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Literature

  • Author:
    Kazantzakis, Nikos
    Summary:

    Zorba, an irrepressible, earthy hedonist, sweeps his young disciple along as he wines, dines, and loves his way through a life dedicated to fulfilling his copious appetites.

  • Yesterday, at the Hotel Clarendon
    Author:
    Brossard, Nicole
    Summary:

    Nominated for a Governor General's Award for Translation Yesterday, on my way back from the museum: my head is full of images of storms. A boundless sea of paintings and photographs. Other storms I build like a backdrop, with sombre and anonymous characters, impossible to identify. I remain thus all evening, pressed up against the existence of a storm without feeling threatened. Waiting. After a few moments I become, I am, the storm, the disruption, the precipitation, the agitation that puts reality in peril. Carla Carlson is at the Hotel Clarendon in Quebec City trying to finish a novel. Nearby, a woman, preoccupied with sadness and infatuated with her boss, catalogues antiquities at the Museum of Civilization. Every night, the two women meet at the hotel bar and talk – about childhood and parents and landscapes, about time and art, about Descartes and Francis Bacon and writing. When Yesterday, at the Hotel Clarendon appeared in French (as Hier), the media called it the pinnacle of Brossard’s remarkable forty-year literary career. From its intersection of four women emerges a kind of art installation, a lively read in which life and death and the vertigo of ruins tangle themselves together to say something about history and desire and art. ‘Hier is a book in which the love of language, authorial anxiety and the generosity of a writer who has dedicated herself to the craft of writing are truly revealed.’ – Le Devoir ‘An explorer of language, Brossard has, for many years, pursued a demanding and unarguably original oeuvre. Hier, her latest book, is a kind of sum or synthesis of her research and her meditations.’ – Lettres Québécoises

  • Author:
    Lowther, Christine
    Summary:

    This collection of over thirty essays by both well-known and emerging writers explores what it means to “be at home” on Canada’s West Coast. Here the rainforest and the wild, stormy cost dominate one’s sense of identity, a humbling perspective shared in memoirs by individuals who come to see themselves as part of a larger ecological community. Alexandra Morton followed the orcas to the Broughton Archipelago and now fights to protect wild salmon from the impact of fish farms. Grandmother-activist Betty Krawczyk describes living in a remote A-frame under mountains that have been clearcut, and how this led her to join the blockades. Valerie Langer tells us of a tsunami warning, one that is both literal and metaphorical. Brian Brett reflects on possible futures for Clayoquot Sound, thinking back to the wild times he spent there in the sixties. The collection includes a number of brightly satiric commentators like Briony Penn, who compares sex in the city to love in the temperate rainforest, Andrew Struthers, who recalls squatting in a home-made pyramid in the bush, and Susan Musgrave, who writes with affection and humour about the “excluded” Haida Gwaii. Young First Nations writers Eli Enns and Nadine Crookes provide their perspective of deep rootedness in place. And there are many more contributors, all of whom are engaged in finding purpose along with a sense of belonging that is uniquely West Coast.

  • Writing Our Way Home
    Author:
    Canton, Licia
    Summary:

    Writing Our Way Home is an important contribution to literary studies. “Italian-Canadian writers are not just Canadian writers, but world writers,” states literary critic Elena Lamberti in the introduction to Writing Our Way Home. “They write from Canada with an original point of view on multiple (hybrid) identities and have something to tell the whole world …” A unique volume of creative and critical texts, Writing Our Way Home features contributors from Canada, Italy and the United States: Annalisa Bonomo, John Calabro, Michele Campanini, Licia Canton, Maria Giuseppina Cesari, Pietro Corsi, Domenic Cusmano, Marisa De Franceschi, Mike Dell'Aquila, Alberto Mario DeLogu, Delia De Santis, Gil Fagiani, Nino Famà, Venera Fazio, Frank Giorno, Gabriella Iacobucci, Elena Lamberti, Maria Lisella, Ernesto Livorni, Darlene Madott, Michael Mirolla, Caroline Morgan Di Giovanni, Linda Morra, Oriana Palusci, Gianna Patriarca, Maria Cristina Seccia, Maria Tognan, Osvaldo Zappa, Jim Zucchero.

  • Author:
    Richler, Howard
    Summary:

    To some extent, everyone plays with language and uses it as a form of recreation as well as a means of communication. Recognizing that the creation of true wit is a subjective endeavour, Richler suggests that the commission of language wit occurs not only wittingly, but also unwittingly and sometimes even half-wittedly. When we consciously manipulate language for the purpose of wit, Richler designates this process “arranged wit,” and because sometimes the humour seemingly emanates from the mind of a nitwit rather than a wit, Richler designates this “deranged wit.” Moreover, what appears to be deranged can actually be artfully arranged, or as Polonius might say, there is much method to the madness. Join Richler in Wordplay as he highlights the most whimsical English language writers throughout the ages and analyzes what constitutes both arranged and deranged wit. Prepare for chuckles aplenty, and even belly laughs.

  • Author:
    Helgason, Hallgrimur
    Summary:

    "I live here alone in a garage, together with a laptop computer and an old hand grenade. It's pretty cozy." Herra BjOrnsson is at the beginning of the end of her life. Oh, she has two weeks left, maybe three-she has booked her cremation appointment, at a crispy 1,000 degrees, so it won't be long. But until then she has her cigarettes, a World War II-era weapon, some Facebook friends, and her memories to sustain her. And what a life this remarkable eighty-year-old narrator has led. In the internationally bestselling and award-winning Woman at 1,000 Degrees, which has been published in fourteen languages, noted Icelandic novelist Hallgrimur Helgason has created a true literary original. From Herra's childhood in the remote islands of Iceland, where she was born the granddaughter of Iceland's first president, to teen years spent living by her wits alone in war-torn Europe while her father fought on the side of the Nazis, to love affairs on several continents, Herra BjOrnsson moved Zelig-like through the major events and locales of the twentieth century. She wed and lost husbands, had children, fled a war, kissed a Beatle, weathered the Icelandic financial crash, and mastered the Internet. She has experienced luck and betrayal and upheaval and pain, and-with a bawdy, uncompromising spirit-she has survived it all. Now, as she awaits death in a garage in Reykjavik, she shows us a woman unbowed by the forces of history. Each part of Herra's story is a poignant piece of a puzzle that comes together in the final pages of this remarkable, unpredictable, and enthralling novel.

  • Author:
    Bockris, Victor
    Summary:

    Personal encounters with one of the most influential and iconic figures of the Beat Generation During the 1970s, William Burroughs, author of Junky and Naked Lunch, lived in a loft on the Bowery in New York City's Lower East Side. Christened "The Bunker," his apartment became a modern-day literary salon with people like Andy Warhol, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Susan Sontag, and fellow beat poet Allen Ginsberg passing through for a drink or a joint and the promise of stimulating conversation with the ingenious and eccentric Burroughs. Among Burroughs's entourage was author Victor Bockris, whose tape recorder was always running to capture meandering dinner party conversations and electric late-night sessions in the Bunker. In these moments, Bockris captures Burroughs's desires, anxieties, and thoughts on writing, photography, punk rock, and more. The recordings and recollections in With William Burroughs create an unprecedentedly multidimensional portrait of a man who is often overshadowed by his reputation.

  • Wiseman's Wager
    Author:
    Margoshes, Dave
    Summary:

    From an emergency room in Calgary, where an intern hears his poorly timed joke about suicide, Zan winds up on the psychologist’s couch. But the doctor’s efforts to investigate Zan’s mental state are constantly stymied by his misfiring memory, his wry delivery, and his novelist’s tendency to embellish. Is he misremembering, misrepresenting, crafting a better story – or all of the above? Through the streets of Strike-era Winnipeg, Toronto during the Depression, and the 1980s Calgary of Zan’s new life, Dave Margoshes’s compellingly unreliable narrator treats the reader to a magnificent meditation on aging, family ties, faith, and the liquid concept of the truth.

  • Author:
    DeGrace, Anne
    Summary:

    At a side-of-the-highway diner on a mountain pass, during one extraordinary, windy day in 1977, the paths of an odd assortment of travellers cross. The stories of each circle around points of departure: what sets one on one's journey. These seemingly unconnected-but oddly interconnected-stories involve strange twists, turns and the kinds of chance encounters that change the way we see the world. There is the old woman who, talk she has just weeks to live, tells everyone exactly what she thinks of them-and then doesn't die; the water witcher who comes to terms with his gift instead of drowning in it; the woman who never leaves her own town but travels vicariously through the tales of the hitchhikers she picks up; a trucker with a kind heart; and the proprietor, Cass, and the story that haunts her. Central to this remarkable day are Pink, travelling in whatever direction the wind takes him, and Jo, a young waitress whose own life twists-family betrayal, and the birth and adoption of a baby-have left her anchorless. For Jo, Cass's Roadside Café is a waystation, holding her until a series of interactions with strangers give her permission to find her own point of departure, and embark upon her own journey.

  • Author:
    Wangersky, Russell
    Summary:

    2013 Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award — Winner 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize — Shortlisted 2012 BMO Winterset Award — Finalist From critically acclaimed and award-winning writer, Russell Wangersky, comes a new collection of short fiction. Everyone has something they’re good at: one particular personal skill that they use to keep their lives moving forward when their worlds suddenly become difficult or near-impossible. For some, it’s denial; for others, blunt pragmatism. Still others depend on an over-inflated view of self to keep criticism and doubt at bay. In his new short story collection, Whirl Away, Russell Wangersky – author of critically-acclaimed fiction and non-fiction including The Glass Harmonica, Burning Down the House: Fighting Fires and Losing Myself and The Hour of Bad Decisions – looks at what happens when people’s personal coping skills go awry. These are people who discover their anchor-chain has broken: characters safe in the world of self-deception or even self-delusion, forced to face the fact that their main line of defense has become their greatest weakness. From the caretaker of a prairie amusement park to the lone occupant of a collapsing Newfoundland town, from a travelling sports drink marketer with a pressing need to get off the road to an elevator inspector who finds himself losing his marriage while sensuously burying himself in the tastes and smells of the kitchen, these are people who spin wildly out of control, finding themselves in a new and different world.

  • Where Seas and Fables Meet
    Author:
    Powe, B.W.
    Summary:

    This powerful, beautiful book blends parables, aphorisms, dreams, fantasies, anecdotes, witticisms, puns, vignettes, and prose poems in a meditative and often passionate way. It takes the risk of being free in its style and form, to affirm the possibilities of thought, spirit, heart, humour, and imagination. Here B.W. Powe gives us his boldest, most soul-revealing work to date.

  • Author:
    Harrs, Norma
    Summary:

    Dreams vanish in most of the masterful stories that make up Norma Harrs’s new collection. A young Irish girl falls in love with an older married professor and has her first date with heartache; a middle-aged woman attends her niece’s wedding and drunkenly surveys the wreck of her own life and love affairs; a young woman admires her kind and beautiful neighbour so much that she is almost drawn into a not so innocent profession … Adversity, sometimes disaster, befalls Norma Harrs’s characters, but instead of destroying these people, it often miraculously enriches their existence, bringing them a sudden awareness of what had been wrong with their lives and inspiring them to make a fresh start. Ms. Harrs seamlessly weaves together plot and evocative detail, wildly funny turns of events and inconsolable sadness; her stories’ earthy eroticism, their startlingly vivid dialogue and, above all, their breathtakingly original rendering of suffering and joy will remain with the reader long after the final page.

  • What belongs to you
    Author:
    Greenwell, Garth
    Summary:

    On an unseasonably warm autumn day, an American teacher enters a public bathroom beneath Sofia�s National Palace of Culture. There he meets Mitko, a charismatic young hustler, and pays him for sex. He returns to Mitko again and again over the next few months, drawn by hunger and loneliness and risk, and finds himself ensnared in a relationship in which lust leads to mutual predation, and tenderness can transform into violence. As he struggles to reconcile his longing with the anguish it creates, he�s forced to grapple with his own fraught history, the world of his southern childhood where to be queer was to be a pariah. There are unnerving similarities between his past and the foreign country he finds himself in, a country whose geography and griefs he discovers as he learns more of Mitko�s own narrative, his private history of illness, exploitation, and disease.

  • What Becomes
    Author:
    Kennedy, A.L.
    Summary:

    A. L. Kennedy's remarkable new collection of stories shows us exactly what becomes of the broken-hearted. She reveals the sadness, violence, hurt, and terror, but also the redemption of love, and she does so with enormous human compassion, wild leaps of humour, and the brilliantly original linguistic skill that distinguishes her as one of the world's finest writers. Always attuned to the moment of epiphany, these twelve stories are profound, intimate observations of men and women whose lives ache with possibility. Each story is a dramatization of the instant in a life that exposes it all; love and the lack of love, hope and the lack of hope. These men and women are perfectly ordinary people whose marriages flounder; who sit on their own in a cinema watching a film with no soundtrack; who risk sex in a hotel with an anonymous stranger. They conceal tenderness and disappointment, vulnerability and longing, griefs and wonders. Devastating and funny, intimate and profound, the stories in What Becomes are further proof that Kennedy is one of the most dazzling and inventive writers of her generation.

  • Author:
    Redmond, Christopher
    Summary:

    Christopher Redmond’s fascinating account of Doyle’s first trip to America has been reconstructed from newspaper accounts describing the places Doyle visited, from the Adirondacks to New York, Chicago, and Toronto. Despite the gruelling tour schedule, Doyle met dozens of the most important literary and social lights of America. Everywhere he went he was mobbed by public hungry for news of the man he had "killed off" a year earlier — Sherlock Holmes, who was front page news. In Redmond’s lively narrative, which is based on letters, newspaper reports, and other newly unearthed sources, you will discover, as Doyle himself put it, "the romance of America."

  • We love you, Charlie Freeman
    Author:
    Greenidge, Kaitlyn
    Summary:

    The Freemans are to take part in an experiment: they've been hired by a private research institute to teach sign language to a chimpanzee. Told primarily from the point of view of Laurel's elder daughter, Charlotte, the novel shifts in time from the early 1990s to the founding of the Institute in the 1930s to the present day. With language both beautiful and accessible, Greenidge examines that time in each person's life when we realize the things we thought were normal may be anything but.

  • Waste no tears
    Author:
    Garner, Hugh, Harris, Amy Lavender
    Summary:

    This story with its shocking expose of social evils, holds a forceful message for both sexes. Its strange mixture of power, tension and torment mark it as a human story that will thrill and grip all readers. Down in the depths of the city, washed by the murky waters of the dock-yards lies Skidrow, a dark den of intrigue and mystery, whose crumbling structures harbour the outcasts of the city.--From the 1950 edition Hugh Garner's second novel, Waste No Tears hit drug store and train station spinner racks in July of 1950-then disappeared, never to see print again… until now. Ignored by some critics, dismissed by others, this 'Novel about the Abortion Racket' is the stuff of legend. Garner claimed that it had been written in ten days as part of a struggle to ward off 'incipient starvation.' He was paid $400 for his efforts. Dark and disturbing, Waste No Tears is populated by skid row bums, loose women, tight men, shady doctors and one wanton landlady, all moving about a Toronto that is far less than respectable. First published under the pseudonym 'Jarvis Warwick'-from Toronto's Jarvis Street Warwick Hotel, a favourite watering hole of the author -this Ricochet Books edition coincides with the celebration of the Garner centenary.

  • Voisines de coeur
    Author:
    Michaud, Monique
    Summary:

    Deux voisines, un palier. Marijo au 101 et Léonie au 102. Deux solitudes qui habitent dans l’impasse de l’Espérance. Mille après mille, leur route est sinueuse. Ces voisines de cœur avancent malgré tout, car elles sont débordantes de folies et… de regrets. Jour après jour, sur ce palier, leur destin s’entrecroise incessamment défiant les lois du hasard. Dans ce Lavaltrie où naquit la légende de la « chasse-galerie » subsistent encore l’inexplicable et le merveilleux. Parfois dynamique, parfois dégonflée, Marijo craint toujours de revisiter le désert glacial de la dépression. Sa grande amie, une religieuse prénommée Jeannie, sera la voix de la raison. Mais, c’est si difficile… sans amoureux à ses côtés ! Nonchalante de nature, Léonie tourne en rond sans avenir, elle rêve de revoir sa mère Marguerite exilée de force, elle ignore où. Seuls des événements exceptionnels pourraient bousculer ce statu quo. En attendant, elle voudrait gagner sa vie… et le cœur d’un amoureux ! Dans cette impasse pleine de vie, elles sont entourées de leur proche, Antony, Solange, Maridouce et Alex ainsi que les Prévost, ces témoins qui badinent dans la balançoire.

  • Vi
    Author:
    Thúy, Kim.
    Summary:

    "The youngest of four children and the only girl, Vi was given a name that meant 'precious, tiny one,' destined to be cosseted and protected, the family's little treasure. Daughter of an enterprising mother and a wealthy, spoiled father who never had to grow up, the Vietnam War destroys the life they've known. Vi, along with her mother and brothers, manages to escape--but her father stays behind, leaving a painful void as the rest of the family must make a new life for themselves in Canada. While her family puts down roots, life has different plans for Vi. As a young woman, she finds the world opening up to her. Taken under the wing of Hà, a worldly family friend, and her diplomat lover, Vi tests personal boundaries and crosses international ones, letting the winds of life buffet her. From Saigon to Montreal, from Suzhou to Boston to the fall of the Berlin Wall, she is witness to the immensity of the world, the intricate fabric of humanity, the complexity of love, the infinite possibilities before her. Ever the quiet observer, somehow she must find a way to finally take her place in the world."--From publisher.

  • Author:
    Gauvin, Mitchell
    Summary:

    This is the manuscript of Xavier Bernard, an average, mundane and altogether unexceptional author who has attempted to claw back his lackluster life story by writing it himself. Free to invent the facts and improve on truth, he will stop at nothing to get the ending he desires. But when his closest friend begins to separate truth from fiction, spotting mysterious gaps and overlaps in the storyline, it becomes a race against the clock to decipher just what sort of ending Xavier plans to write.

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