From Guy Tiphane: Letter from San Francisco   > read more...


Wednesday 28 September 2011

Berkeley Poetry Walk: For Jack Spicer
Photo: Guy Tiphane

Nelly Arcan's Humilation on Tout le monde en parle   > read more...


Tuesday 13 September 2011

Nelly Arcan, the talented and beautiful novelist who committed suicide in September 2009 (see my Globe Books post here) has published a posthumous story called Shame (La Honte) that is creating a stir.


Nelly Arcan on the cover of her second novel Folle

Report from the Future II: Montreal’s Literary Avant-garde   > read more...


Tuesday 13 September 2011

I hate to break this to you, Ladies and Gentlemen – especially if you’re still in denial about the digital revolution – but the literary future includes not only electronic books, but words and images dancing on a screen, with voice and music and other sound effects.


Bertrand Gervais

Report from the Future I: Montreal’s Literary Avant-garde   > read more...


Tuesday 13 September 2011

Letters appear, quickly metamorphose into other letters, creating new words, new meanings, and new stories. A story that might have been set in Brooklyn is transformed on screen into a story about Odessa, and then into another about Berlin.

I catch a line about being “hand in hand on uncertain ground.” It all reminds me of that line of Leonard Cohen’s about a woman “who’s gone and changed her name again.”

                                               

                                            as blue as an orange

Nepveu, Mavrikakis, Leblanc: Quebec’s impressive fall literary season   > read more...


Monday 12 September 2011

While the Miron biography is a considerable assessment of the one of the great figures of nationalist Quebec, the publication this month of a new novel by Catherine Mavrikakis is an event, too, and one of the surest signs of vitality among a younger generation of Quebec writers.

And then there's Perrine Leblanc, aged 31.



Catherine Mavrikakis

Quebec’s fall literary season begins   > read more...


Monday 12 September 2011

This is, in short, the busiest time of the year for literary publishers here, perhaps even more so than elsewhere in Canada – and elsewhere in the world – since the Quebec industry takes its lead from France in its single-minded focus on the fall.

Kim Thuy

From Kenneth Radu: Reading Kathleen Winter’s Annabel   > read more...


Wednesday 7 September 2011

The heart of the novel is the brilliant and painful, detailed and multi-layered depiction of Annabel herself from his earliest years as the boy Wayne to the excruciatingly awkward and sometimes devastating experiences of the young woman Annabel in St. John’s. In scene after scene Winter wonderfully conveys a child’s literal-mindedness and imagination, a child’s consciousness of physiological transformations and emotional changes, an adolescent’s conflicts and yearnings, tensions within the family, all complicated by the salient fact of his/her gender.

                                                       

                                                    Cover, Annabel (Anansi)                                               

Commenting on posts   > read more...


Tuesday 6 September 2011

Visitors to this site are cordially invited to comment on posts. You will need to register first (at the end of any post).

Photo: Linda Leith

Michael Ondaatje's The Cat's Table, reviewed by Linda Leith   > read more...


Friday 2 September 2011

My review of Michael Ondaatje's great new novel, The Cat's Table, is now online and will appear in print in The Gazette [Montreal] tomorrow, Saturday, September 3, 2011.

.ll.

Q & A with Patterson Webster on Land Marks / Pays sage   > read more...


Tuesday 30 August 2011

Patterson Webster’s exhibition Land Marks – nicely translated as Pays sage – explores how people shape the natural world and are shaped by it. Intrigued when I attended the show and walked the trails, I asked Webster questions about her work, to which she responded by email.

Her work is exhibited in a gallery setting at the North Hatley Library (165 Main Street, North Hatley) and outdoors at Glen Villa Gardens (1000 chemin North Hatley, Sainte-Catherine–de-Hatley), where you can walk the Abenaki and In Transit trails daily, 1–5 p.m. Enter the property on the private drive marked with a flag. Follow signs for parking. See brochure and map. Duration of walk: 45 minutes (1.5 km) round trip.

From Kenneth Radu: The Sculptures of John Félice Ceprano   > read more...


Wednesday 24 August 2011

These works fall to the force of nature every year and are rebuilt in new formations in late spring and summer when the river releases itself from winter’s grip. The rock remains, the art vanishes, only to reappear, because the artist is moved to do so, change and transformation being essential to his aesthetic. And that’s a rather exciting concept. Ceprano’s purpose is not to create a never changing artifact, but to celebrate the phenomenon of change itself

UFOs, nuclear weapons -- and apologies   > read more...


Wednesday 24 August 2011


The site has been down, owing to server overload. Some of that is the traffic generated since the four pieces I posted yesterday, but most of it has nothing to do with this site but with another dealing with UFOs and nuclear weapons.

My webmaster suggests posting on UFOs and nuclear weapons as a way of increasing traffic. I guess it would be.


The Reford Gardens: The Old, the New, the Secret and the Provocative   > read more...


Tuesday 23 August 2011

What interests me in these gardens is their design and imaginative daring, along with their thoughtful and often playful deconstruction of the garden into its constituent parts. As a writer, I am also intrigued by the power of the language used to describe them. Among the most provocative – perhaps especially for a writer -- is the Jardin de la connaissance, a “secret and strange library” of walls, benches and floors made up of used books exposed to wind and weather – and varieties of mushrooms cultivated within some of the books.

Here is a world première view of Louise Tanguay's new photograph of the controversial Jardin de la connaissance.

Photo: Louise Tanguay

Auberge du Grand Fleuve, Métis-sur-Mer   > read more...


Tuesday 23 August 2011

I was looking for something that stood out, and I found it. This French couple declared the food they had at the Auberge du Grand Fleuve (131, rue Principale, Métis-sur-Mer) the best they’d had in Quebec. Now that’s saying something.





On the Road to Métis II: From Trois-Pistoles to Sainte-Flavie   > read more...


Tuesday 23 August 2011

Next stop is prompted by a glimpse of the extravagant spires of the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges church in Trois-Pistoles, where you think you might catch a glimpse of the redoubtable nationalist novelist and publisher Victor-Lévy Beaulieu (but of course you don’t). What you do hear, is English, a few words of spoken English.

Notre-Dame-des-Neiges, Trois-Pistoles

On the Road to Métis I: Lévis to Kamouraska   > read more...


Monday 22 August 2011

It’s lunchtime, and the Café du clocher (88 av. Morel, Kamouraska), has a dozen or more tables in pretty tablecloths set out on the grass overlooking the St. Lawrence (there are tables indoors, as well). A gentleman has a basket of chanterelles he picked that morning in the woods nearby, and he’s selling them for $12 a pound. He has a guitar with him, and he sits down to play and sing as you sit down to an al fresco lunch of salad, smoked Kamouraska lamb and some of the local smoked fish.

                           

                              Chanterelles in Kamouraska (Photo: Linda Leith)

The Audacious Kathleen Winter   > read more...


Thursday 18 August 2011

Because one of the things that happens – and I cannot believe we do this as a society – is that there’s a decision: Is this a penis or a clitoris? If it’s decided it shouldn’t be a penis, then it’s removed. So, whatever it was, it could feel stuff, right? Whatever it was, it was the source of sexual ecstasy for that child’s future. And as part of our comfort level with being a society that wants to have no ambiguity, we don’t even think about that.

Ken Scott’s Starbuck: Where the Greatest Losers are the Greatest Winners   > read more...


Tuesday 9 August 2011

We’ll be hearing a lot more about Ken Scott. So see Starbuck. (Those of you able to attend TIFF can see it there.) And then see La Grande séduction.

                                              

                                               Patrick Huard in new film Starbuck

The Remarkable, the Quirky and the Delightful, or, Why I Love the TLS   > read more...


Thursday 4 August 2011

After a certain period of time, say forty years, I think we should be allowed to admit that we no longer know somebody we used to know and be permitted to go back to the beginning and start again, I’ve known some people for so long without speaking to them and we’ve all changed so much in the interim that we need to be re-introduced.

We are all Torontonians: Philistines and the Battle for Public Libraries   > read more...


Wednesday 3 August 2011

The Toronto battle has not yet made its mark nationally, but it should. If Toronto library users and supporters lose this fight, you can depend on it that other municipalities will be encouraged to follow suit. I am a Montrealer, not a Torontonian, but I know this is my battle, too. And I think it’s a battle we should all be fighting.

When it comes to the future of public libraries, we are all Torontonians.

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