Book Reviews

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...

Sonnet’s Shakespeare

Sonnet’s Shakespeare

Sonnet L’Abbé’s third poetry collection is an incredibly ambitious project that assimilates William Shakespeare’s poetry, and it does not disappoint. Letter by letter, L’Abbé inserts her own language into his poetry, erasing and engulfing his words into her own. While...

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44.3 Indigenous Brilliance cover

ROOM 44.3, Indigenous Brilliance
Edited by Karmella Cen Benedito De Barros, Emily Dundas Oke, Jessica Johns, Patricia Massy & Jaye Simpson

In This Issue: Afuwa, Binish Ahmed, Jamaica Baldwin, Mariam Barry, Karmella Cen Benedito De Barros, Jo Billows, Brandi Bird, Jaime Blankinship, Moe Butterfly, Juanita Cordova, ‘Cúagilákv (Jess Housty), Francine Cunningham, Em Day, Amah Cynthia Dongo (A.C.D.), Justin Ducharme, Meghan Eaker, Edzi’u, Ooleepeeka Eegeesiak, Prudence Emudianughe, Jenny Ferguson, Sunkosi Galay-Tamang, Hannah Victoria Gentes, Ciana Hamilton, Whess Harman, Karlene Harvey (Holy Smoookes), Ocean Hyland, Wanda John-Kehewin, Samantha Jones, Valeen Jules, Jónína Kirton, Cheyenne Rain LeGrande ᑭᒥᐊᐧᐣ, KL Lyons, Lucy Mahoney, Samantha Martin-Bird, Hailey Bird Matheson, Amber McCrary, Frankie McDonald, Nahanni McKay, Tiffany Morris, Samantha Nock, Leece Oliver, Michelle Porter, Gretchen Potter, Tricia Rainwater-Tutwiler, Sado.thestrange, Reanna Lorraine Savard, Kayla Shaggy, Madeson Singh, Toni Giselle Stuart, Kay Thomas, jaz whitford, Senaqwila Wyss, Cheyenne Wyzzard-Jones, Sussan Yáñez – Kallfümalen

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