2017 was a big year for us here at the Bibliomanse! We released a ton of great new titles, two new Bibliofolk arrived as Casey Plett and Jonny Flieger joined the team, Biblioasis books made it onto some very prestigious awards lists, and we had a lot of great coverage in the media. Here are just a few highlights of some of the spectacular reviews and coverage our books received this past year:
Alejandro Saravia’s Red, Yellow, Green had a great review in Montreal Review of Books—“a labyrinthine narrative that lodges like shrapnel—bracing and painful…playfully absurdist, funny, brilliant, and courageous… Saravia’s accomplishment in Red, Yellow, Green is to make you care, and deeply”
Montreal Review of Books: History vs. Oblivion
Kevin Hardcastle and John Irving spent some time “Bro-ing down” at the International Festival of Authors together. Kevin’s new novel In the Cage has been collecting heaps of praise from places such as Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, Maclean’s, National Post, and Foreword Reviews.
In Conversation: Kevin Hardcastle & John Irving
Maclean’s: Five Must Read Books for October
Toronto Star: Twenty-Five must-read books this fall
National Post: Book Review
The Vancouver Sun recognized their Vancouver daughter, Cynthia Flood, and her new short story collection What Can You Do, saying it “…makes for page-turning reading…Flood’s writing is sparse and direct, and tackles the challenging topics unfolding in her stories with welcome clarity.”
Quill & Quire wrote that David Huebert’s Peninsula Sinking “…establishes Huebert as one of Canada’s most impressive young writers … the stories are far-reaching, but tightly woven, each focused on characters in significant moments of development or change.”
Quill & Quire Review
The late Norman Levine’s collected short stories, I Don’t Want to Know Anyone Too Well, took some people by surprise this year. André Forget wrote in The Walrus “If Levine lacks for a Canadian readership, it could be in part because there is no definitive, breakout collection of his stories…that might change with I Don’t Want to Know Anyone Too Well. If great writing has a mark, surely this is it.”
Ian McGillis raised the stakes even higher for Levine, writing in The Montreal Gazette that Levine’s short stories should be compared to Gallant, Munro, and even Chekhov, believing “Norman Levine deserves it and his time has come.”
The Walrus: Will a Posthumous Story Collection Help Canada Forgive Norman Levine?
Montreal Gazette: Neglected story master Norman Levine gets his due in new collection
CBC: 16 Canadian poetry collections to watch for
The Walrus: Robyn Sarah’s Exquisitely Untrendy Poetry
The Toronto Star wrote of Molly Peacock’s The Analyst, that “The poems bear witness to loss and change in the lives of two women, but they also offer a remarkable account of the restorative power of creativity… [Peacock’s] poetry’s orderly grace can seem paradoxical when she’s describing intense, chaotic emotions. But that lyrical craft is exactly what makes these poems resonate.”
Toronto Star: Poetry transforms Molly Peacock’s relationship with her analyst
Even celebrities couldn’t keep their hands off of Biblioasis books this year! Sarah Jessica Parker of Sex in the City fame raved about Carys Davies, saying “Oh my God! Oh my God! It was so great! The Redemption of Galen Pike. A collection of short stories. I never read short stories. This book is so wonderful. One of the clerks at Three Lives Bookstore convinced me to get that book. It’s fantastic!”
Sarah Jessica Parker & The Redemption of Galen Pike
The Redemption of Galen Pike was also an Indie Next pick and a Women’s National Book Association pick for their National Reading Group Month Great Group Reads 2017 List.
National Reading Group: Great Group Reads
The long-form review lives on over at Music and Literature. It’s a disservice to their careful and thoughtful review of Elise Levine’s Blue Field to excerpt such a short quote but needs must. Hannah Leclair writes “Reading the novel is a sensation akin to drifting weightlessly beneath the surface of the text…dazzling, textured, tightly woven.”
Music & Literature Review
The Winnipeg Review agreed, saying “Elise Levine’s new novel takes place in a state of not suspense, but suspension. It is set, tellingly, in the rough space between two deaths in the protagonist’s life—first Marilyn’s parents, back to back, then her best friend. The novel ceaselessly evokes the hanging feeling of being deep underwater: all is muted, slow, and yet sensation is almost unbearably heightened … Levine is, undeniably, an outstanding wordsmith. Her writing style moves in multiple directions, making high stakes out of small movements while turning panic into poetry.”
In The New York Times
The Newspaper of Record took notice of a number of Biblioasis books this year. The New York Times featured glowing reviews for Alison Moore’s The Lighthouse, Mark Kingwell’s Fail Better, and Jorge Carrion’s Bookshops.
The Lighthouse—New York Times’ On the Road in Germany, Accompanied by Troubling Memories
Fail Better—New York Times’ Now Batting: 14 New Baseball Books
Fail Better—New York Times’ How to Throw a Baseball
Bookshops—New York Times’ A Love Affair With Bookstores
Author, editor, and Bibliofriend John Metcalf won an Ottawa Book Award for his collection The Museum at the End of the World. Metcalf also edited Biblioasis’ successful relaunch of Best Canadian Stories (Biblioasis authors David Huebert, Paige Cooper, Cynthia Flood, K.D. Miller & Grant Buday are among those included in the anthology!).
2017 Ottawa Book Awards
Boundary, written by Andrée A. Michaud and translated from the French by Donald Winkler, was named to the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist. World Literature Today says Boundary is “a haunting novel, rich with the details of the families’ daily lives and brilliant internal monologue, but the translation doesn’t draw attention to itself, a common flaw in translators too conscious of the masterful prose they are rendering. This is particularly appropriate here as Michaud’s remarkable writing seems entirely relaxed, belying what can only be very meticulously composed. Boundary has been recognized by a number of prizes in Canada, including the author’s second Governor General’s Award for Fiction. She deserves to be better known as one of the best writers in North America.”
And last but not least, Elaine Dewar was a Governor General’s Literary Award Finalist for her controversial book The Handover: How Bigwigs and Bureaucrats Transferred Canada’s Best Publisher and the Best Part of Our Literary Heritage to a Foreign Multinational. The book is all about the shady backroom deals that went on in order to package McClelland & Stewart off to international megapublisher Random House, robbing Canadians of one of the most definitively Canadian presses in the name of bigger profits and global monopolization.
Read the Maclean’s article on the deal and Dewar’s book here!
Phew. All that and we’ve barely skimmed the surface. There’s so much more to discover–all of our authors have been killing it and there’s so much great coverage and great responses to their amazing work out there. Come down to the shop or stumble around the website here and find out more. Congratulations to all our amazing Biblioasis authors and thank you so much to all our readers! See you in the New Year!