It’s been a busy summer here at the Bibliomanse—not least of all because we’re still settling in to our new digs. It turns out it’s a lot of work to build and stock a warehouse with fifteen years’ worth of books.
1979, Ray Robertson’s novel about coming of age in small-town Ontario, was the talk of multiple towns. Ray was interviewed in Metro and Chatham Daily News, as well as CBC London’s Afternoon Drive. In Winnipeg Free Press, Kathryne Cardwell praised the Robertson’s skilfully constructed characters: “As Robertson traces Tom’s coming of age, he explores themes of innocence lost, wisdom gained and learning to forgive … [Robertson’s] talent as a writer shows in his clear prose and ability to create unique and believable characters.”
The Pre-War House, the debut collection of short fiction by Alison Moore, Booker-shortlisted author of The Lighthouse, garnered rave reviews from seemingly everyone who picked it up, including Kirkus (“A masterful collection”), Booklist (“Moore is the real deal”), Minneapolis Star Tribune (“I envy Moore’s talent”), Winnipeg Free Press (“Delightfully creepy and gut-wrenching”), and Arkansas International (“Moore’s writing is surprising and exact”).
After being featured on CBC’s “21 Works of Canadian Nonfiction to Watch For in the First Half of 2018,” Rachel Lebowitz’s The Year of No Summer, lovingly described around the office as “Maggie Nelson does the Apocalypse,” was praised by Kirkus, Toronto Star, and Midwest Book Review, among other venues. Neil Surkan’s lyrical and deeply thoughtful engagement with the text for Literary Review of Canada is one we’re still talking about: “In the footsteps of Claudia Rankine, Maggie Nelson, Daphne Marlatt, and Anne Carson . . . these essays cling to you long after you’ve read them, like lingering grains of wet, black sand.”
Zolitude, Paige Cooper’s debut collection of short fiction, was included in multiple CBC lists and received reviews . . . basically everywhere, from Quill and Quire , The Walrus and Montreal Review of Books, to Toronto Star and Globe and Mail, to Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Library Journal—but I would be remiss not to mention that we also may have loudly exclaimed about a series of tweets by none other than Jeff VanderMeer, who wrote: “I’m not sure I can praise this book highly enough. It’s sui generis, managing to be both intellectually rigorous and also emotionally resonant. Cooper’s Zolitude manages an interiority of character that’s honest and, again, pretty unique. These are flawed, interesting characters presented in sharp relief . . . Just buy this damn thing, okay?”
We’ll be back next week with recaps of more spring/summer titles!