Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category
North of Boston is Elisabeth Elo’s debut novel, and to me it is a real winner. It certainly held my interest and I found that, at times, I was unable to put this books down.
Pirio Kasparov, heir to a very successful perfume business which her Russian immigrant parents founded, is our protagonist. She is a gritty, smart and complex woman. When Pirio’s mother died, the girl was just 10 years old. Her deceased mother’s will stipulates that when Pirio turns 21 years old, she will inherit her mother’s share of the extremely successful business, Inessa Mark, Inc. and that if she wants full ownership, the company would revert to her upon her eccentric father’s death. Pirio has joined the company where she works as “CEO in training.” Scent permeates much of the novel – the scent of perfume, ambergris, herbs, flowers, etc. And the smells of the sea also play an important part in the author’s descriptive passages.
Lynn Coady’s new story collection, HELLGOING, brings together nine self-contained stories that take a realistic and thought provoking look at a wide range of human relationships in today’s world. Reading them we are pushed or pulled into something like a voyeur role, observing in close-up fragments of ongoing or evolving relationships between an array of distinct characters, be they in couples, with family or friends, or crossing paths in professional or casual encounters. Some of the stories can take you on a bit of a rough ride; they rarely are smooth, easy or the content just pleasant. While they might leave us with a sense of unease they also stimulate us to consider more deeply the underlying questions and issues that the author raises.
Elizabeth Hay centres her superb, enchanting and deeply moving novel around Norma Joyce and sister Lucinda, her senior by nine years. Set against the beautifully evoked natural environments of Saskatchewan and Ontario, and spanning over more than thirty years, the author explores in sometimes subtle, sometimes defter, ways the sisters’ dissimilar characters. One is an “ugly duckling,” the other a beauty; one is rebellious and lazy, the other kind, efficient and unassuming… I
In her debut novel, EVERYTHING WAS GOODBYE, Gurjinder Basran tells the story of one happy-unhappy family, seen through the eyes of Meena, the youngest of six sisters. Set against the backdrop of suburban British Columbia, Basran paints a richly coloured portrait of a close-knit Punjabi community, caught between the traditions of “home” in India and their Canadian home, where their community is surrounded by a predominantly white, rather laid-back English-speaking society. With an impressively confident approach to a complex subject matter and a lively and engaging writing style, the young Indian-Canadian author explores the emotional turmoil, faced by a girl/young woman like Meena, experiencing the two cultures intimately. Traditional family values are assessed against the young heroine’s need for independence and emotional fulfillment.
October 3, 2011
Â· Judi Clark Â· Comments Closed
Tags: British Columbia, Fictional Biography, Immigration-Diaspora, Indian, Loyalty Â· Posted in: Canada, Class - Race - Gender, Debut Novel, World Lit, y Award Winning Author
Three Pines is a village near MontrÃ©al that is so small it does not appear on any map. For its size, this town has had an inordinate number of murders; solving them is the job of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the SÃ»retÃ© de Quebec and his team of detectives. This time, the victim is a woman, Lillian Dyson, whose art criticism years ago was so caustic that she was responsible for putting an end to budding careers. Louise Penny’s A Trick of the Light is all about artistsâ€”their insecurities, craving for recognition, pettiness, resentment, and jealousy.
September 2, 2011
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: AA, Alcoholic, Art, Good & Evil, Montreal, Murder Mystery, Small Town Â· Posted in: Canada, Character Driven, Reading Guide, Sleuths Series, y Award Winning Author
The world that Alexander MacLeod’s protagonists inhabit is not an easygoing or a comfortable one, it is – a realistic one. Set in different urban milieus, most of his characters are young, struggling to get ahead in life. Some confront personal adversity, hoping for companionship or friendship, others attempt to find solace and even redemption. With his debut story collection MacLeod exhibits an exquisite writing talent that succeeds in capturing, with precision and depth, both the inner workings of the individual’s psyche and their social and physical circumstances. The back cover of the book describes the author – very aptly I find – as a writer of “ferocious physicality”.