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SHIMMER, THE DAY-BREAKERS, A FACTOTUM IN THE BOOK TRADE: Media Hits!

IN THE NEWS

SHIMMER

Shimmer (May 17, 2022) by Alex Pugsley has been reviewed by the Toronto Star! The review was posted online on May 26, 2022. You can read the full review here.

Reviewer Robert Wiersema writes,

“Looking at Shimmer as a whole, one is struck by Pugsley’s mastery of the short-story form, his ability to distil entire lives’ worth of meaning into a few short pages. He’s not just a writer to watch: he’s a writer to savour.”

Steven Beattie also reviewed the story ‘Ordinary Love Song’ from the collection on his blog, That Shakespearean Rag. You can read the full review here.

Beattie writes,

“His story proves that the digital mode of communication, while frequently castigated as impersonal and dehumanizing, can, in the right hands, carry with it strong emotional resonance.”

Get your copy of Shimmer here!

A FACTOTUM IN THE BOOK TRADE

A Factotum in the Book Trade by Marius Kociejowski (April 26, 2022) has been reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement. The article was published online May 25, 2022 and in print on May 27, 2022. You read the full review here.

Henry Hitchings writes,

“A bookseller for half a century, [Kociejowski] has encountered a great many strange and rare items. … Full of curious information … Kociejowski is eloquent about the magic of books, their bindings and associations.”

Get your copy of A Factotum in the Book Trade here!

THE DAY-BREAKERS

Michael Fraser, author of The Day-Breakers (April 5, 2022) was interviewed by Shauna Powers on CBC Saskatchewan Weekend. In the interview he discusses his collection of poems and the CBC Poetry Prize. The episode aired on May 22, 2022, and you can listen to the full interview here.

The Day-Breakers was reviewed by Melanie Brannagan Frederiksen in the Winnipeg Free Press. The review was published online on May 28, 2022. You can read the complete review here.

Frederiksen writes,

“Throughout the collection Fraser uses texture and rhythm to unsettling effect. […] line breaks interrupt the flow of accruing details to hold the reader in the moment of bodily vulnerability as long as possible.”

Get your copy of The Day-Breakers here!

 

POGUEMAHONE: Rave Reviews and Interviews!

IN THE NEWS!

POGUEMAHONE

Poguemahone by Patrick McCabe (May 3, 2022) was reviewed in The Irish Examiner on April 24, 2022. Check out the full review here.

Reviewer Josephine Fenton writes:

“This is a great enormous book by a great Irish author and should be welcomed by everyone in this great country and the world beyond. You might think, on first sight, that Poguemahone was following in the wake of Finnegan in its attempt to be enormously long, very dense and quite inaccessible. But it is not, at all. You can slip into it like a blunt knife through butter.”

Poguemahone was excerpted in RTE – Raidió Teilifís Éireann, published online on April 25, 2022. You can read the excerpt here.

Patrick McCabe was interviewed about Poguemahone in The Guardian. The interview was published online on April 24, 2022. You can read the complete article here.

Tim Adams writes:

“In the pantheon of storied Irish writers—Joyce in Dublin, Yeats on the west coast—McCabe has a special place as the conjuror of the small-town middle. […] The occasion for our lunch is McCabe’s new book, Poguemahone, an extraordinary 600-page free verse novel, already hailed in the Observer as “this century’s Ulysses” […] Once you get tuned to McCabe’s brilliant playful wavelength, after a couple or three pages, you find yourself at home in Aunty Nano’s famous late-night club […] and spending too much time at the ‘premier crash pad in all of north London’, paradiso or inferno, depending on your politics.”

Patrick McCabe was also interviewed in The Independent, published online on April 24, 2022. You can read the full interview here.

Emily Hourican writes:

“The book—a hefty 600 pages—is written in verse form. And, for those of you put off by the very idea, don’t be. It is by turns energetic, hilarious, tragic and terrifying, and easy to follow once you fall into the beat of it—’the beat of a bodhran, which is the beat of Irish history,’ says McCabe.”

 

Order your copy of Poguemahone here!

 

THE SINGING FOREST, ON PROPERTY, THE AFFIRMATIONS, THE DAY-BREAKERS, HAIL THE INVISIBLE WATCHMAN, THINGS ARE AGAINST US, POGUEMAHONE: Media Hits!

IN THE NEWS

THE SINGING FOREST

The Singing Forest by Judith McCormack (September 21, 2021) was highlighted during a book segment on CBC’s The Next Chapter. Author Wendy McKnight was on the show to recommend three historical fiction novels, including The Singing Forest! The conversation aired on March 26, 2022, and was replayed on March 28, 2022. You can listen to or read the full conversation here, where the comments about The Singing Forest start at 6:45.

Wendy McKnight says:

“I think I may have saved the best for last. I just found this book so beautifully written, even despite the fact that it’s at times very horrifying and upsetting. [Judith McCormack] does a really masterful job of weaving a story from present-day Toronto and then going back to pre-World War II Belarus … And so that idea that people can go through times and can still maintain their dignity and their sense of self is such a strong theme that it’s just so beautifully done.”

Get your copy of The Singing Forest here!

ON PROPERTY

Rinaldo Walcott, author of On Property (February 2, 2021), is being featured by the Writers’ Trust Amplified Voices campaign, an effort to highlight books that were published by BIPOC or racialized Canadian authors during the COVID-19 pandemic. A video conversation between Rinaldo Walcott and Canisia Lubrin was released today, where they discuss On Property. You can watch the full video conversation here.

Learn more about the Writers’ Trust Amplified Voices campaign here.

“So the challenge for the persistence of human life is how will we redistribute everything that has come out of the dread and the horror but also the intimacies of these encounters.” —Rinaldo Walcott

Order On Property here!

THE AFFIRMATIONS

The Affirmations by Luke Hathaway (April 5, 2022), was reviewed by Jackie Wong in The Tyee: “On Affirmations and Letting Life Change Us.” The review was published on March 23, 2022. Check out the full review here.

Wong writes:

“There’s something healing about watching people wrestle with and arrive on the other side of a long winter of the land and spirit, whether onscreen or on the page. Accordingly, Luke Hathaway’s The Affirmations is just the thing to read now as we defrost from another pandemic winter and notice the green buds on tree branches, a promise of renewal almost in spite of all we’ve seen.”

Order The Affirmations here!

THE DAYBREAKERS & HAIL, THE INVISIBLE WATCHMAN

The Day-Breakers by Michael Fraser and Hail, the Invisible Watchman by Alexandra Oliver (April 5, 2022), have been reviewed on Marrow Reviews by Catherine Owen. The review was published online on March 24, 2022. Take a look at the full review here.

Owen writes:

“Two new poetry titles from Biblioasis, as distinct as can be envisioned, apart from their attentions to the specificities of sound, reassure this reviewer that a variety of approaches to the motivations behind poetry persists. Alexandra Oliver’s Hail, the Invisible Watchman points to the validity of artifice in craft beyond emotion’s call (an Eliotian acolyte perchance?), while Michael Fraser’s stunning collection The Day-Breakers attends to how feeling exists within diction, inside an era’s particular lexicon of pain and triumph.”

Order The Day-Breakers here!

Order Hail, the Invisible Watchman here!

THINGS ARE AGAINST US

Lucy Ellmann, author of Things Are Against Us (September 28, 2021), was interviewed by Nahlah Ayed on CBC Ideas. The episode aired on Thursday, March 24, and was posted online earlier that evening. Listen to the full interview here.

From the interview:

Nahlah Ayed: We hear it everywhere, group chats, social media, political commentary: people are overwhelmed with not just what’s happening in the world, but also by the amount of information that we get about what’s happening in the world. How do you cope with the ‘too-muchness’ of everything?

Lucy Ellmann: Well, one way is to read 18th-century novels. Nineteenth-century will do, too. They’re very involving. They’re beautiful. They’re funny. They’re full of satire. A kind of thing that no longer exists. Almost no one understands satire anymore. I think it’s because, I don’t know, education doesn’t exist, I guess, or we just all lost our sense of humour.

I think you have to get back to humour and nature. And I think, taking a walk and getting away from the machines. But if you go for a walk, everyone else is still on a machine out there. So they need their machines forcibly confiscated when they leave their house so that at least outdoors, there’s some kind of community life where you actually face each other.

Order Things Are Against Us here!

POGUEMAHONE

Poguemahone (May 3, 2022) by Patrick McCabe has been reviewed by Kirkus Reviews. The review will be published online on March 30, 2022.

The reviewer writes:

“A searing family drama and bittersweet evocation of nostalgia for lost youth.

Irish novelist McCabe’s new work is a leap beyond his previous accomplishments in fiction; a sprawling, epic novel in verse, the book builds on the tradition of lyric poetry as a method of storytelling, shot through with a postmodern Beat sensibility. The tale begins in the present as narrator Dan Fogarty arrives at the nursing home where his sister, the mercurial Una Fogarty, lives. From there, the narrative quickly moves back in time to the early 1970s to a communal house in London’s Kilburn district, where the siblings spent their early adulthood among an endless parade of flatmates, besotted poets, and various other hippies and hangers-on. At the center of this bohemian gyre is the Scottish poet Troy McClory, and the anything-but-rosy romance between Troy and Una becomes something of a leitmotif throughout the story. Swirling around this torrid relationship, the book details the siblings’ childhood during WWII and their coming-of-age against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, while the lingering specters of alcoholism, mental illness, and suicide are never far from the margins of the text. Despite these bleak themes, the novel is not without its share of humor—early ’70s pop-culture references abound, and the Joycean linguistic play is a pleasure to read. Structurally, the book is a marvel; McCabe’s inventive use of enjambment and stanza layout push the boundaries of what is possible in narrative storytelling. The vernacular, drunken verse format may be daunting at first, but after a few pages the narrative develops a hypnotic rhythm, as if one is sitting on a barstool listening to the narrator unspool his story over a pint (or three). At this point, the reader has merely to hang on and enjoy the ride.

A moving saga of youth, age, and memory—by turns achingly poetic, knowingly philosophical, and bitterly funny.”

Order your copy of Poguemahone here!

HOUSEHOLDERS

Householders cover

Kate Cayley, author of Householders (September 2021), was interviewed by James Tennant for Get Lit CFMU.

The episode aired on March 24, 2022 and is available online here.

Get your copy of Householders here!

POGUEMAHONE, SAY THIS, THE MUSIC GAME, SHIMMER: Reviews & Interviews!

IN THE NEWS

POGUEMAHONE

Patrick McCabe has been interviewed in The Times in regards to his forthcoming novel Poguemahone (May 3, 2022). “Pat McCabe: A lifetime’s search for the voice” was published online on March 18, 2022. You can read the full interview here.

An excerpt from the interview:

“In the early stages of creating his new novel, though, there were times when he wondered if he was throwing it all away. Poguemahone is a free-form experiment that reads like a psychedelic ballad. Narrated by an Irishman living in England, it’s McCabe’s weirdest and wildest work to date. ‘And it’s my best,’ he insists. ‘I worked so hard on it. I’m not a great fan of indiscipline. It might look like this is wild, but everything ties up in it, and that’s not always the case with me. It won’t be for everybody, but it is for me.'”

The Globe and Mail posted their ‘Spring 2022 Books Preview’ and it includes Poguemahone (May 3, 2022) by Patrick McCabe! You can view the full list here.

Of Poguemahone, Emily Donaldson writes:

“The Irish writer, twice a Booker bridesmaid for novels including The Butcher Boy, takes an audacious stylistic turn with this 600-page novel-cum-snowballing-free-verse-monologue by an Irishman caring for his 70-year-old dementia-afflicted sister in England, which the Guardian has boldly declared this century’s Ulysses.”

Preorder Poguemahone from Biblioasis here!

SHIMMER

Also included in the Globe and Mail‘s ‘Spring 2022 Books Preview’ was Alex Pugsley’s short story collection, Shimmer (May 17, 2022)! Check it out on the list here.

Of Shimmer, Emily Donaldson writes:

“Dialogue, character study and a fair dose of profanity star in the latest collection of short stories by the Halifax writer whose previous work has elicited comparisons to Robertson Davies and John Irving.”

Preorder your copy of Shimmer here!

THE MUSIC GAME

The Music Game (February 8, 2022) by Stéfanie Clermont, trans. by JC Sutcliffe, has been reviewed in Quill & Quire! The review was posted online on March 17, 2022, and will be in their March 2022 print issue. Read the full review here.

Reviewer Cassandra Drudi writes:

“A richly created world that spans cities and years … Despite the often dark subject matter, The Music Game is hopeful and optimistic, too: it is a portrait of people who have built community on their own terms.”

Pick up your copy of The Music Game here!

SAY THIS 

Say This (March 1, 2022) by Elise Levine, was interviewed on Across the Pond podcast. It was published online on March 22, 2022. You can listen to the full episode here.

Get your copy of Say This here!

THE MUSIC GAME, SAY THIS, CHEMICAL VALLEY, POGUEMAHONE, A FACTOTUM IN THE BOOK TRADE, ON DECLINE: March Media Medley!

IN THE NEWS!

THE MUSIC GAME

An excerpt of The Music Game (February 8, 2022) by Stéfanie Clermont, trans. by JC Sutcliffe, has been published in Literary Hub! The excerpt was published online on February 28, 2022.

Read the full excerpt here.

The Music Game was also featured on the blog, Buried In Print. Read the full article here.

In the post, they write:

“Readers get a clear sense of that fog of youthfulness (where inherently ideas contain dichotomies like ‘clarity’ and ‘confusion’) but also a sense of lived-in and vibrant Montreal (and Ottawa) … It’s not the kind of story that makes you feel like you need to know what happens—because, actually, very little “happens”—but it’s the kind of storytelling that makes me care about the characters’ daily lives and lifelong dreams.”

In celebration of International Women’s Day, CBC Books put together a list of ’22 women writers in Canada you should read in 2022.’ Included on the list is The Music Game by Stéfanie Clermont, trans. by JC Sutcliffe. You can view the full list here.

The Music Game was listed by both Literary Hub and 49th Shelf as recommended reads for March! You can read the full list from Literary Hub here, and the full list from 49th Shelf here.

In her recommendation for Literary Hub, bookseller Kay Wosewick writes:

The Music Game is a delicious sneak peek into Millennial life, one that acknowledges few boundaries, alternates between excess and emptiness, repeatedly taste-tests and spits out adulthood, and ebbs and flows within the surrounding cacophony. Simultaneously exciting and unsettling.

The Music Game was reviewed in the latest issue of the Montreal Review of Books! The review is printed in their Spring 2022 issue and was posted online on March 2, 2022. You can check out the full review here.

In her review, Roxane Hudon writes:

“Clermont is relentless in her writing, and pain seems to await these characters at every corner, but by concluding this way, with everyone together and alive sharing music and stories, she’s showing us that, even for a generation often teetering on the edge, there is beauty, and friendship, and hope.”

The Music Game was reviewed in the Winnipeg Free Press! The review was posted online on March 12, 2022. Read the full review here.

In her review, Sara Harms writes:

“Montreal author Stéfanie Clermont’s award-winning debut is a stunning, incisive immersion into a community of young radical activists finding love, experiencing violence, rejecting hegemony, and struggling to survive financially in a world of dead-end jobs.”

The Music Game was also reviewed in The Charlatan, posted online on March 10, 2022. Read the full review from The Charlatan here.

In her review, Melissa White writes:

“Canadian author Stéfanie Clermont delivers in her debut novel, The Music Game, pushing the boundaries of narrative structure through intimate portrayals of young adulthood … Similar to the extremely successful Irish-millennial author Sally Rooney, she portrays the complex feelings and emotions of her characters in simple terms, thus making them feel universal.”

Pick up your copy of The Music Game here!

SAY THIS

Elise Levine, author of Say This (March 1, 2022), was interviewed in The Baltimore Fishbowl. It was published on March 2, 2022. Read the full interview here.

An excerpt from the interview:

BFB: […] Has form always been a central consideration in your writing?

EL: I’ve always understood form and style as elements in service of character. But with Say This I felt greater freedom to formally experiment. Here I was writing a novella— when I’d previously written short stories and novels—and then a second one, so why not take things further? Especially in light of the characters’ experiences with the unsayable, the unanswerable, which called out for me to push hard on the use of fragments and white space as a kind counter-text.

Say This was reviewed in Toronto Star. It was published online on March 11, 2022, and can be read here.

An excerpt from the review:

“Levine repeats the phrase “everything has already happened” in both novellas and the line is key to the book as a whole. It is both the truth and wishful thinking: the crime is done, it’s already happened, this much is true. But for these characters, the crime is never in the past. It is always happening, a constancy of pain and loss that will forever shape their lives.

Say This is a breathtaking, daring exploration of that constancy, of the lingering power of trauma, and the roots and branches of violence and despair.”

Author Elise Levine was also interviewed by PEN America on March 3, 2022. You can find the full interview here.

An excerpt from the interview:

I used fragments as a way of working against the truisms and conventional handlings of narratives surrounding violent crime. By their very nature, fragments embody what is missing; they convey a sense of absence, what remains unvoiced, including hard-to-name desires and the power imbalances that fuel abuse and thrive on the silences surrounding them. The fragments in the book highlight these silences and absences, reflecting how partial, how broken the characters’ understanding might be, and how difficult if not impossible it is for them to access an all-encompassing, consoling truth.

Say This was also named an Editors’ pick for March 2022 by 49th Shelf. You can see the full list here.

Get your copy of Say This here!

POGUEMAHONE

Poguemahone by Patrick McCabe (May 3, 2022) has been reviewed in Publishers Weekly. The review was published online on March 8, 2022, which you can read here. Poguemahone has also been selected as an Indie Next pick for May!

Publishers Weekly writes:

“McCabe draws the reader into a rambling web replete with Gaelic folklore, IRA agitation, and a soundtrack of glam and progressive rock. Lively and ambitious in form, this admirably extends the range of McCabe’s career-long examination of familial and childhood trauma.”

Preorder Poguemahone from Biblioasis here!

A FACTOTUM IN THE BOOK TRADE

A Factotum in the Book Trade by Marius Kociejowski (April 26, 2022) was featured in Hamilton Review of Books as part of “What We’re Reading: Editors’ Picks, Spring 2022.” The article was published online on March 9, 2022. You can read the full list here.

Preorder A Factotum in the Book Trade today here!

CHEMICAL VALLEY

Chemical Valley cover

Chemical Valley by David Huebert (October 19, 2021) was named a semi-finalist for the Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature! The announcement was made on March 7, 2022. Congratulations, David!

Chemical Valley also received an excellent review from Kirkus! The review was posted online on February 25, 2022. You can read the full review here.

Kirkus wrote:

“Huebert has a razor-sharp wit and an exacting eye for human foibles … [he] manages to offer intimate portraits of human lives without ever letting readers forget the climate bubbling just outside their windows … A masterful assemblage of environmentally minded tales.”

Order your copy of Chemical Valley here!

 

ON DECLINE

On Decline cover

Andrew Potter, author of On Decline (October 19, 2021) was a guest on the podcast Lean Out with Tara Henley. Host Tara Henley is a former CBC reporter, journalist, and bestselling author. The episode was published online yesterday, March 16, 2022. You can listen to the full episode here.

Pick up your copy of On Decline here!

THE MUSIC GAME: Rave Reviews from the Toronto Star and more!

IN THE NEWS

THE MUSIC GAME

The Music Game (Feb. 8, 2022) by Stéfanie Clermont, trans. by JC Sutcliffe, has been reviewed in the Toronto Star! The review was published online on February 18, 2022. Read the full review here.

In his review, Steven Beattie writes:

“In her debut fiction, Montreal writer Stéfanie Clermont locates a 21st Century equivalent to the 1920s’ “lost generation” in a group of young people trying to find meaning and connection in a world of dead-end jobs, unaffordable housing, and romantic disappointments … The Music Game inhabits a liminal space between different bodies, psyches and geographies. Its characters can display the worst hipster traits — turning up their noses at Bruno Mars on a café stereo while genuflecting at the altar of Godspeed You! Black Emperor — and genuine insights into their inner selves and the nature of the world around them. If they share undeniable commonalities with lost generations before them, they are nonetheless, in Clermont’s hands, rendered specific and unique.”

Stéfanie Clermont was interviewed by Kenn at Shelf Life Books for their podcast, Book StormThe episode was published online on February 11, 2022. You can listen to the full interview here.

The Music Game was included on Boswell Book Company’s blog as a staff recommendation. Read the list of recommendations here.

Bookseller Kay Wosewick writes:

The Music Game is a delicious sneak peek into a generation (Millennials, of course) that acknowledges few boundaries, alternates between excess and emptiness, repeatedly taste-tests and spits out adulthood, and ebbs and flows within the cacophony that surrounds them. Yeah, a bit scary. But also exciting.”

The Music Game was also reviewed in the McGill Tribune and Apt613. Both reviews were published online on February 15, 2022.

In their review for the McGill Tribune, Louis Lussier-Piette writes:

The Music Game’s structure is what sets it apart. Each chapter tells a self-contained story from the point of view of someone within Sabrina’s inner circle, be it a long-lost friend or a neighbour … Clermont’s reflection on activism is skillfully nuanced, exploring both the hopefulness and cynicism that often come with political engagement.”

Read the full review here.

In their review for Apt613, Emmanuelle Gingras writes:

“[An} audacious, honest, and liberating masterpiece … The Music Game sends us on a journey through this contemporary reality. It enumerates all the ways that we love and destroy one another … The Music Game is about relationships, yet also about all the ways we desperately try to escape reality … anyone who’s ever experienced depression or anxiety will find healing through Stéfanie’s loyal and beautiful ways of describing the inexplicable. She allows for contradiction; depth and lightness meet in a disturbing but cathartic way.”

Read the full review here.

Order your copy of The Music Game from Biblioasis here!

THINGS ARE AGAINST US, A GHOST IN THE THROAT, CHRISTMAS GHOST STORIES, ROMANTIC, VILLA NEGATIVA: Media Hits!

IN THE NEWS!

THINGS ARE AGAINST US

Lucy Ellmann’s Things Are Against Us has been named a ‘Best Book of the 2021’ by The Independent! The list was published online on December 13. You can see the whole list here.

Martin Chilton says,

“Stimulating, entertaining and spiky. Some of her targets are dreary sexist men but she skewers them with real humour. Ellmann is fond of puns, alliteration and long lists of sharp adjectives, and her put-downs are like a literary version of watching popcorn kernels sizzle and suddenly pop in the pan.”

Get your copy of Things Are Against Us here!

 

A GHOST IN THE THROAT

A Ghost in the Throat cover

A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa was included in the New York Times Critics’ Top Books of 2021! The list was posted on December 15. You can read the whole list here.

Get your copy of A Ghost in the Throat here!

 

CHRISTMAS GHOST STORIES

Seth’s Christmas Ghost Stories (October 26, 2021) were featured along with an interview with Seth in Zoomer! The feature was published on December 10. You can read the full article here.

Reviewer Nathalie Atkinson said,

“The Biblioasis editions are handsome objects with embossed covers, double-page spreads that act like a cinematic establishing shot, and the artist’s thematic spot illustrations … The Seth editions are harbingers of a Christmas ghost story revival.”

Seth’s Christmas Ghost Stories were also mentioned in the Washington Post‘s books newsletter! The newsletter went out on December 10.

Ron Charles said,

“Each of these tiny books—20 volumes now—is cleverly illustrated by the cartoonist known as Seth. Even smaller than a Christmas card, they make fun literary stocking stuffers.”

Seth was interviewed for the Proust Questionnaire on CBC The Next Chapter! The interview was posted on December 11, and re-aired on December 13. You can listen to the segment here.

Get all three 2021 Christmas Ghost Stories here!

 

ROMANTIC

Romantic by Mark Callanan was listed in CBC Books’ Best Canadian Poetry of 2021! The list was posted on December 14. Check out the whole list here.

Get your copy of Romantic here!

 

VILLA NEGATIVA

Villa Negativa was reviewed in The Malahat Review! The review was published in their Autumn 2021 print edition.

Reviewer Jay Ruzesky said,

Villa Negativa is a collection of three intensely personal reflections rendered in precise language and spanning an emotional range so wide that readers should do some mental stretching before reading the books. While examining anorexia, a failed or failing relationship, and a sister’s long, agonizing illness, McCartney manages to expose humour, so that the reader is compelled forward even as we are anxious about how things are going to come out in the end.”

Get your copy of Villa Negativa here!

THE SINGING FOREST, CHEMICAL VALLEY, A GHOST IN THE THROAT, DANTE’S INDIANA, ON DECLINE, ON TIME AND WATER, DRIVEN, ON PROPERTY, HOUSEHOLDERS, THE ACCIDENT: Media Hits!

IN THE NEWS!

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS TOP READS OF 2021

The Winnipeg Free Press listed their book reviewers’ top reads of 2021, which included five Biblioasis titles: Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s A Ghost in the Throat(June 1, 2021), Randy Boyagoda’s Dante’s Indiana (September 7, 2021), Andri Snær Magnason’s On Time and Water(March 30, 2021), Andrew Potter’s On Decline (August 17, 2021), and Best Canadian Essays (October 19, 2021)! The list was posted on December 4, 2021. You can check out the full list here.

Order A Ghost in the Throat here!

Order Dante’s Indiana here!

Order On Time and Water here!

Order On Decline here!

Order Best Canadian Essays 2021 here!

 

THE SINGING FOREST

Judith McCormack’s The Singing Forest (September 21, 2021) was reviewed in the New York Times‘ list of ‘The Season’s Best New Historical Novels’! The review was posted on December 3, 2021. You can check out the full list here.

Reviewer Alida Becker praised,

The Singing Forest blends thought-provoking reflections on the moral reckoning of war crimes with a warm, wry, almost Anne Tyler-esque depiction of a young woman’s attempts to decode her eccentric professional and personal families … Leah’s losses, her questions about her parents, are subtly contrasted with larger questions about truth and responsibility, especially when she flies off to conduct interviews in Minsk, ‘where facts had been malleable for so long, where they had become saleable commodities.'”

Judith McCormack, author of The Singing Forest was interviewed by Joseph Planta on thecommentary.ca podcast! The interview was posted on November 30, 2021. You can listen to it here.

Host Joseph Planta said,

“The ideas of justice, vengeance, and motive are contended with, and it’s fascinating to think about as the time has passed from the crimes themselves. Heritage, inheritance, and memory are also investigated in the book that is quite engaging.”

The Singing Forest was also included in The Walrus‘ ‘Canadian Authors Pick Their Favourite Books of 2021’ list! The list was posted on December 2, 2021. You can check out the full list here.

Caroline Adderson said,

“Moving hypnotically between present events and two motherless childhoods—Jarvis’s eccentric upbringing and the loveless brutality of Drozd’s—McCormack pulls off a little miracle. For much of the novel, we care about the monster. All this she accomplishes in sentences that wrap themselves around you.”

An excerpt from The Singing Forest was also published in LitHub! The excerpt was published online on December 3, 2021. You can read it here.

Get your copy of The Singing Forest here!

 

HOUSEHOLDERS

Householders (September 14, 2021) by Kate Cayley was listed as a 49th Shelf Book of the Year 2021! The list was published yesterday on December 6, 2021. You can check out the full list on the website here.

Get your copy of Householders here!

 

CHEMICAL VALLEY

David Huebert, author of Chemical Valley (October 19, 2021) was interviewed in a Q&A by Supriya Saxena for ZYZZYVA! The Q&A was posted on December 2, 2021. You can read it here.

Supriya Saxena wrote,

“The stories are varied, featuring oil refinery workers, teenage climate activists, long-term care nurses, and more, showing the issues and intricacies of their lives in lush detail. The grim explorations of wealth inequality, illness, and bereavement are counterbalanced by the rich and lyrical prose, providing heartfelt insights into today’s damaged world and the individuals who inhabit it.”

Get your copy of Chemical Valley here!

 

DANTE’S INDIANA

Randy Boyagoda, author of Dante’s Indiana (September 7, 2021) was interviewed alongside Alix Ohlin in the Globe and Mail! The interview was posted on December 3, 2021, and is part of a series of conversations between authors to mark the 2021 edition of The Globe 100. You can read the full interview here.

On the fun of writing, Randy Boyagoda said,

“[T]he comedy in Dante’s Indiana is in service to something larger and more serious. So yes, I had a lot of fun writing it. But it was always with the discipline of making sure that it led to something greater than only another zany joke.”

Order your copy of Dante’s Indiana here!

Or get the first two books in the series with the Original PrinDante’s Indiana bundle here!

 

DRIVEN

Driven: The Secret Lives of Taxi Drivers (May 4, 2021) by Marcello Di Cintio was included in The Walrus‘ ‘Canadian Authors Pick Their Favourite Books of 2021’ list! The list was posted on December 2, 2021. You can check out the full list here.

Alex Pugsley said,

“A blend of reportage, social history, and personal profile, Driven is a triumph of curiosity and compassion.”

Order your copy of Driven here!

 

ON PROPERTY

Rinaldo Walcott, author of On Property (February 2, 2021) was interviewed alongside Esi Edugyen in the Globe and Mail! The interview was posted on December 4, 2021, and is part of a series of conversations between authors to mark the 2021 edition of The Globe 100. You can read the full interview here.

During the interview, Rinaldo Walcott said,

“The question of the relationship between silence and political action is one that I hold dearly. I do not believe that everyone who holds some kind of public personality needs to speak to political issues. If you’re a writer and you write poetry and that’s the way you address these questions, do that. If you write novels, do that. Politics by guilt never works. Politics has to be generous. It has to be willing to bring people along. It has to be persuasive. It has to be willing to engage.”

Order your copy of On Property here!

Or get the full Field Notes series bundle here!

 

THE ACCIDENT

Mihail Sebastian’s The Accident (May 1, 2011) was reviewed in the Calvert Journal! The review was posted on December 3, and can be read on their website here.

Reviewer Paula Erizanu wrote,

“With its elegant, sparkling-clear prose, tight structure, and memorable characters, the short novel is a page-turner and, perhaps Mihail Sebastian’s best work of fiction.”

Get your copy of The Accident here!

End of November: Major Media Round-Up!

IN THE NEWS!

GLOBE 100 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR

On November 29, The Globe and Mail announced the ‘Globe 100’, their 100 best books of the year. We are delighted to have three Biblioasis titles included this year, Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s A Ghost in the Throat (June 1, 2021), Marcello Di Cintio’s Driven (May 4, 2021), and Rinaldo Walcott’s On Property (February 2, 2021)! You can view the whole list here.

Order On Property here!

Order Driven here!

Order A Ghost in the Throat here!

Foregone cover

 

FOREGONE

Foregone by Russell Banks (March 16, 2021) has been listed by Kirkus as a Best Fiction Book of the Year!  The list was published on November 15, and can be found on their website here.

Kirkus had originally reviewed the book on March 2, 2021 saying that the book was:

“a challenging, risk-taking work marked by a wry and compassionate intelligence.”

Order your copy of Foregone here!

 

THINGS ARE AGAINST US

Lucy Ellmann’s Things Are Against Us (September 28, 2021), has been included in the ‘Best Gift Books to Give 2021’ by the Chicago Tribune! The guide was published on November 24. You can view the whole guide here.

Christopher Borrelli says:

“[Lucy’s] working in a tone familiar to lovers of E.B. White and Norah Ephron—knowing, funny, exhausted. Subjects include the patriarchy, staying home and underwear (“Bras: A Life Sentence”).”

Order your copy of Things Are Against Us here!

 

coverMUSIC, LATE AND SOON

Music, Late and Soon (August 24, 2021) by Robyn Sarah has been included on the CBC Books ’20 books for the music lover on your holiday shopping list.’ The list was published online on November 29. See the full list here

Sarah was also recently named a finalist for The Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction. The following statement was provided by the jurors: 

“Sarah splices the narrative of her belated return to piano lessons with memories of her development as a promising professional musician. Sarah understates her musical talent but the facts speak for themselves. At twenty-four, however … she abandoned music as a profession to become a poet and literary editor.

Sarah calls her book “a musical autobiography” but it is far more than that. It is a deeply intimate exploration of the artistic process by a writer of remarkable maturity and poise.  

Unfailingly, her prose remains centred, rooted in humility, never drawing attention to itself. Her every word feels thoughtful, honest, and true. With this book, Sarah demonstrates that a life pursued artistically, when done so with sincerity and integrity, is a life lived spiritually, no matter what the discipline. Concert halls might be poorer for her career choice, but the literary world can count itself richly blessed.”

Order your copy of Music, Late and Soon here!

 

CHEMICAL VALLEY

Chemical Valley by David Huebert (October 19, 2021) has been reviewed in Atlantic Books! The review was published today on November 15, and can be read on their website here.

Reviewer Chris Benjamin said,

“Huebert is a gifted short story writer. His characters do contain multitudes, each story a set of worlds. Collectively, they reflect our times, and help us contemplate the most dire of threats to our singular habitable planet.”

David Huebert was interviewed on the @Risk Podcast! The episode was posted on November 18, and can be listened to here.

David Huebert was also interviewed about Chemical Valley (October 19, 2021) by Keri Ferguson in Western News! The interview was posted on November 25. You can read it here.

Order your copy of Chemical Valley here!

 

A GHOST IN THE THROAT

On November 22, it was announced that Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s A Ghost in the Throat (June 1, 2021) is a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2021! You can view the whole list here.

Reviewer Nina MacLaughlin said,

“This book comes from the body, from the ‘entwining strands of female voices that were carried in female bodies.’ The sound of the female voice, the aural texture of A Ghost in the Throat, is part of its deep pleasure.”

It was also announced on November 22 that A Ghost in the Throat is a Kirkus Best Book of 2021! You can view the whole list here

The original starred review reads,

“Lyrical prose passages and moving introspection abound in this unique and beautiful book.”

The NPR Books We Love list (formerly Books Concierge) was announced on November 24, and both Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s A Ghost in the Throat (June 1, 2021) and Mia Couto’s Sea Loves Me (February 23, 2021) are included! You can view the whole list here

Ann Powers says of A Ghost in the Throat,

Intensely poetic and freewheeling and connecting the bodily details of mothering and erotic love – “female texts” – to linguistic hierarchies and erasures, this book creates its own form: a critical biography of the body, of bloodshed and babies born, of the word made flesh.”

Order your copy of A Ghost in the Throat here!

 

SEA LOVES ME

Mia Couto’s Sea Loves Me (February 23, 2021) was also included on the NPR Books We Love list from November 24! You can view the whole list here

Thúy Ðinh says of Sea Loves Me,

“As with his natural affinity toward cats, Couto’s stories — deftly translated by David Brookshaw and Eric M.B. Becker — represent graceful attempts to transcend barriers between the colonizer and colonized, native and settler, human and animal, matter and antimatter.”

Order your copy of Sea Loves Me here!

 

CHRISTMAS GHOST STORIES 2021

Seth, the designer and illustrator for Biblioasis’ Christmas Ghost Stories (October 26, 2021) was interviewed on CTV Kitchener! The interview aired on November 24. You can watch it here (beginning at 21:35). 

The Doll’s Ghost by F. Marion Crawford from Christmas Ghost Stories (October 26, 2021) was featured in a reading on the Christmas Past podcast! The episode was posted on November 26. You can listen to it on their website here

Host Brian Earl said,

The great thing about each passing season is the chance to discover something new that may go on to become a new favourite. That old and largely forgotten tradition of Christmas ghost stories is fertile ground for anyone digging for a spooky festive treat from a bygone time.

Christmas Ghost Stories (October 26, 2021) was also reviewed on the Total Christmas Podcast! The episode was posted on November 21. You can listen to it on their website here (review starts at 34:00). 

Host Jack Ford said,

“These books are just delightful … and the illustrations are just—shall I say delightful again?”

Order the Christmas Ghost Stories 2021 bundle here!

 

BEST CANADIAN 2021 SERIES

The Best Canadian 2021 Series has received a great review in the Toronto Star by Steven Beattie. The review was published online on November 26. You can read the review here

Beattie writes,

“All three of these volumes have much to recommend, though the stylistic virtuosity on display in Best Canadian Stories 2021 testifies most explicitly to a range of writing being produced right now. But it is Thammavongsa’s poetry selection that provides the most startling and memorable moment. David Romanda’s poem “We Really Like Your Writing” manages something in five short lines that few of the other writers in any of these anthologies even attempt: it makes its reader laugh out loud. And that has to qualify as one of the best outcomes from a year of uncertainty, trouble, and strife.”

Order the Best Canadian 2021 Series bundle here!

 

AS YOU WERE, MUSIC LATE AND SOON, HOUSEHOLDERS, DANTE’S INDIANA, ON THE ORIGIN, THINGS ARE AGAINST US: Media Hits!

IN THE NEWS!

AS YOU WERE

Elaine Feeney, author of As You Were (October 5, 2021), was interviewed on an episode of the podcast Across the Pond! Elaine was interviewed by the two hosts, Lori Feathers and Sam Jordison. The episode aired on October 5. You can listen to it here.

Elaine Feeney wrote a feature article for Lit Hub! The piece “Writing Through Trauma, Past and Present: On the Legacies of Catholic Ireland” was published on Wednesday, October 20. You can read it here.

As You Were was listed by Book Marks as a small press favourite! The three judges of the North American Republic of Consciousness Prize put together a list of seven recent favourite indie titles in 2021. The list was published on October 20. You can check it out here.

Lori Feathers praised:

“A not-to-be-missed debut novel—smart, witty, and very engaging … Two things set this extraordinary novel apart: the amazing writing—lyrical, natural, often very funny, and always affecting; and Sinéad, a woman with whom Feeney captures the pain of self-reflection and the stubborn resilience of hope.”

As You Were was also listed by All Lit Up as a weekly recommended All Queued Up title! The list was published on October 20. Check it out here.

All Queued Up offers keywords to engage readers in the book, similar to how Netflix does for shows. For As You Were, they praised:

“Dark comedy. Riveting. Award-winner.”

Order your copy of As You Were here!Things Are Against Us

 

THINGS ARE AGAINST US

An excerpt from Lucy Ellmann’s Things Are Against Us (September 28, 2021), was published in The Walrus! The excerpt “Kill the Travel Bug: The Case for Staying Put” was published on October 4. You can read it out on their website here.

Order your copy of Things Are Against Us here!

 

coverMUSIC, LATE AND SOON

Music, Late and Soon (August 24, 2021) by Robyn Sarah was announced as a finalist for The Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction, presented by the Quebec Writers’ Foundation! The winner will be announced during a live-streamed gala event on November 24 at 7PM.

An interview with Sarah was also recently published in the Montreal Gazette. Ian McGillis writes,

“So let’s be clear: you don’t need to be a musician, nor do you need to have aspired to be a musician, to appreciate Music, Late and Soon. Anyone who has ever felt a vocation for something, pursued it, misplaced it, then tried to summon it again is apt to identify with Sarah’s story.”

The piece was published online on October 8. Read the full interview here.

Order your copy of Music, Late and Soon here!

 

HOUSEHOLDERSHouseholders cover

Kate Cayley’s Householders (September 14, 2021) received a starred review in Quill & Quire! The review was published on October 6, and it will appear in the November 2021 print issue. You can read the review on the website here.

Reviewer Steven W. Beattie wrote,

“A book that so assiduously interrogates notions of identity and belonging … Cayley’s language is precise and evocative … Each of the collection’s stories—from ‘Pilgrims,’ about a woman who impersonates a nun online to find sympathy for her difficult domestic situation, to the stunning opener, ‘The Crooked Man’—contains writing that impresses with its barbed acidity as much as its clear-eyed observation … The lambent prose frequently belies the emotional heft of the stories, which creep up on a reader.”

Householders was listed by 49th Shelf as an Editors’ Pick! The list was posted on October 4. You can check it out here.

49th Shelf also published a great review of Householders in their list “8 Books That Explore Memory and Space”! The list was published on October 4. You can read it here.

Reviewer Fawn Parker wrote,

“The stories in Householders are haunting and enigmatic, with a clarity of emotion that cuts through the dreamlike atmosphere Cayley has crafted … With incredible attention to the nuance of interpersonal relationships—whether familial, romantic, situational, dysfunctional—each story in Householders is a window into an eerie but wonderful world.”

Order your copy of Householders here!

 

ON THE ORIGIN OF THE DEADLIEST PANDEMIC IN 100 YEARS

Elaine Dewar, author of On the Origin of the Deadliest Pandemic in 100 Years: An Investigation (August 31, 2021) was featured in an article published in the National Post by Jesse Snyder titled, ‘Exit of top public health agency official leaves questions on Chinese military involvement with high-security disease lab.’ The article was published online on October 18. You can read it here.

An interview with Elaine Dewar for the Ottawa Writers’ Festival was also published online on October 15. You can listen to Elaine’s interview with Neil Wilson here.

Order your copy of On the Origin here!

 

DANTE’S INDIANA

Randy Boyagoda’s Dante’s Indiana (September 7, 2021) received an excellent review in the Wall Street Journal! The review was published on Friday, October 8. You can read it on their website here.

Reviewer Sam Sacks praised:

“[Dante’s Indiana] mixes the outrageous social satire of George Saunders or Salman Rushdie with Prin’s more solemn and inward religious searching. The unique result juxtaposes the ridiculous and the sublime—fitting as both an homage to Dante and a portrayal of America.”

Dante’s Indiana also received a positive review in ZYZZYVA! The review was published on Monday, October 18. You can read it on their website here.

Reviewer Shelby Hinte wrote:

“Boyagoda shows how the political is always personal and the personal is always spiritual. The last ninety pages of the novel move at break-neck speed … The effect is a bit dizzying, but maybe that’s the point—in an age where the internet connects us across oceans and time zones, no one exists in isolation and every occurrence is connected.”

Order your copy of Dante’s Indiana here!