comics in the public imagination than Daniel Clowes, and Patience, as befits a graphic novel billed as “a cosmic timewarp deathtrip to the primordial infinite of everlasting love,” is his longest and most ambitious work yet. It opens in 2012, as underemployed schlub Jack Barlow finds his pregnant wife Patience dead in their apartment, brutally...

Bina Shah’s A Season for Martyrs

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The funeral congregated in Liaquat National Bagh park. Angry clerics denounced the government for allowing the execution to proceed, and an ambulance strewn with flowers carried Mumtaz Qadri’s body slowly through the crowds. When Qadri was executed for the murder of Punjab governor and Benazir Bhutto loyalist Salman Taseer on February 29th, Pakistan’s sharp ideological divisions and complexities...

The Talk of the Canadian Writers’ Summit

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Last week at the Canadian Writers’ Summit in Toronto many people who work with words walked around blearily, carrying canvas bags, seeing old friends, wilting in the heat. Things are tough for us writers, publishers, and editors. There is great gloom, there is despair! Gentle reader: there is also hope. The Canadian Writers’ Summit is a superconference intended to bring together people who would...