Book Reviews

Di Brandt's Walking to Mojácar is reviewed by Libe Garcia-Zarranz in the Winter 2012 issue of The Goose Review. According to Garcia-Zarranz, Walking to Mojácar "raises a series of key issues around environmental degradation and the loss of affective ties, while leaving space for human creativity and intimacy both in the literary realm and the technological arena." She comments on the multiple languages and cultures evoked in the collection: "Fusing English with other languages such as French, German, and Spanish, Walking to Mojácar immerses readers into a transcultural voyage...." To read the full review, click here and scroll to page 92.

The Goose Review's Travis V. Mason discusses Apologetic (Turnstone) by Carla Funk and Outskirts (Brick) by Sue Goyette in the 2012 Issue 10. He highlights the poems of the collection that expore "the groundedness to be found in marriage (or companionship)." He writes, "A trio of poems—'Ars Domestica,' 'Night of the Mead Moon,' and 'Reading in Bed'—occur midway through Apologetic and render moments of domestic companionship as honestly as such moments can be rendered in verse." To read the full review, click here and scroll to page 116.

John Johansen reviews What the Bear Said by W.D. Valgardson in the latest issue of the ALECC (Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada)'s The Goose Issue 11 2012. About the collection of stories / folk tales, Johansen notes, "...many of the tales make it clear that poverty, hunger, cold, and disease afflicted Icelanders as much in the new as in the old Iceland." The reviewer goes on to liken Valgardson's role as storyteller to Stephan G. Stephansson's role as "one of the greatest poets in Icelandic": "What is also clear—and remarkable—is that among the struggling farmers and fishermen who immigrated, and even in such grim circumstances, there were poets and singers (“What the Bear Said,” “Loftur,” “The Poet from Arnes,” “The New World”). Alberta’s Stephan G. Stephansson, one of the greatest poets in Icelandic, was also one of these, and Valgardson himself is perhaps their cultural and spiritual descendant." To read the full review, click here and scroll to page 98.

Derek Newman-Stille of Speculating Canada gives Karen Dudley's Food for the Gods an excellent review:

"Dudley combines the playful engagement with mythology of Xena with the culinary interplay of celebrity cooking shows, and a healthy dose of mystery and crime-solving...I look forward to more of Dudley’s work with a fork in one hand, a spyglass in the other, and ancient Greek pottery on the table."

Read the full review here.

Reviewer Susan Rocan of the literary blog recently published her reaction to Chadwick Ginther's Thunder Road:

"...the action in the story is fast-paced and, at times, almost heart stopping. There were many times I found myself holding my breath, wondering what was going to happen next."

Read the full review here.

Ian Goodwillie of The Winnipeg Review calls Food for the Gods by Karen Dudley "unique" and "brilliant": "Dudley has quite elegantly and creatively taken a classic Greek myth and woven it into something unique. The base idea of taking Pelops, someone who had been served up as food for the gods, and making him into a chef, is brilliant." Read the full review here.

Dora Dueck's recent collection of short fiction, What You Get at Home, is reviewed in the December 2012 issue of the Mennonite Historian. The review praises Dora for "developing deep characters with surprisingly few words" and her exploration of themes such as "loss, success, disappointment, faith and community."

"This novel is an enjoyable romp through later middle age – it’s about time this stage of life was explored – and the pursuit of romantic happiness. ...As Williamson describes in immaculate detail, finding love in late middle age is a dangerous pursuit. All the individuals, including Jenkins, are damaged goods carrying the baggage of a lifetime. Given this, one could expect Dating to be a depressing novel – but it’s not. Somehow, hope persists. This is the gift that Williamson’s novel offers."

-- John Herbert Cunningham
Prairie Fire Review of Books
Read the full review of Dating by Dave Williamson here.

"What You Get at Home is a collection of 15 very satisfying short stories by Winnipeg author Dora Dueck. ...Perhaps the most poignant of the stories is 'My Name Is Magdalena.' A woman attends a writing class but writing a story brings back so many tragic memories – of moving from Ukraine to east of the Urals, then back again, and then, during World War II, having to flee with three young sons before the advancing Germans. This woman’s heartbreaking story deserves a whole book."

-- Donna Firby Gamache
Prairie Fire Review of Books
Read the full review of What You Get at Home by Dora Duck here.

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Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

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