Monday, September 18, 2017

You Don't Have To Say You Love Me

Sherman Alexie. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me. Little, Brown, 2017.

I've been coveting this book since before it was released, giving subtle hints and not so subtle kites, trying to make it materialize into my life. I finally found it at Munro's Books in Victoria at the end of August and I forced myself to wait to read it until I could guarantee it my undivided attention. And I have consumed its 450+ pages in less than 48 hours.

You Don't Have To Say You Love Me is a memoir of grief following the death of Alexie's mother Lillian. 

Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reserve and escaped through education, words, to become a writer/raconteur who has lived in Seattle for the last two dozen years. I first became aware of him as the writer behind the movie Smoke Signals starring two of my favourite actors, Adam Beach and Evan Adams. Dr. Evan Adams. On the plane to Toronto in 2010 I read The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven which I probably bought, along with Reservation Blues at Village Books in Bellingham. And I found Blasphemy at Bill's Used Books and Bongs in Fort St. John, BC, last summer, when I also found John O'Donohue's Anam Cara, on top of my Amazon list at the time. I include these gratuitous details only as evidence of book-lover's divination -- that we envision what we need and it appears. Or is it the other way around? That the universe knows what we need and when we need it, and we have to learn to pay attention. 

You know a book has hooked you when you start marking the passages that you want to read aloud to people you love. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

A Killing Winter

Wayne Arthurson. A Killing Winter. Forge, 2012.

This crime mystery novel checks all my boxes. Canadian writer. Canadian prairie (Edmonton) setting. Flawed, complicated, appealing recurring character, Leo Desroches, journalist, First Nations, not-quite-yet recovering gambler. A complete story, #2 in a series. Important issues, especially the decline of print media, attitudes towards homelessness, absentee fathers, and the rise of native gangs on reserves and in cities. Cliff-hanger ending. Female characters are limited to the nagging ex-wife and the insecure boss. Let's see if there is progress with these challenges farther into the series. I am hoping Arthurson will give me "the Canadian Rebus." 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Love Her Wild

Atticus. Love Her Wild. Atria, 2017.

A gift. Poetry that is positive, epigrammatic, ecstatic. A youthful world view suitable for texts and tats. 

we so seldom look on love

Barbara Gowdy. We So Seldom Look On Love. Harper, 1992.

This is the first Barbara Gowdy I've read although she is Canadian and has been publishing award-winning stories and novels since 1988. I will definitely be looking for more, including her latest new title, Little Sister

In this collection of short stories, We So Seldom Look On Love, the protagonists seem to be abducted from inside the tents of circus sideshows. Gowdy breathes life into them and presents them to us full frontal, in all their humanity. It's impossible to turn away. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Somewhere In Ireland a Village Is Missing an Idiot

David Feherty. Somewhere In Ireland a Village Is Missing an Idiot. Ruggedland, 2003.

A friend bought me this book because he knew of my passion for Ireland. A happy accident, because there is almost nothing about Ireland except the personality of the writer. But there are unexpected laugh-out-louds. For the golf-challenged like me, the fun is in the language, the hyperbole, the irreverence, the descriptions, and the imagination. Who would dream of describing a bout of intestinal turbulence as if it were a science-fiction plot? 

David Feherty is a former professional golfer turned television commentator and magazine writer.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Between the Acts

August 12, 2017

Virginia Woolf. Between the Acts. Penguin, 1992 (1941).

Found this treasure at Baker's Books in Hope last week. This is Woolf's last novel, about a day in June in 1939 in a small community as England anticipates another war with Germany. Where does the violence come from? And what would happen if history were written (as the playwright does here) without reference to military and violent responses? What if we were to turn the mirrors on to the audience? What could you do to stop it? 
We know from history that Woolf despaired. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

God Is Alive Magic Is Afoot

Leonard Cohen. God Is Alive Magic Is Afoot: from the novel Beautiful Losers. Stoddart, 2000. Illustrations by Sarah Perkins & Ian Jackson. 

An absolutely beautiful gift, art inspired by this excerpt made famous by Buffy St Marie from Cohen's experimental novel.