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BOOK NEWS REVIEWS EXCERPTS

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Atlantic Books today atlanticbookstoday.ca

The romance

Rock of The

FEEL THE LOVE IN BOOKS: • Newfoundland in photos • Affairs of Heart’s Ease • Diaries of an activist • Championing reading amidst budget cuts

CELEBRATE SUMMER WITH LOCAL LOBSTER AND CRAFT BEER

ATLANTIC BOOK AWARD WINNERS

NEW READS FROM

LISA MOORE DAVID ADAMS RICHARDS CHRISTY ANN CONLIN GEORGE ELLIOTT CLARKE PATRICK LEDWELL

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& MORE

DISCOVER BURIED FICTION TREASURES

99 books featured inside!

SUMMER 2016 No. 81 Publications Mail Agreement 40038836


Chocolate River Publishing Telling our New Brunswick story to our children and the world

Summer reading from Creative Book Publishing

TURMOIL, AS USUAL JAMES MCLEOD $19.95

$10.95

THE LAST HALF OF THE YEAR PAUL ROWE $19.95

$19.95

chocolateriverpublishing@gmail.com

www.chocolateriver.ca

DOUBLE TROUBLE AT THE ROOMS LISA DALRYMPLE $12.95

A PICNIC AT THE LIGHTHOUSE REBECCA NORTH $12.95

www.creativebookpublishing.ca • (709) 748-0813 • nl.books@transcontinental.ca


Contents Summer 2016

Up front 2 Editor’s Message

Exploring Atlantic books together

3 Current Affairs

Noted Atlantic book news

8

5 Proust Questionnaire

The Hon. Mayann Francis, former LieutenantGovernor of NS and children’s author

6 Book Buzz

A look at new and upcoming Atlantic titles

Features 7 What I’m Reading

4 CBC Radio morning hosts recommend

summer reading

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8 The Path of Penashue

Innu activist Elizabeth Penashue’s memoirs highlight natural and First Nations rights

10 Unearthing Fiction Treasures Formac Publishing is bringing forgotten classics to a contemporary readership

13 Created in Acadie

Behind the scenes at Bouton d’Or Acadie

15 Romancing the Rock

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Flanker Press takes a chance on Victoria Barbour’s romance fiction

16 And the Award Goes To... Celebrating the 2016 Atlantic Book Awards winners

18 Summer Seafood Celebration For the Love of Lobster review and recipe

20 Excerpt

Photo excerpt from The Little Book of Newfoundland & Labrador

21 Reviews

20 Cover photo: John Sylvester This page (clockwise from top left): Robin McGrath, courtesy Atlantic Book Awards, Joseph Muise, John Sylvester

Fiction, short stories, non-fiction, poetry & young adult

27 Events

It’s festival season!

Atlantic Books Today 1


EDITOR’S MESSAGE

Editor’s message

Hello, Readers! I’m so pleased to introduce myself as the editor of Atlantic Books Today. Books have always played a huge role in my life and I am beyond excited to share a love of books with you all. I recently attended my first Atlantic Book Awards gala at the Capitol Theatre in Moncton, New Brunswick. What a beautiful venue and wonderful awards program. The nominees and winners should all be proud – you can read more about the awards in this issue on pages 18 and 19. After spending a few years ‘away,’ I’m happy to be back living and working in Atlantic Canada. My time in points west has galvanized how unique and important our culture is here on the East Coast. It’s vital to tell our stories, create our images, and promote our distinctive culture and books are a brilliant way to do this. We are fortunate to have a vibrant local publishing industry here in all four Atlantic provinces, filled with writers, illustrators, editors and publishers at the top of their game. I’m thrilled to support books from here and I hope you are too. I look forward to exploring together all that Atlantic books have to offer.

Lauren d’Entremont

Atlantic Books today Atlantic Books Today is published by the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association (www.atlanticpublishers.ca), which gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Canada Book Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage. Opinions expressed in articles in Atlantic Books Today do not necessarily re­flect the views and opinions of the Board of the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association.

PUBLISHER Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR and ADVERTISING SALES Carolyn Guy cguy@atlanticpublishers.ca EDITOR Lauren d’Entremont editorial@atlanticpublishers.ca ART DIRECTOR Joseph Muise design@atlanticpublishers.ca Cover photo: John Sylvester Printed in Canada. This is issue number 81 Summer 2016. Atlantic Books Today is published three times a year. All issues are numbered in sequence. Total Atlantic-wide circulation: 60,000. ISSN 1192-3652 One-year subscriptions to Atlantic Books Today are available for $16 ($18.40 including HST). Please make cheques payable to the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association and mail to address below or contact apma.admin@ atlanticpublishers.ca for subscription inquiries. Publications Mail Agreement No. 40038836 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association Atlantic Books Today 1484 Carlton Street, Halifax, NS B3H 3B7 Phone (902) 420.0711 Fax (902) 423.4302 atlanticbookstoday.ca @abtmagazine facebook.com/AtlanticBooksToday

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CURRENT AFFAIRS NOTED

NOTED BOOK NEWS Conundrum Press marks 20th anniversary

Wolfville, Nova Scotia-based Conundrum Press is commemorating two decades of publishing. The publisher, which focuses on graphic novels, will celebrate with a special anthology, titled 20 x 20, featuring rare and unpublished work from 20 Conundrum creators. Each featured creator represents a year in the life of the press that got its start with founding editor and publisher Andy Brown in Montreal in 1996.

Awards Spotlight

• Nova Scotia’s Sarah Mian was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour for her novel When the Saints. Mian also won two Atlantic Book Awards (see pages 16 and 17 for more on this). • David Huebert of Halifax won the 2016 CBC Short Story Prize for his story “Enigma” about a woman coping with the loss of her beloved horse. Huebert is working on completing a short story collection called Peninsula Sinking. • Sara Tilley has won the 2016 BMO Winterset Award for her novel Duke.The award is presented annually to the work judged to be the best book by a Newfoundland and Labrador writer.Tilley’s novel is based on writings by her great-grandfather about his travels to Alaska during the gold rush.

Lisa Moore novel to become CBC television series

Newfoundland author Lisa Moore’s Giller Prize-shortlisted novel Caught will be coming to the small screen in 2017. The television series will air on CBC Television and will star former Republic of Doyle star Allan Hawco in the lead role. Set in the late 1970s, Caught revolves around David Slaney, who goes on the run after he’s caught smuggling drugs into Newfoundland.

Congratulations to

Catherine Hogan Safer Winner of the 2016 Alistair Macleod Award for Short Fiction

Dalhousie University writer-in-residence hosts workshop for women with cancer

Poet Carole Glasser Langille is the 2015-16 Artist-in-Residence with the Medical Humanities-HEALS program at Dalhousie University’s medical school. Langille is holding a six-week, 10-person writing workshop designed for women who have had cancer or are being treated for it. She has also created an installation (pictured above) of driftwood figures titled “What a Patient says to the Doctor and What the Doctor says to the Patient”.

www.creativebookpublishing.ca

Atlantic Books Today 3


CURRENT AFFAIRS NOTED

Books Start Here in Nova Scotia

In February, book publishers in Nova Scotia launched a campaign called Books Start Here to help grow their industry in the province. At campaign events in communities around the province, authors, illustrators, editors and other publishing professionals and the public came out in droves to support a strong, vibrant and growing local publishing industry in Nova Scotia. Here’s a look:

“Local books tell the story of who we were and who we are.” Sheree Fitch, author

Newfoundlanders protest book budget

Visit www.BooksStartHere.com for more info on upcoming events, plus more photos and video.

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The NL government has announced the closure of 54 of the province’s 95 libraries, along with a 10 per cent increase in tax on books. Authors, publishers, librarians, and citizens have strongly protested these measures. “People need to contact MHAs and put up posters and sign up for marches, whatever you can do to make your voice heard,” says Gavin Will, owner, Boulder Publications. “The biggest barrier to literacy is the availability of a book,” says Matthew Howse of Broken Books, “and closing libraries is not going to help.”


BOOK BUZZ AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Proust questionnaire Photo: Calnen Photography

MAYANN FRANCIS

Before the Honourable Mayann Francis was the Director and CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, provincial ombudsman, and the 31st Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, she was a young girl taking the train from Cape Breton to the Big Apple. In her first children’s book, illustrated by Tamara Thiebeaux-Heikalo, Francis writes about the excitement of a nine-yearold exploring the world around her and learning valuable lessons along the way. What do you consider your best quality? I care about people. I do my best to always practice the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Favourite animal: I love cats. My beloved cat Angel died in June 2015. We had many cats when I was a child. We also had a few dogs but cats rule.

Your worst quality: I can be impatient.

Your favourite poet(s): Maya Angelou, George Elliott Clarke and William Shakespeare

What is your idea of happiness? Eating a bag of Lay’s potato chips every night and not worrying about clogged arteries or high cholesterol. Your idea of misery: Sitting next to someone on a fully booked airplane who believes they should share their terrible cold with you. If you could be someone else for a day who would it be? I would like to be Rosemary Barton, on CBC’s Power and Politics. Where would you most like to live? When I was a child I couldn’t wait for the first fall of snow. Now I can’t wait for the snow to melt. My joints would love a warm climate. Antigua, my mom’s birthplace, would be ideal.

Favourite author(s): Lawrence Hill and Cecil Foster Your favourite fictional heroes: Aminata, the central character in The Book of Negroes, was a strong, intelligent, courageous and determined woman. Those are qualities I admire. Your real life heroes: My friend and mentor Beverly Mascoll who, at the age of 59, died from breast cancer. She was a successful entrepreneur who believed in social justice and giving back to community. Also Viola Desmond, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Pope Francis, President and First Lady Obama, Rev. Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Your favourite food & drink: On the rare occasions when I eat meat, I enjoy a delicious Oxtail dinner. I love salmon and my brother-in-law’s Barbadian hot and spicy fishcakes. Martinis made by Paddy are good. But my favourite drink is white cranberry juice, straight up. What is your greatest fear? My greatest fear is not knowing who I am. A natural talent you’d like to possess: I wish I had the natural ability to learn and speak many languages. How you want to die: As a baby boomer, I must admit I think about the final destination none of us can avoid. How I want to get there today might be different from how I want to arrive there tomorrow. One thing I do know, I want to be ready just like the Old Negro Spiritual says, “I want to be ready, my Lord, to walk in Jerusalem, just like John.” Favourite or personal motto: Never allow anyone or anything to break your spirit. ■

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BOOK BUZZ NEW READS

NEW READS A sampling of new and upcoming Atlantic titles to add to your reading list Find even more new books at www.AtlanticBooksToday.ca

Adult Fiction Dancing in a Jar by Adele Poynter (Breakwater Books)

Your free gift guide for moms, dads & grads atlanticbookstoday.ca

Picture perfect Introducing Newfoundland and Labrador’s first adult colouring book

From a Good Home by Trudi Johnson (Flanker Press) Waiting for Still Water by Susan White (Acorn Press)

Adult Non-Fiction All Hands Lost:The Sinking of the Nova Scotian Gypsum Freighter Novadoc by Blain Henshaw (Pottersfield Press) Nowhere With You:The East Coast Anthems of Joel Plaskett,The Emergency and Thrush Hermit by Josh O’Kane (ECW Press) 100 Things You Don’t Know About Nova Scotia by Sarah Sawler (Nimbus Publishing) Viola Desmond’s Canada: A History of Blacks and Racial Segregation in the Promised Land by Graham Reynolds with Wanda Robson (Fernwood Publishing) Rum, Blood & Treasure: Stories Strange but True from Atlantic Canada by Ed Butts (Formac Publishing)

Biography & Memoir One Man Grand Band:The Lyrical Life of Ron Hynes by Harvey Sawler (Breakwater Books)

The Colours of Newfoundland and Labrador

Bet On Me: Leading and Succeeding in Business and in Life by Annette Verschuren (Harper Collins) Ice Diaries: A Memoir by Jean McNeil (ECW Press) Bobbi Pike THE COLOURS OF NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR BOBBI PIKE $16.95 ISBN: 978-1-77103-097-7

Petty Harbour Blues

127587 Catherine

& Ned

Children’s & Young Adult Follow the Goose Butt, Camelia Airheart! by Odette Barr, Colleen Landry and Beth Weatherbee (Chocolate River Publishing) Pinny in Summer by Joanne Schwartz and Isabelle Malenfant (Groundwood Books) Lawnteel at the Store by Angus MacCaull and Annie Chau (Outside the Lines Press) It Should Have Been a #GoodDay by Natalie Corbett Sampson (Clubhouse Press)

36 Austin St, St. John’s, NL A1B 3T7 • Tel. 709.748.0813 • Fax 709.579.6511 nl.books@transcontinental.ca • www.creativebookpublishing.ca

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FEATURE WHAT I’M READING

Matt Rainnie, Host of CBC Island Morning, PEI

I have two books from Island writers at the top of my list of “next reads.” The first is from my friend Patrick Ledwell, a wellknown storyteller and comedian who has just released his second book, An Islander Strikes Back (Acorn Press). Patrick has a unique perspective on what it means to be an Islander. His affection for home is evident in all his stories. That affection is also found in the stories of Dennis King, a member of our Island Compiled by Chris Benjamin Morning radio political panel (when he’s not stepping onstage sharing stories). He Atlantic Books Today is asking Atlantic Canadians to share their East talks of Island life (particularly around the Coast-flavoured reading suggestions. In this issue, four CBC morning radio Georgetown area) and zeroes in on the show hosts tell us about the books they recommend readers tune into: people who make this place tick. His first book is called The Day They Shot Reveen. Don Connolly, Host of It’s been described as a love letter to PEI. Anthony Germain, Host of Information Morning, Appropriately, I look forward to cracking CBC St. John’s Morning Show CBC Halifax If you haven’t treated yourself to the fiction open these books while celebrating Island I read Highland Shepherd (U of T of Newfoundland’s Michael Crummey, put life in my own way… at the beach. Press) by Alan Wilson, a biography Sweetland (Doubleday Canada) on your of James Macgregor, the father of list. It’s a witty, gritty story with an ongoing Jonna Brewer, Host of Information Morning, the Scottish enlightenment in Nova theme of Newfoundland Scotia. If you are interested in the history: resettlement. It CBC Moncton early European period of Nova Scotia, explores an older man’s In Home: Chronicle of a North Counespecially in East Nova Scotia, this is a determination not to be try Life (Goose Lane Editions), Beth wonderful book that is clear, readable bought off by government Powning takes her readers on a tour of and intelligent. cash offers to abandon the a farm near Sussex, New Brunswick, In a related development, we go communities where his where she has lived for more than 40 one county east (from Pictou to forebears rest. years. The rooms are her surroundings: Antigonish) and move more than a Crummey combines purposeful profan- forest, fields, gardens, trees, wild plants century forward and go from Protity with rugged characters in a breathand she breaks each of them down into estant to Catholic. The Canny Scot takingly elegant story haunted by Joey exquisite detail. You feel like you’re (McGill-Queen’s University Press) Smallwood’s momentous resettlement accompanying her on her daily walks. by Peter Ludlow has garnered much program of the 1960s. This is fiction that She also shares her 25-year deepening less attention than I think it deserves. illuminates greater truths about the impact relationship with her natural environIt is the story of Archbishop James of historical realities on ordinary people. ment, beginning with the early days of Morrison, who ran the little Vatican The nonfiction on my summer list her north country life. for an amazing period (1921–1950), a is aligned with the centenary of the The book was first published in 1996. fascinating history of the period obliteration of a generation of young A new edition was released in 2014, and the place. men on July 1, 1916. Nigel Cave’s Beauwith beautiful reproductions of PownThese choices come from someone mont Hamel: Newfoundland Park (Flanker ing’s photography. She writes a new who reads limited nonfiction and is a Press) is a guidebook of one of Europe’s introduction with a tone of lament for thoroughly deconsecrated Catholic. best historic battlefield memorial sites. It what’s been lost over the decades and a They deepened my understanding of includes detailed maps, war stories and call to protect what is left. “I’ve become the history of the province. photographs taken from Newfoundland’s a leaf on a tree. I’m connected to a devastating bloodletting during the Battle greater whole.” of the Somme. I feel that way every time I read Home. ■

WHAT I’M READING

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FEATURE THE PATH OF PENASHUE

THE PATH OF PENASHUE by Robin McGrath

Innu activist’s memoir highlights connections to nature and First Nations rights

“I

took my rosary and my rifle...” So begins a typical entry in the diaries of Innu activist Elizabeth Penashue. For more than three decades, Penashue has been working to preserve the culture, language and traditional homeland of her people, the Innu of the Eastern Ungava peninsula in Labrador, and documenting the process as she lives it. Now widowed, the 72-year-old elder is well settled in a life of sobriety,

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activism and activities with her large family – in all, 63 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Life was not always like that for Tshaukuesh, as she is known in Labrador. In the early 1980s, Penashue was one of many First Nations people caught up in a cycle of substance abuse, powerlessness and despair. In an attempt to break the pattern, she and her husband Francis tried to return with their children to a more

traditional life in the bush, only to be thwarted by the low-level military flying program of NATO forces at Goose Bay. Overflying by NATO bombers terrified children in bush camps, caused caribou to abort their young and generally made even short forays into the country a waking nightmare for the Innu people. Penashue, who at the time spoke no English, became one of the leading


FEATURE THE PATH OF PENASHUE Yeoman and collaborator Dr. Marguerite MacKenzie, an Innu-aimun linguist, were able to obtain a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant to cover expenses and, over the course of the last two years, Penashue and Yeoman have developed a process of what Yeoman calls “rendition” rather than “translation.” Using typed transcripts, tape recordings and one-on-one meetings, a manuscript She soon lost track of the number of contact with Akeneshau (non-Innu) times she went to jail and to court. increased, her English improved and she has evolved that has clarified the During this time, encouraged by the began to communicate directly. “When I often-enigmatic entries. Additions and late Don Heap, Anglican Minister and was about 10, I spent a winter in hospital explanations are being carefully noted so that they can be distinguished from Ontario NDP MLA, Penashue began with tuberculosis, and I learned a little the original diary entries. writing down her thoughts and fears in bit of English then. When I went back The English version of Elizabeth Pean ordinary exercise book. “I knew what to my parents, I forgot it, but later on it nashue’s diaries will be published this year we were experiencing was important,” she came back to me,” she explains. under the title Nitashuitimuaut Ueshishit: explains, “and I wanted to remember it.” Getting the diaries into shape for I Speak for the Animals. An Innu-aimun She found the act of writing down publication has been a decades-long her thoughts brought her relief from task. Penashue speaks her father’s version is planned for a later date. ■ the stresses of the day. dialect of Innu-aimun, used mostly in In 1990, with the fall of the Berlin Quebec, so the first seven books were Robin McGrath is the author or editor Wall, the high state of readiness that had translated into French. of fifteen books. She is an occasional been the reason for the low-level flying The project languished for several contributor to CBC Radio and is program ended and the protests stopped. years, but then Dr. Elizabeth Yeoman currently the non-fiction columnist for However, by that time, the Innu were of Memorial University’s Faculty of the St. John’s newspaper The Telegram.. aware of how powerful political involve- Education interviewed Penashue for ment could make them. Young Innu a CBC radio program about walking. began to lobby seriously for recognition Yeoman accompanied Penashue on one of their First Nations rights, which had of her annual walks into the Mealie been penciled out of the Confederation Mountains, after which they agreed to For Further Reading… agreement with Newfoundland. work together on the diaries. Bathtubs but No Water: A Tribute to Yeoman does not consider herself the the Mushuau Innu by Gerry Steele ideal editor, but she is fluent in both (Fernwood Publishing) English and French, so she translated The People of Sheshatshit: In the land of the early volumes. Penashue, who the Innu by Jose Mailhot (ISER) is a gifted teacher, has been helping Yeoman learn Innu-aimun while also Wolverine the Trickster: Labrador Innu improving her own English. organizers of a protest that saw numerous Innu men, women and youths repeatedly arrested on charges such as mischief and breach of court orders.

Penashue, too, had learned how to make her voice heard, dictating letters to editors and opinion pieces to anyone who could translate for her. As her

“I knew what we were experiencing was important and I wanted to remember it.”

Tales Collected and Retold by Lawrence Millman (Komatik Press)

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FEATURE UNEARTHING FICTION TREASURES

UNEARTHING FICTION TREASURES by Chris Benjamin

Gwendolyn Davies and Formac Publishing bring Maritime classics back to modern readers

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n 2000, Gwendolyn Davies got a lunch invitation from Jim Lorimer of Formac Publishing. Davies had just left her position as chair of Acadia University’s English Department to become Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of New Brunswick. “Jim told me about spending a rainy Saturday afternoon at a cottage on the Northumberland Strait, browsing the book shelves in the cottage and finding an engrossing 1903 marine novel,” Davies says. That novel was The Sacrifice of The Shannon by William Albert Hickman, an early 20th-century romantic adventure story with an unusual mix of intricately interwoven themes, including technology, women in business and the natural environment. Lorimer had never heard of Hickman, who hailed from the shipbuilding communities of Dorchester, New Brunswick, and Pictou, Nova Scotia. “It started him wondering about how many good Maritime Provinces novels might be out there that were now forgotten and out of print.” Lorimer’s idea was to track down and reprint an ongoing series of these out-of-print Maritime novels, adding introductions from contemporary literary experts and historians. Davies, with her

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love of “literary sleuthing” and expertise in preSecond World War Maritime literature, was the perfect person to edit the series, which they called Fiction Treasures. There are now 34 titles in the series, all originally published between 1860 and 1951. Most came out of large publishing houses in urban centres like New York or Toronto, but the writers all hailed from the Maritimes. Among the tales are high-seas adventures, romances, mysteries, and war novels. Many document, through fiction, changing times and sociopolitical views of the world. In their day, these novels were highly regarded and sold enough copies worldwide that Anne Shirley would recognize a kindred spirit. Choosing the novels, Davies writes in her introduction to a collection of essays about the books, is “a serendipitous process.” The essays themselves situate the authors in their time and the context of what was happening, and changing, in the world the authors knew. Whether or not the authors intended to provide slices of history for future generations, in addition to the quality of the stories and writing these books are invaluable for their insights on the


values we once held, the way we saw things or, as Davies says, “where we have come from and how we have arrived at our present social moment.” The books offer more than the occasional pearl of wisdom; they contain essential knowledge about who we were and are. For example, Canada’s participation in two world wars changed the nature of what was written and read. “The conclusion of Basil King’s The High Heart (1917) provides us with a glimpse of a wounded, shell-shocked World War I veteran clearly suffering from PTSD,” Davies says. Ralph Connor (whose real name was Reverend Charles W. Gordon) became famous before the First World War writing romantic adventures with tough heroes leading the way. Following his experience as a chaplain in the war, Connor’s work became considerably more poignant, and arguably more profound. His powerful book The Arm of Gold (1932) dealt with the rise of the co-operative movement in Nova Scotia following the Great Depression. Interestingly, the eventual onset of World War II seemed to drive readers the other way, back toward escapist fiction. Given the region’s small population, it is remarkable the popularity and social influence some of these works likely had as they dealt with the issues of their day. Many focus on the evolving struggles of women, dealing over the decades with “political disenfranchisement, divorce, out-of-wedlock pregnancy,” Davies says. Margaret Marshall Saunders’ 1894 novel Beautiful Joe bolstered the public’s appreciation for animal rights, and became the first Canadian novel to sell a million copies, in 21 different languages. While the works in some cases may have pursued or advanced a certain social cause, they are also very much products of their times, warts and all. Readers may cringe at the stereotypical depiction of nonwhite characters and the language used to describe them. But these words can also be read as an accurate description of dominant attitudes among mainstream white society at the time. Though the language has clearly changed, readers must decide for themselves whether or not they think the underlying attitudes have. The successful Maritime writers from the time of World War I to the 1940s had their voices greatly amplified by the Hollywood film industry, during its golden age. “Basil King, Evelyn Eaton, Louis Arthur Cunningham, Margaret Marshall Saunders and Frederick William Wallace were sought out by Hollywood,”

Photo: University of New Brunswick

FEATURE UNEARTHING FICTION TREASURES

Gwendolyn Davies is Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of New Brunswick and editor of the Formac Fiction Treasures series.

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FEATURE UNEARTHING FICTION TREASURES

Given the region’s small population, it is remarkable the popularity and social influence some of these works likely had as they dealt with the issues of their day. Davies says. “Scripts were bought for production, if not always ending up as movies.” Occasionally, a writer would craft their work with film in mind. It has been observed that Evelyn Eaton’s Quietly My Captain Waits (1940) was very much written as a series of short, highly visual scenes. In her essay on this collection, Davies notes that the works collectively “show us the way in which … history was understood at a particular moment” and that this “history of popular reading” gives us insight on “the character of the societies” they come from. Readers will no doubt also observe the change in writing style, not only away from formalism but in the abandonment of certain perspectives (today’s narrators don’t tend to relay elaborate stories they heard from another source) and the embrace of simpler, more direct and, at times, less descriptive narratives (leaving more to the reader’s imagination, one might argue). The collection thus becomes not only a history of our character, but of our tastes. The Fiction Treasures series still strives to offer this education in the context of books that are, at the root of it, popular because they are entertaining. Formac Publishing recently presented a series of talks by experts on some of the authors in the series, in collaboration with the Halifax Public Library system. The lecture series will continue in the fall of 2016. Also this fall, watch for the latest installment in the Fiction Treasures series: Grace Helen Mowat’s Staten Island- and New Brunswick-based novel, Broken Barrier (1951) with an introduction by Mary B. McGillivray from St. Francis Xavier University’s Department of English. “And I am following several other leads for possible reprints in 2017,” Davies says. ■ Chris Benjamin is the author of three awardwinning, critically-acclaimed books: Indian School Road: Legacies of the Shubenacadie Residential School; Eco-Innovators: Sustainability in Atlantic Canada and Drive-by Saviours; as well as several short stories in anthologies and journals.

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Discover New-to-You East Coast Classics

If you liked that book, you’ll like these from the Fiction Treasures series. If you liked Rockbound by Frank Parker Day, try… River of Strangers by Frank Parker Day Desired Haven by Evelyn Richardson

If you liked Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford or Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, try… Red Fox by Charles G.D. Roberts Beautiful Joe by Margaret Marshall Saunders

If you liked Sylvanus Now by Donna Morrissey, try… Blue Water: A Tale of the Deep Sea Fishermen by Frederick William Wallace

If you liked Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, try… Tilda Jane by Margaret Marshall Saunders Joan at Halfway by Grace McLeod Rogers

If you liked Longfellow’s Evangeline, try…

Rose of Acadia by Margaret Marshall Saunders The Sea is So Wide by Evelyn Eaton

If you liked We Keep a Light by Evelyn Richardson, try… No Small Tempest by Evelyn Richardson Desired Haven by Evelyn Richardson

If you liked Rob Roy by Walter Scott, try…

Rob MacNab: A Story of Old Pictou by Frank Baird

If you liked The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, try…

Nell Harley: A Backwoods Mystery by Theodore Goodridge Roberts

Discover the Fiction Treasures yourself at Halifax Public Library’s lecture series Starting in the spring of 2016 and continuing in the fall, the Halifax Public Library’s Fiction Treasures lecture series was created to have fun unearthing popular Maritime novelists. Each talk features an historian, author or academic speaking on books from the series and placing them in their historical and literary contexts. Visit www.HalifaxPublicLibraries.ca/programs for more information on upcoming lectures.


SECTION SUB-SECTION

Created in Acadie Behind the scenes with children’s book publisher Bouton d’or Acadie Words and Photos Margaret Patricia Eaton

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nthusiastic applause greeted Marguerite Maillet as climbed the stairs to the stage at the Capitol Theatre in Moncton, New Brunswick, to accept the Pioneer Award. The award, presented as part of the Atlantic Book Awards gala in April, honours her work as a path breaker in the Acadian literary community. Maillet’s publishing story starts 20 years ago when she established Éditions Bouton d’or Acadie. Today, four years after it was purchased by Louise Imbeault in 2012, the French language publishing company remains true to Maillet’s vision of introducing children and teens to high-quality books featuring the work of Acadian writers and visual

artists and maintains well over 200 of such titles in print. Imbeault, newly retired from Radio-Canada, was looking for a “quiet little project, but little did she know…,” says her sister Marie Cadieux of the business that now occupies much of the first floor of Imbeault’s home on Botsford Street, near downtown Moncton. At the time, Cadieux had just finished a career in documentary filmmaking and accepted the offer of directorship of the company, “thinking I would be reading stories all day because I love to read. But I wasn’t completely innocent. I’d worked in the art world and been involved in financing projects, so I knew there was much more involved.”

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FEATURE CREATED IN ACADIE “The concept that there’s a publishing house here producing high quality books with all original material hasn’t quite reached the public yet,” she adds, enumerating the challenges of securing institutional sales, including collective sales to Anglophone schools which offer immersion and French-as-aSecond-Language programs and maintaining affordable prices despite the high cost of full-colour printing, which the company insists be done in Canada. The fun part for Cadieux is “working on a manuscript with an author who wants to move ahead. It’s great when you find a way to make a story work or help the author find a way to make it work and I love talking with the illustrator and imagining what the layout could be, building the book in my mind’s eye and working with Lisa and getting those flashes of ‘what if we do this?’ I love that part.” Reflecting on awards and marketing opportunities, Cadieux is optimistic about what the future holds for local publishers like Bouton d’Or. “I’ve read in English many of Atlantic Canada’s writers but I was not fully aware of the richness of what is published. It helps to realize we, as publishers, share similar difficulties, challenges and joys. Hopefully together it will help Bouton d’or Acadie books, some of which have been translated by their Acadian authors, become better known in Atlantic Canada.” ■

Fortunately, the sisters surrounded themselves with knowledgeable people. Lisa Lévesque, a graphic designer par excellence who’d worked with Maillet since 2004, continued her work with Bouton d’Or. A year later when Cadieux felt the business needed to grow, project manager Sébastien Lord-Émard came on board. “He’s a literary person,” she says, “but he has other skills and one of the things that happens on a very small team like this is we all need to be versatile. We can’t afford specialization so we share things in terms of marketing and promotion. We work really hard making sure every book is a work of art to begin with and then we have to get it out there so we can continue making more. The biggest challenge is having enough sales so we can keep producing and growing. It’s a small market to start with and it’s very competitive.”

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Margaret Patricia Eaton writes the weekly Art Talk column for the Times & Transcript. She’s won several awards for her poetry, which has been published in three collections, including her latest, Vision & Voice.

ABOVE Bouton d’or Acadie founder Mme. Marguerite Maillet received the Pioneer Award at the Atlantic Book Awards ceremony in Moncton on April 27 for her ground-breaking work in children’s literature. OPPOSITE Graphic designer Lisa Lévesque combines illustrations by Anne-Marie Sirois with text by Nicole Poirier to produce Le doubas show. Bouton d’or Acadie director Marie Cadieux (centre) is a Member at Large of the Atlantic Book Awards Society. She’s seen here at the April 27 awards gala in Moncton with graphic designer Lisa Lévesque and company owner Louise Imbeault.

A look at new titles from Bouton d’Or Acadie: Mémère Soleil, Nannie Lune by Diane Carmel Léger, illustrated by Jean-Luc Trudel (co-published in English as My Two Grandmothers by Nimbus Publishing) Le chandail de Chéticamp by Hélène de Varennes, illustrated by Jocelyne Doiron Un âme suffit by Arianne Gagnon-Roy, includes a comic by Christian Quesnel


SECTION SUB-SECTION Author Victoria Barbour and Flanker Press's Garry Cranford attend a book signing.

get hooked up with a distributor or into places like Chapters and royalties are pennies – there’s no return on investment for all that time spent.” She decided it was worth hearing what Cranford had to say. The two managed to strike a hybrid deal. Flanker would take over the print-book side and Barbour would retain all e-publishing rights in English. “I was adamant about that,” Barbour says. “No one is going to publish my eBooks unless they can match my royalties, and I have a big network.” by Denise Flint For Flanker, it was a question of testing the waters and seeing how hot the hree years ago, when Victoria there’d been no need to return to a romance market really is. They bought the Barbour decided to give up her job traditional job. One of her novels, part of rights to the first four Heart’s Ease books as a marketing communications a boxed set with other romance authors, and plunged in, publishing the first two off specialist and devote herself to writing hit the USA Today bestseller list. People the bat and following with the next two a romance novels, she had three rules: all her started paying attention, including a local couple of months later. stories had to be set in her home province publishing house that knew nothing about “It’s new for us to be doing four books of Newfoundland and Labrador, she publishing romances. in a series in one year,” Cranford says. needed to earn enough to make a living at “We were at a signing at a bookstore,” But it’s clearly been a good idea. The first it and she was going to self-publish. explains Flanker Press owner and presiedition of Book One, Against Her Rules, The first part was a matter of writing dent Garry Cranford, “and people starting has already sold out, something that the stories she wanted to write. The key to asking the staff for Vicki’s books and they rarely happens in the quiet of the postthe second was marketing, something she had no idea.” holiday season. already knew plenty about and a trip to Flanker is known for publishing “I hope she does nine or ten Heart’s the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Newfoundland and Labrador books with Ease books and I’m looking forward to annual convention gave her the tools an emphasis on regional nonfiction and her other ideas,” Cranford admits, adding and information she needed to sell this historical fiction. They’d never considered that he’s now much more open to the particular product. publishing a romance before. romance market. The third was a little less conventional, Nonetheless, Cranford decided to check For Barbour, the advantages are clear. “I but nonetheless crucial. At that same con- Barbour out and see what the fuss was can’t do everything,” she says. “I’ve learned vention she heard success story after about. While most of Barbour’s books are the most important use of my time is success story about self-publishing, from sold digitally she does have some trade writing and second is marketing. It’s nice those who were starting out there and those paperbacks for the local market. Cranford to have Flanker deal with the other side of who had moved from traditional publishwas impressed by what he saw. the business.” ing. It was just what she wanted to hear. “I was really intrigued with the beautiful So, like any good romance, this relation“I was convinced self-publishing covers,” he says. “They were well-composed ship seems to be steering towards its own was the ticket. The idea of going to a and thought out for the romance reader.” happily ever after. ■ traditional publisher never entered my He also liked what he saw between the mind,” she says. covers and there was obviously interest Flash forward two years and Barbour in her work. He decided to approach her Denise Flint is a freelance journalist seemed to have accomplished all she set with an offer. who lives just outside of St. John's. out to do. Her growing international In the meantime, Barbour’s online She currently serves as President clientele loved her self-published Newempire was growing but she wasn’t doing of WANL, the Writers' Alliance of foundland romances about the imaginary as well in the non-digital world. “It takes Newfoundland and Labrador. outport she named Heart’s Ease and effort to make printed books. It’s hard to

ROMANCING THE ROCK

Flanker Press gets hot and steamy with Victoria Barbour's romance fiction

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FEATURE AND THE AWARD GOES TO...

AND THE AWARD GOES TO… Celebrating the recipients of the 2016 Atlantic Book Awards The fourteen winners of the 2016 Atlantic Book Awards were announced on April 27 in a gala ceremony held for the first time in New Brunswick at Moncton’s Capitol Theatre. Hosted by arts personalities Philippe Beaulieu and Rayanne Brennan in a bilingual ceremony, the Awards were part of this year’s Frye Festival, Atlantic Canada’s largest literary festival, and featured numerous high profile literary presenters, including Herménégilde Chiasson, Harry Thurston, Riel Nason, Lisa Moore, Dean Jobb, Danielle Loranger and Alexander MacLeod, who presented a new award honouring his late father and literary icon, Alistair MacLeod.

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Photos courtesy of Atlantic Book Awards

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FEATURE AND THE AWARD GOES TO...

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Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction (first time awarded) Wild Pieces by Catherine Hogan Safer, published by Creative Book Publishing Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association’s Best Atlantic-Published Book Award, Sponsored by Friesens Corporation Pedlar Press for Winter in Tilting: Slide Hauling in a Newfoundland Outport by Robert Mellin Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing, Sponsored by Marquis Book Printing The Servant State: Overseeing Capital Accumulation in Canada by Geoffrey McCormack & Thom Workman, published by Fernwood Publishing The Robbie Robertson Dartmouth Book Award (NonFiction), Presented by the Kiwanis Club of Dartmouth Aftershock: The Halifax Explosion and the Persecution of Pilot Francis Mackey by Janet Maybee, published by Nimbus Publishing Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children’s Literature Prison Boy by Sharon E. McKay, published by Annick Press Ltd.

FROM LEFT: Sarah Mian took home two Atlantic Book Awards for her novel, When the Saints; Sharon E. McKay won the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children's Literature; Maureen St. Clair accepted the Beacon Award for Social Justice Literature, which recognizes an unpublished book; and presenter Lisa Moore.

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Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing Katherine Hughes: A Life and Journey by Pádraig Ó Siadhail, published by Penumbra Publishing Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award (Fiction), presented by BoyneClarke LLP When the Saints by Sarah Mian, published by HarperCollins Publishing

Lillian Shepherd Award for Excellence in Illustration Ron Lightburn for Frankenstink!: Garbage Gone Bad by Ron Lightburn, published by Tundra Books Margaret and John Savage First Book Award, Sponsored by Collins Barrow LLP, Weed Man Maritimes and the family of John and Margaret Savage When the Saints by Sarah Mian, published by HarperCollins Publishing New Brunswick Book Award for Fiction sponsored by Mrs. Dunster’s and Fog Lit Festival (first time awarded) A Measure of Light by Beth Powning, published by Knopf Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick Book Award for Nonfiction sponsored by the Brennan family (first time awarded) What is Government Good At: A Canadian Answer by Donald Savoie, published by McGill-Queen’s University Press Westminster Books Award for Poetry (first time awarded) Crossover by M. Travis Lane, published by Cormorant Books Pioneer Award – Marguerite Maillet Beacon Award for Social Justice Literature Maureen St. Clair

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FEATURE SUMMER SEAFOOD CELEBRATION

Photo: Joseph Muise

SUMMER SEAFOOD CELEBRATION by Valerie Mansour

For the Love of Lobster Celebrating Atlantic Canada’s Favourite Crustacean By Denise Adams $18.95, paperback, 143 pp Nimbus Publishing, 2016 For the Love of Lobster tells all about lobster – chock full of scientific, historical, cultural and culinary information, with a few chuckles thrown in. The lobster’s life cycle is explained and illustrated in detail. The story of how they procreate is especially interesting, and the author is not exaggerating when she refers to the process as “an ingenious marvel of nature.” We learn about the techniques and the traps of lobstering, issues of sustainability, and the challenges of this sometimes-dangerous occupation. There’s fascinating history here, too. Cod was the king of the ocean for early settlers as it was easier to catch and store, while lobster was virtually ignored. It eventually was considered a cheap source of protein for the poor. It wasn’t until the 1960s that lobster began its journey to become the delicacy we enjoy today, what the author describes as the “ultimate freerange, wild-caught health food.” And so fun to eat: “You can make sucking, slurping sounds, lick your fingers, and drip melted butter across the table without guilt or shame.” Adams has included recipes – described as old-fashioned with a contemporary twist – including quinoa lobster rolls, lobster quiche and lobster bisque. There are also accompaniments such as dill potato salad, Thai mango salad, and a tempting sweet potato feta casserole. Author Adams has lived in fishing communities, evident by the respect she has for those who work in this industry. Accompanied by beautiful photographs, this story is written with a fascination and curiosity that is a gift to lobster lovers.

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LOBSTER BRUSCHETTA serves 4 as an appetizer or snack As beautiful as it is delicious, this is the ultimate finger food. Make the lobster mix and garlic bread slices a day in advance and all you need is 5–10 minutes to put it out fresh for an impressive, classy hors d’oeuvre. 2 cups finely cut lobster meat 1 stick celery 1/4 cup mayonnaise French baguette garlic butter 1/4 cup chive and onion cream cheese spread fresh baby spinach leaves, stems removed paprika 1 Slice lobster meat using scissors, making sure to remove the cartilage inside the claws. (Lobster roe may be used but not the tomalley.) Shred the celery stick, removing any strings. 2 Add to lobster meat along with mayonnaise. Mix well. 3 Slice French baguette into twelve 1 1/2 centimetre–thick pieces. Butter both sides of each piece with garlic butter and place into a heated nonstick pan until both sides are golden. Let cool to room temperature. 4 Spread cream cheese thinly on one side. Press a spinach leaf over the cheese of each slice of bread. This allows the spinach leaf to stick and prevent the lobster mixture from dampening the bread. 5 Top with a heaping tablespoon of the lobster mixture, and garnish with a dash of paprika.


FEATURE PINTS & PRINT

PI N TS PRINT

& by Steve Large

Photo: Joseph Muise

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Author Kris Bertin makes connections on the page and across the bar

ooks have a way of connecting people. People share common experiences through the stories. In a different way, beer also lets people connect. What better place, then, to find inspiration than a local bar? Kris Bertin works as a bartender at Bearly’s House of Blues in Halifax. He’s also the author of the recently published Bad Things Happen, a book of his short stories. Bertin says though he’s been writing since he was a kid, there’s a difference when you write for an audience. “Imagining is really the same thing as writing,” he says. “I did a lot of writing for years and years that was only for me. Now that I’m older, there’s an element of craft that goes into it. Where previously something was only for fun, now there’s an intellectual component to it.” Bad Things Happen took seven years to write, which is also how long Bertin has been working at Bearly’s. Bertin’s stories are about people and the choices they make, some of which were inspired by the

people he’s seen from behind the counter. “Being a bartender leaves you in a unique position to observe others,” he says. “You see people at their worst. The questions I ask are born of observation. I see people and I wonder how they got to that point. Why are they here?” The story “Everywhere, Money” is about a man who scams people with a telemarketing scheme. Bertin says it’s based on a real story he heard from a real patron. “Even though it’s a true story, there’s more to be gained from it by fictionalizing it,” he said. “This is something I heard and couldn’t get out of my head. I kept think about how guilty you’d feel talking to an old lady from Texas and taking everything she has.” You don’t have to be a bartender to get the kind of inspiration Bertin does – as long as you’re curious. “A writer’s job is to observe and ask questions,” Bertin says. “If you’re a thinking person, you’re going to find inspiration no matter where you are.” ■

Local books about local beer SOCIABLE: THE ELBOW BENDERS GUIDE TO MARITIME PUBS

by Bob Cannon (SSP Publications) Tour 45 of the best pubs in NS, NB, and PEI. THE OVERCAST'S GUIDE TO BEERS OF NEWFOUNDLAND LABRADOR

by The Overcast (Breakwater Books) Coming this fall, the definitive guide to beer on The Rock. LAST CANADIAN BEER: THE MOOSEHEAD STORY

by Harvey Sawler (Nimbus Publishing) The history behind Canada's oldest independent brewery.

Steve Large is a graduate of the University of King's College School of Journalism and an ABT intern.

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EXCERPT THE LITTLE BOOK OF NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

The Little Book of Newfoundland & Labrador by John Sylvester

$17.95, hardcover, 80 pp. Nimbus Publishing, 2016

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My love affair with Newfoundland and Labrador began more than thirty years ago when a friend and I spent a two-week summer sojourn exploring Canada’s easternmost province by car. Since then, I’ve returned again and again; sometimes on assignment, but just as often on personal journeys of exploration to photograph the unique beauty of this remarkable place, and accept the generous hospitality of its people.


REVIEWS

Book reviews

Discover even more book reviews and author interviews at AtlanticBooksToday.ca.

Fiction

The Memento by Christy Ann Conlin $26, paperback, 384 pp. Biblioasis, 2016

Christy Ann Conlin’s second novel, The Memento, takes place in the great manor and estate of Petal’s End, in the convincingly detailed Lupin Cove, Nova Scotia. Here, the lives of members of the wealthy Parker family have for generations intertwined with those of their servants, including the Moshers. The work combines breathtaking writing with the chill of a genuinely frightening ghost story, which follows Fancy Mosher as she grows up, learns suffering and comes to understand that we can only find peace with our losses through truth. The story is, however, somewhat challenged by pacing. The bulk of the novel meticulously details life at Petal’s End, before speeding through Fancy’s complicated adolescence and young adulthood. It is during the closing chapters that we fully come to understand the intricate connections between the Moshers and Parkers. The characters seem to be pulled from different centuries, even while occupying the same space: the Parkers are remarkably Victorian compared to the drinkaddled and edgy modern staff. Despite this incongruity, Conlin weaves together fascinating characters and excels at portraying knotted family ties, such as Fancy’s convoluted relationship with her mother. These protagonists, and the beauty of Conlin’s language, are compelling. Chris Benjamin is the author of three award-winning, critically-acclaimed books: Indian School Road: Legacies of the Shubenacadie Residential School; EcoInnovators: Sustainability in Atlantic Canada and Drive-by Saviours; as well as several short stories in anthologies and journals.

Principles To Live By By David Adams Richards $32, hardcover, 388 pp. Doubleday Canada, 2016

I always settle down to read David Adams Richards with trepidation. I admire his work but I know I’ll witness bad things, really bad things, happening to good people. And they do in Principles To Live By, his latest novel. Detective John Delano, a modern Sherlock Holmes, solves crimes with a dearth of clues. His theories regarding a cold case, however, may cause problems for people capable of ruining his life. The “system” failed a young boy, as it often does the poor, the mentally ill and the vulnerable, and Delano strives to make it right. What happens to innocent people here is hard to read. But Richards is both moral and wise, and knows that life is complicated yet simple. So some who do harm are punished, and many of the harmed survive. Principles To Live By is the first in a trilogy; I wait with eager trepidation for the next instalment. Laurie Glenn Norris is a writer and reviewer in River Hebert, Nova Scotia.

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REVIEWS

The Piano Maker by Kurt Palka $22.95, paperback, 288 pp. McClelland & Stewart, 2015

Night Ambulance By Nicholas Ruddock $19.95, paperback, 256 pages Breakwater Books, 2016

The Tin Triangle By Linda Abbott $19.95, paperback, 273 pp. Flanker Press, 2016

Who is Hélène Giroux and what led her Nova Scotia’s French shore? This is the lingering question in Kurt Palka’s The Piano Maker. The novel is primarily set in the 1930s with flashbacks to Helene’s early life, including time at her family-owned piano factory in France. Through these and other events, the reason Hélène is in Nova Scotia is shown to be connected to family acquaintance: Nathan Homewood. While this mystery and its rich historic detail, is enough to keep readers interested, The Piano Maker has its faults. There is too much time spent on flashbacks building up to an event that seems to be glossed over. Even still, The Piano Maker is filled with a few characters and events that have nothing to do with the current situation. Ultimately, The Piano Maker's inability to escape the past, much like Héléne, is the thing that takes away from an otherwise engaging, suspenseful story.

It’s the early 1970s when 16-year-old Rowena Savoury is raped under a wharf in her coastal Newfoundland town. Armed only with a little sexual education and her conviction, Rowena travels to St. John’s for an illegal abortion. When complications arise and she faces investigation, her story begins to entwine everyone it touches. In Night Ambulance, Nicholas Ruddock strips away the politics and policies that have trapped and defined women for decades and gets to the heart of the people who live with these decisions. Using pared down language and stark scenes Ruddock reveals a world controlled by men – rapists, disapproving uncles, policemen, lawmakers – and the women who navigate this system desperate to escape the hold on their own bodies. In whispers, names of doctors jotted on notes, and quiet bargaining, Ruddock’s tense warning could easily be a vision of the future in a novel as poignant as it is painfully hopeful.

If you’re a military history buff or a fan of historical fiction, then The Tin Triangle is a must-read. The novel, set during the events of World War I and based on true events, was inspired by author Linda Abbott’s grandfather and his compatriots. Abbott offers a moving tribute to the First Newfoundland Regiment and its tragic advance at Beaumont Hamel during the Battle of the Somme in France on July 1, 1916. With “I never imagined I would die this way…”, the opening lines of the book grab you instantly and you’re transported to a bygone time where honour meant everything. Told through the eyes of 17-year-old Ron Marrie of St. John’s, who signed up in 1914, it paints a poignant picture of a young soldier, his fears and triumphs as he fights for king and country.

Katie Ingram is a freelance journalist based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her work has been featured in a number of publications including Halifax Magazine, the South Shore Breaker and Quill and Quire.

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Lindsay Raining Bird lives and works in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her writing has appeared on CBC, The Coast, Broken Pencil and Bookshelf.ca. She will never stop reading.

Carmel Vivier is a journalist, author and photographer living in New Brunswick with articles and publishing credits in Canada, United States, United Kingdom and Ireland.


Short Stories

REVIEWS

What a Friend We Have in Gloria By Bruce Graham $19.95, paperback, 176 pp Pottersfield Press, 2016

The Motorcyclist by George Elliott Clarke $32.99, hardcover, 288 pp. HarperCollins, 2016

You’ve met oddballs before; you’ll meet them again in Bruce Graham’s latest book. They are addicts, busy-bodies and ne’er-do-wells — part of the woof and warp of rural Nova Scotia. The quirky thing is that in spite of being hopelessly weird and exasperating, they are also wonderfully human and full of heart. They are you and me — a reflection of who we are as Atlantic Canadians. This is Graham’s gift. The characters give us a chance to laugh at ourselves. In the process, we can let our hair down, step back, and make some mental shifts. And, the twisted title comes to carry more weight and meaning than seems apparent at first glance. Set in Parrsboro, NS, this witty yarn is laced with delightful dialogue, charming (and maddening) characters, and moves along at a fast clip. It’s a layered story with redemption as the main theme that doesn’t wallow in righteousness or self-pity.

The titular motorcyclist is Carl, who is based on the journals the author’s father kept as a young man. Carl is veritably bursting with energy, desire and lust, and it's all trapped inside him. He is limited by societal prejudice, the oppression of Black people and by his Grade 10 education, even though he is articulate, artistic and offers an astute political analysis. As he searches for his One Great Love through relentless trial and error, he falls evermore deeply in love with his R69 BMW motorbike. Our hero reads beat writers and dreams of the road, but mostly traverses within a four-kilometre radius between his north-end apartment and low-wage job at the train station. Constant in his mind is the contrast between his own position in society, his need to be loved and respected and his craving to be a free and independent man. The Motorcyclist is a novel of Halifax in the Jim Crow era and shows the clearest of colour lines as it maps the city and its late 1950s landmarks. Yet, the issues Carl and the women he loves and hurts face remain as current as asphalt.

Sandra Phinney freelances from her perch on the Tusket River, NS. Aside from loving books and writing reviews and author prof iles, she’s always on the lookout for stories for business, lifestyle and travel magazines.

Chris Benjamin is the author of three award-winning, critically-acclaimed books, as well as several short stories in anthologies and journals .

I Am What I Am Because You Are What You Are (Stories) By Carole Glasser Langille $24.95, paperback, 176 pp. Gaspereau Press, 2015 This is a jarring collection of stories. Stories with a variety of characters that often get intertwined in surprising ways, that are wide and eclectic and full of everyday meaning. Sometimes they provoke strong emotions because of the way they make thinking and reflecting on one’s own life unavoidable. “Meeting E.M Forste” is about a man confronting his homosexuality in 1947 and wrestling with what that means. “Valentin in Trouble” deals with our own illusions of ourselves, how others see us, and what we might gain by being honest. “Cousins” continues on this theme with a harsh look at how relationships differ in people’s minds and how you might affect someone in ways you hadn’t considered. Overall, this is a collection of stories that look at how people feel, act, love, and behave in a light that is never false. These stories will rattle you and perhaps shake you to your core, asking you to take a look at your own life and reflect on how you interact with others. Carole Glasser Langille is a poet and artist as well as a writer, which is evidenced in the pictures she paints in your mind and soul through her words. Laurie Burns is an English as additional language teacher to immigrants, literacy volunteer and voracious reader living in Halifax.

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REVIEWS

Local Hero – 20 New Short Stories from Cape Breton Island Edited by Ronald Caplan $18.95, paperback, 178 pp. Breton Books, 2015 What do Cape Breton Island and storytelling have in common? Why, everything, of course! If you like stories that appeal to a wide audience of readers, then look no further than editor Ronald Caplan’s latest compilation, Local Hero. It offers up stories of everyday living on Cape Breton Island and away, celebrating life, sharing love, and the sorrow of death, with all the funny twists and turns that make up people’s lives. Written by 20 very talented Canadian writers, both newly minted and seasoned authors, this collection delivers a blend of humorous and tug-at-yourheartstrings stories. While many of the stories focus on the people and places that make up Cape Breton Island, others offer a more ‘universal’ setting. These stories are sure to entertain and may even invoke a ‘déjà vu’ feeling or a memory from your past. Carmel Vivier is a journalist, author and photographer living in New Brunswick with articles and publishing credits in Canada, United States, United Kingdom and Ireland.

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Nova Scotia Love Stories Compiled by Lesley Choyce $21.95, paperback, 224 pp Pottersfield Press, 2015

In the Country By Wayne Curtis $21.95, paperback, 214 pp. Pottersfield Press, 2016

Nova Scotians know how to love. Lesley Choyce discovered that after enticing 16 writers to submit a story based around this emotion for a compilation titled Nova Scotia Love Stories. At the time, he had no idea what the outcome would be, although he notes in the introduction a hunch that each of these gifted Nova Scotia writers would bring some surprising element into the mix. All of the authors are household names – including Sheldon Currie, Jim Lotz, Carol Bruneau, Don Aker and Silver Donald Cameron – so it’s no surprise to find superb writing done with imagination and style. What is surprising, however, is the mix of fiction, non-fiction, and the in-between. It’s a satisfying smorgasbord of tales spanning life experiences that range from sweet to sour, from sombre to humorous to the downright inspirational. Readers will come away with lots to ponder about the complexity of relationships in general, and the meaning of love in particular.

“My grandfather told me it was the little things in life that separated greatness from mediocrity,” Wayne Curtis writes. And it is author Curtis’s lucid and lyrical prose, his discerning eye for the telling detail and his nuanced understanding of the hearts of his characters that make each of these short stories, set in mid20th-century rural New Brunswick, a polished gem. But there’s more going on here than just twelve finely crafted coming-of-age stories. Together they form a sweeping Faulkner-like narrative of social change set against the backdrop of the mighty Miramichi, the forests, and the farmland. While the time and place is particular, these characters transcend it in their attempts to reconcile their traditional roots with the pull of urbanization, loyalty with individualism, romance with pragmatism, and their yearning to find love and acceptance. The characters linger long after you’ve closed the book. In the Country is indeed Curtis at his finest.

Sandra Phinney freelances from her perch on the Tusket River, NS. Aside from loving books and writing reviews and author profiles, she’s always on the lookout for stories for business, lifestyle and travel magazines.

Margaret Patricia Eaton writes the weekly Art Talk column for the Times & Transcript. She’s won several awards for her poetry, which has been published in three collections, including her latest, Vision & Voice.


Poetry

Non-Fiction

REVIEWS

After Swiss Air by Budge Wilson $19.95, paperback, 126 pp. Pottersfield Press, 2016

Building for Justice The Historic Courthouses of the Maritimes by James W. Macnutt, Q.C. $24.95, paperback, 192 pp. SSP Publications, 2015

For Better or for Worse: The Comic Art of Lynn Johnston By Lynn Johnston & Katherine Hadway $24.95, paperback, 192 pp. Goose Lane Editions and Art Gallery of Sudbury, 2015

Building for Justice is more than a simple recounting of the history of courthouses in the Maritimes; it is also an excellent primer on our judicial system. Before getting into the meat of his subject matter, Charlottetown lawyer Jim Macnutt takes the reader on an informative tour of the development of the roots of our laws and courts in the English system before moving on to their Canadian counterparts. The heart of the book is devoted to informative histories of the 25 courthouses profiled. Outstanding full-colour photographs by Kevin Farnsworth accompany a detailed description of the exterior and interior of the courthouses, with several images of each building. This book is a well-written, beautifully illustrated addition to the history of architecture in the Maritimes, profiling public buildings that many of us pass every day without noticing as true gems.

When Lynn Johnston created a happy ending for her alter ego, Elly Patterson, and her family in 2008, it was a blow to the fans who’d followed them in real-time for 30 years through the daily "For Better or For Worse" comic strip. Although Johnston was told, not once but twice, by gallery curators that her evocative line drawings and interpretation of middle-class suburban family life were “not art”, Karen Tait-Peacock, director of the Art Gallery of Sudbury believed otherwise, surprising her with an invitation to mount a touring exhibition. This accompanying volume, published by Goose Lane Editions, follows her lifelong artistic evolution. Featuring nearly 500 drawings, illustrations and photographs, it’s a fascinating glimpse into how a female Canadian cartoonist, working from her home in northern Manitoba, stayed true to her vision in a male-dominated, American-rooted cartoon culture, winning legions of loyal readers along the way.

After Swiss Air, a collection of poems by author Budge Wilson, is a resonant success. Some of the poems make the heart slam or prickle with pain. Others drive like an angry surf; many beg to be read aloud. Yet others are sad and delicate, like wisps of fog obscuring a wharf, while a select few shimmer with renewed receptivity to the beauty of the oceanic world. All, writes Wilson, are “written in gratitude and in celebration of those thousands of men and women who suffered – and sometimes triumphed – during the months and years that followed the crash of Swiss Air Flight 111.” There were many potential pitfalls for such a book. Yet almost 18 years after the disaster near St. Margaret’s Bay, NS, Wilson fearlessly took on a genre that was new to her and rarely used to recount historical events, and created a book that brings images of light, and even tiny shards of joy, to one of Canada's most horrifying events. The 36 poems are elegant and powerful. As compelling is the book’s cover, on which a colourful quilt is set on a black background. Do judge this book by its cover. It is saturated with kindness, courage and connection. Marjorie Simmins works as a journalist, memoir writing teacher and author. Her memoir, Coastal Lives, was published by Pottersfield Press.

John Boileau lives near Halifax and writes historical non-fiction, especially military history. He has written eleven books and more than 450 magazine and newspaper articles. His latest book is Old Enough to Fight, Canada’s Boy Soldiers in the First World War, coauthored with Dan Black.

Margaret Patricia Eaton writes the weekly Art Talk column for the Times & Transcript. She’s won several awards for her poetry, which has been published in three collections, including her latest, Vision & Voice.

Atlantic Books Today 25


Young Adult

REVIEWS

Thoughts on Driving to Venus: Christopher Pratt’s Car Books By Christopher Pratt, edited by Tom Smart $22.95, paperback, 208 pp. The Porcupine’s Quill, 2015 It’s a rich ride to accompany painter and print maker Christopher Pratt as he jots responses to weather, landscape, wildlife and more while he’s driven around Newfoundland – mostly the Burgeo Road, west coast, and northern peninsula. These selected entries from his car books kept between 1999 and 2014 are sometimes just fragments or lists. Pratt says these are meant to be impressions but impressionism is perhaps better heard in music or viewed in visual art; the reader needs more. We get that in occasional passages of lovely writing: “There is a maturity about August, a sophistication… it lacks the lingering adolescence of June, the assertive nouveau riche of mid-July, the visual pyrotechnics of September.” The voice is strong and often playful as the writer dots his thoughts with myriad exclamation points. More rigor in the selection of entries and a cull of repetitions (40-plus visits to Tim Hortons!), however, would have made for a tighter book. Note: Excerpts from Pratt's car books were also included in the art book The Places I Go (Goose Lane Editions)

Marjorie Doyle is a writer in St. John’s. Her latest book is A Doyle Reader: Writings from Home and Away.

26

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Turmoil, As Usual: Politics in Newfoundland and Labrador and The Road to the 2015 Election by James McLeod $19.95, paperback, 247 pp. Creative Publishing, 2016

Flannery by Lisa Moore $18.95, hardcover, 272 pp. Groundwood Books/ House of Anansi Press, 2016

Lisa Moore's newest novel, Flannery, follows Flannery Malone, a 16-year old Politics on "The Rock" is not only an Newfoundlander, through her rapidly island blood sport but also tends to be fading childhood. She's burdened with the turbulent and unpredictable, dominated responsibility of keeping her family afloat by larger-than-life premiers. That’s why because of her mother's irresponsibility Turmoil, As Usual is such an apt title with money and, on top of everything, she for James McLeod’s first book on the stranger-than-fiction 2013 to 2015 period has a huge school project coming due. Flannery is Moore's first Young Adult in Newfoundland/Labrador politics. novel, but she keeps the fast pace and exTelegram political reporter McLeod citement of her last novel, Caught (which lifts the veil and, in places, cuts loose was short-listed for the 2013 Scotia with scalpel-like precision, making Bank Giller Prize). Although written for good on his promise to tell “all the stuff a younger audience, the book still gives nobody ever hears about.” a fascinating character study of a young McLeod has filled this book with faswoman who is forced to grow up too cinating little vignettes sure to titillate quickly. Moore's writing sounds like it was political junkies and entertain readers, taken straight from a teenage girl's mouth. from rebuffing Premier Kathy DunderThere's tension and drama as Flannery's dale’s vigorous efforts to get him on the life-long friendship is threatened by a dance floor to trying to make sense of questionable romance involving a love short-term Premier Frank Coleman’s incoherent mumblings. Current Liberal potion and Moore takes you through all the pratfalls and mistakes that come with Premier Dwight Ball does not escape being a teenager. And the ever-present unscathed: McLeod is underwhelmed motif of due dates, whether for Flannery's by the slow-moving, impeccably class project or bill collections, will make dressed Deer Lake pharmacist who you think about all the stuff you have now holds power, and hints that the coming due. Flannery is a brilliant Young turmoil may not be over. Adult novel – no matter how old you are. Paul Bennett is an education commentator, consultant and author of The Last Stand: Steve Large is a recent graduate of the Schools, Communities and the Future University of King's College School of of Rural Nova Scotia. Journalism and an ABT intern.


Vi s i t

AtlanticB o to discooksToday.ca/events

EVENTS FESTIVAL SEASON

readingvser festivals, signingsand book a the regiocross n

FESTIVAL SEASON Summer means book events! July 9 READ BY THE SEA River John, NS Read by the Sea promotes and fosters appreciation for outstanding Canadian writing and literature among residents and visitors of Nova Scotia’s North Shore communities. Includes a Pitch the Publisher session. Featured authors include Kim Thuy, James Laxer, Susan Paddon, Jennifer Robson. July 9–August 20 PORT MEDWAY READERS' FESTIVAL Port Medway, NS The Port Medway Readers’ Festival is an opportunity for readers to listen to and meet writers in an informal and friendly village setting. Featured authors include Elizabeth Hay, Joan Clark, Calvin Trillin. August 12–14 WINTERSET IN SUMMER Eastport Peninsula, NL At Newfoundland and Labrador’s unique literary festival designed to celebrate the province’s writers, meet new and established authors and hear them talk about their writing with celebrity hosts. Featured authors include Lynn Coady, Will Ferguson, Elizabeth Hay. August 16–21 WRITERS AT WOODY POINT Woody Point, NL During this literary festival, authors and musicians can connect with their audience in intimate venues, over dinner and drinks, or on a hike into the pristine hills. Featured authors include Lawrence Hill, Guy Vanderhaeghe, Heather O’Neill.

w w w . f e r n w o o d p u b l i s h i n g . c a /r o s e w a y Grey Eyes A Novel by Frank Christopher Busch 2015 – Burt Award for First Nations, Metis and Inuit Literature 9781552666777 $20.95

Exiled for Love: The Journey of an Iranian Queer Activist Arsham Parsi with Marc Colbourne 2016 – Shortlisted for the Lambda Literary Awards 9781552667019 $20.95

RosEwAyPuBlishiNg an imprint of Fernwood Publishing

Reading, naturally. Ron Such rons@friesens.com T. 1.902.684.0888

Complete Book Manufacturing

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Atlantic Books Today Issue 81 - Summer 2016  

Featuring the best and brightest in Atlantic Canadian books, including new reads from Lisa Moore, David Adams Richards, Christy Ann Conlin,...

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