Book Reviews

Tainna: The Unseen Ones

Tainna: The Unseen Ones

Tainna, pronounced Da-e-nn-a, features five stories that centre Inuk characters living in the Canadian South. Dunning’s tone throughout the book is candid and colloquial. However, since Tainna is a series of short stories, each story uses a slightly different voice, and that’s where we see the elegance in Dunning’s craft as a writer. 

awâsis–kinky and dishevelled

awâsis–kinky and dishevelled

Louise Bernice Halfe – Sky Dancer’s sixth book, awâsis – kinky and dishevelled, shimmers and cackles on each page. “awâsis” is the nêhiyawêwin word for “child,” but, as Halfe states in the acknowledgements, the word translates beyond the concept of a child to mean “being lent a spiritual being.” Halfe lends the reader a spiritual being throughout the text: the title figure appears in each of the fifty-three poems. 

Always Brave, Sometimes Kind

Always Brave, Sometimes Kind

Always Brave, Sometimes Kind begins with “All the Children We Don’t Know,” an earnest story about Rhanji, a doctor managing hospital overflow and a staffing crisis in 1995. Told through matter-of-fact prose, Bickell tells readers that workers are “used and abused, underpaid and unseen” instead of having readers infer the physical and emotional impacts that healthcare cutbacks have on characters.

Entering Sappho

Entering Sappho

There’s a meditative quality to Entering Sappho, a centrifugal movement that emerges as Dowling reinterprets and remixes her understanding of both the geographical and the literary Sappho. So proceeds “Soft Memory,” my favourite poem in the book, a sequence quickly identifiable as a rewriting of Sappho 31 (her “Ode on the Beloved”).

Kimiko Does Cancer

Kimiko Does Cancer

In the same spirit as the opening page, the book wastes no time diving into Tobimatsu’s diagnosis, treatment, and the aftermath, allowing the reader to get some glimpse into Tobimatsu’s whirlwind of emotions after being diagnosed at the young age of 25. In a matter of days, the diagnosis forced Tobimatsu to make long-term decisions about her fertility, while doctors gave her heteronormative advice on sexual health and appearance.

I Can’t Get You Out of My Mind

I Can’t Get You Out of My Mind

Marianne Apostolides Book*hug Press, 363 pages, $23.00, 2020 Marianne Apostolides delves into the philosophical writings of J.L. Austin and Jacques Derrida in the first few pages of her ambitious novel on what it means to say “I love you”—a universal utterance that is...

Look After Her

Look After Her

By Hannah Brown, Inanna Publications, 448 pages, $22.95, 2020 Packed with action and intrigue, and impeccably paced, Hannah Brown’s debut novel Look After Her is a gripping, accomplished piece of feminist historical fiction that provides insight into the depths of our...

Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian)

Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian)

It is the simplest sentences that devastate in the debut novel from Hazel Jane Plante. “Vivian was my favourite person,” the narrator writes about her best friend, unrequited lover, and fellow femme trans conspirator in the wake of her sudden passing. It’s more a...

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Room 44.4 Cover

ROOM 44.4, Open
Edited by SELINA BOAN
Assistant Editors ASNA SHAIKH and ANGELIC
Shadow Editor HOPE LAUTERBACH

In This Issue: Angelic, Ivy B, Manahil Bandukwala, Ivanna Baranova, Levi Cain, Lindsay Cavanaugh, Lily Chang, Kai Conradi, Sarah Ebba Hansen, Kendra Heinz, Teya Hollier, Liz Howard, Zoe Imani Sharpe, syan jay, Jay Julio, Bonnie S. Kaplan, Kimmortal, Hope Lauterbach, K. Lenek, Nya Lewis, Pinki Li, Annick MacAskill, Kayla MacInnis, britt mcgillivray, Sneha Madhaven-Reese, Anukriti Mishra, Cassandra Meyers, Adesuwa Okoyomon, Pauline Peters, Terese Mason Pierre, Amber Sandy, Trish Sewell, Nadia Siu Van, Linda Trinh, Summer Tyance, Lily Wang, Sanna Wani, Vale Warren, Carrie Jade Williams, Jocelyn Wong, Yu-Sen Zhou

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