Tag

reviews

r

A Fantasy of Indigenous Experience: Cherie Dimaline’s The Girl Who Grew a Galaxy

A

Reviewed in this essay: The Girl Who Grew a Galaxy by Cherie Dimaline. Published by Theytus Books (June 2013). The Girl Who Grew a Galaxy, written by celebrated Ojibway and Métis author Cherie Dimaline, weaves together a story of struggle, hope, and magic. As the main character, Ruby Bloom, experiences a series of traumatic childhood events, planets start to grow around her head. The planets...

Coming Home through African-Canadian Literature: George Elliott Clarke’s Directions Home

C

Reviewed in this essay: George Elliott Clarke’s Directions Home: Approaches to African-Canadian Literature. In 2011, Toronto city councilor Doug Ford dismissed Margaret Atwood’s rally to protect some 99 library branches, adding insult to injury when he said, “I don’t even know her, if she walked by me, I wouldn’t have a clue who she is.” Assumingly then, neither of the Ford brothers could...

Beginning With a Diminished Thing: Marilynne Robinson’s When I Was a Child I Read Books

B

Reviewed in this essay: Marilynne Robinson’s When I Was a Child I Read Books (2012). Part social and cultural critique, theological dialogue, and literary exegesis, When I Was a Child I Read Books is comprised of ten short essays Marilynne Robinson refashioned from lecture tours and lessons over the past decade. Long-time readers of her work will take pleasure in her meditations on the writing...

The no-spin zone: A review of Jonathan Dee’s A Thousand Pardons

T

Reviewed in this essay: A Thousand Pardons, by Jonathan Dee. Random House, 2013. Lance Armstrong could have used a hand from Helen Armstead, the inexperienced public relations guru at the heart of Jonathan Dee’s novel A Thousand Pardons. Whereas Armstrong’s stone-faced mea culpa was undermined by years of deceit, Helen would have had him prostrate before the public from the very start. That, we...

Da Vinci and The Circle at Hot Docs: Science, art, and the imagination

D

Reviewed in this essay: Da Vinci and The Circle at Hot Docs. “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” So states the Albert Einstein epigraph that prefaces Bram Conjaerts’s documentary The Circle, which is currently playing at the Hot Docs festival in a double...

The great Quebecois language balance: Reviewing a guide to interculturalism

T

Reviewed in this essay: L’Interculturalisme: Un point du vue québécois, Gérard Bouchard, Boréal, 2012. Despite the arrival of spring and the Habs’ fantastic playing, Quebec is once again at the brink of an existential crisis. Passions are stirred over Bill 14. Proposed by the PQ “separatist” government, Bill 14 attempts to enforce the supremacy of French in Quebec at the...

The philosophical thriller: A review of Simon Heath’s Doppelganger

T

Reviewed in this essay: Doppelganger, by Simon Heath. Self-published, 2012. Doppelganger will be of special interest to Toronto readers. Although our city is never expressly mentioned named as the setting, locals will recognize several distinctive details. Unmistakeable King Street office blocks, Rosedale doctor’s offices, packed Tim Horton’s and Timothy’s coffee shops, summertime escapes to the...

Staging history: A review of Susan Steudel’s poetry collection, New Theatre

S

Reviewed in this essay: New Theatre by Susan Steudel, Coach House Press, 2012. A high school teacher once passed an antique book of fairy tales around our creative writing class, asking us to make new poems by blacking out and decorating the printed words. Susan Steudel’s debut book of poetry, New Theatre, reminds me of turning the pages of that illuminated book, from which new voices arose out...

Post-apocalyptic collaboration: A review of Margaret Atwood and Naomi Alderman’s The Happy Zombie Sunrise Home

P

Reviewed in this essay: The Happy Zombie Sunrise Home, by Margaret Atwood and Naomi Alderman, Wattpad, 2013. “I dabble in modernity,” Margaret Atwood joked to George Stroumboulopoulos when pressed to explain her recent foray into online self-publishing on Wattpad. Wattpad is a YouTube for digital scribblings, a free online database where writers can instantly upload and edit their own...

Goldstein’s Novels of Ideas: Saul Bellow’s Herzog

G

This piece completes a series of reviews highlighting philosopher-novelist Rebecca Newberger Goldstein’s list of the best “novels of ideas”. Saul Bellow’s Herzog (1964) was ranked first on her list. Herzog is an excellent contender for the top position on a list of novels of ideas. It was instantly heralded as a literary “masterpiece” when it was published in 1964, and won Saul Bellow his second...

Changing the narrative on peace: A review of What We Talk About When We Talk About War

C

Reviewed in this essay: What We Talk About When We Talk About War, Noah Richler, Goose Lane Editions, 2012. George Grant wrote Lament for a Nation before official multiculturalism, before the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, before the liberalization of Canada had begun in earnest. But he understood that his preferred canon of national stories were no longer told, and that new ones were being...

Forgoing truth for drama: Kathryn Bigelow’s not-so-true story Zero Dark Thirty

F

Reviewed in this essay: Zero Dark Thirty, written by Mark Boal. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Starring Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, and Kyle Chandler. Running Time: 157 minutes. Opening in Toronto Jan. 11. Kathryn Bigelow’s Academy Award-winning The Hurt Locker (2009) succeeded as a straightforward study of military bomb disarmers. Although the film was set during the second Iraq War, Bigelow...