June 3, 2017
It’s been a busy winter and spring, but thanks to a feast of books by friends and acquaintances there has always been a good book by the bedside to make me reluctant to drop off to sleep. Here’s what I like best about all of them (starting with last read).
Mark Sampson: The Slip
Well I haven’t read it yet. But my favorite thing about it so far is the way he cracked himself up at the launch, reading from the first few pages. Also, the way he likened going down the basement stairs to descending into an “unfinished gizzard.”
Patti Flaher: Paradise
The play interweaves the narratives of a young Canadian man of Afghani descent who goes to volunteer in Afghanistan and gets arrested, and that of his childhood friend, who is also traumatized while travelling. But the greatest dangers to these young people are seeded and cultivated close to home, even when they happen on other shores.
Terri Favro: Sputnik’s Children
I’m torn between saying “the ending” — which is a real ending, but is also open-ended — and the blurred line between the character’s imaginal life and the real moment in history she is experiencing. Actually, the two things are so intimately related I don’t have to choose (see great ending, above).
Catriona Wright: Table Manners
Peter Greenaway should direct the movie of this book.
Karen Mulhallen: Seasons in an Unknown Key
These are luscious poems of love and loss, and they’re set in Toronto. I know I should get over this, but Toronto to me is still Murray’s restaurant and no drinking on Sundays. In this book, the city wears passion well.
Rebecca Rosenblum: So Much Love
It’s all in the title. It’s a book about brutality but it somehow revolves around love. By finding the love in even the most violent scenes Rosenblum makes them tolerable but also somehow compulsory to read, as a kind of bearing witness.
Kerry Clare: Mitzi Bytes
Two words: domestic scenes. From sex between two tired people who are deeply in love, to the “acrobatics” of household management to the savageness and tenderness of siblings, to the way parents collaborate in keeping a home on an even keel, even as they fight. Clare captures the way a household both reflects the outside world and shields the family from it.
Eva Stachniak The Chosen Maiden
This is a book about endurance. Bronia Nijinska is a brilliant artist, but she’s got too many people depending on her to flame out. She’s forced to adapt, to produce under different conditions, to keep her vision alive in the face of competing needs, impossible decisions and enormous egos. She’s an artist in a way many women are artists: as mothers, daughters, administrators and wives, and she keeps getting better all the time.