Category: Literary Fiction Reviews

A review of The Arab’s Ox by Tony Ardizzone

Morocco stands for something to each of the characters.  In order to decipher this symbol in their lives, they must look inward. They each arrive at a turning point in which Morocco speaks back to them, helps them discover its meaning to them.  For Henry, Ahmed becomes his guide not only to various Moroccan sites, but to his own mortality.  Rosemary, an American ex-patriate, a grizzled but classy woman, sees her younger self in Sarah and tries to steer her toward a different future. 

A review of The Lucky Galah by Tracy Sorensen

It’s hard to believe that The Lucky Galah is a debut. It’s an ambitious, complex novel full of varying points of view, voices, historical narration, a variety of themes, and all sorts of subtle references, including many literary links and allusions, but the writing is so assured and smooth that these complexities become rich undercurrents that seamlessly integrate into the story rather than digressions.

A review of Incredible Floridas by Stephen Orr

Times and places appear to so often remain in a form of flux throughout this novel, and to help me keep track I began underlining the locations with a yellow highlighter. As for those past decades chosen by Orr, I only have to close my eyes and it all comes back to me as if it were yesterday. Every neighbourhood seemed to have a problem son like Orr’s Hal: the one who started all the fires, or sometimes shot at you with his air rifle, and all too often kicked a neighbour’s garbage tin up and down the street.

A review of This Far Isn’t Far Enough by Lynn Sloan

Sloan’s characters are from various walks of life: an art dealer, a sculptor, a soldier, a convenience store clerk, a female prize fighter and several disillusioned mothers. Bullying, dishonest superiors, exploitative friends, devoted friends, women who love too much, and the darker side of parent-child relationships are examined in this collection

A review of I Don’t Want to Know Anyone Too Well by Norman Levine

Lives in these stories never turn out as expected, but they do have the accomplish, the finish, of a life that feels real; sometimes to the point of unbearable pain. Whether it be an old friend that the protagonist bumps into that he can’t connect with, or a father whom he wishes not to be similar to in anyway, for his lack of power, these characters resonate with the human flicker of reality; the chaos that lurks behind the ordinary lives of strangers.

A review of Plane Tree Drive by Lynette Washington

Lynette Washington is s-o-o-o-o-o good at this. She first prepares you with just the necessary brush strokes and then really delivers. All so clever, so unexpected, so unique and the more I read, the more I want. This is addictive reading at its best.

A review of Shriek: an absurd novel by Davide A Cottone

Perhaps the cover says it all? Yes, you can begin to judge this particular book by its cover because inside and throughout all those white pages a hurricane is at work endeavouring to yank everything of life’s rationalizations into shards of disbelief.

A review of Three Nations Anthology edited by Valerie Lawson

At the end of “Turtle Island Turtle Rattle”, author Sarah Xerar Murphy writes, “If we cannot find a way to welcome and treat fairly with the stranger, how will we ever find our own way home?”It would be a good thing if there were more books like Three Nations Anthology, to highlight things that human beings have in common

A review of The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc by Ali Alizadeh

The facts are engaging enough as a history, but Alizadeh’s portrait of a young women in love, coupled with his exploration of the patriarchal, uncertain nature of both historical account and memory (“Or does she?”) takes this story to a new level.  Alizadeh’s Jeanne allows for the contradictions in the varied voices that are both inside and outside of his subject and also calls attention to the fact that narrative is something that is constructed rather than something inherent.

A review of That Stubborn Seed of Hope by Brian Falkner

With great writing skill Brian Falkner uses simple but effective language to continue the exploration of human emotions throughout the book. Some of his stories are sad, some quite dark and one or two almost funny but at the turn of each page the reader feels a tugging of the heartstrings, or worse, something delving into the mind stirring up those repressed feelings that nobody wants to talk about.