Review: The Lightkeeper’s Daughters, by Jean Pendziwol

I came to Jean Pendziwol’s novel quite by chance, drawn by its setting on Porphyry Island on the north shore of Lake Superior. This is a story of loss, of relationships and discoveries, of isolation and madness, told from the perspective of a delinquent girl who is doing community service at a senior’s residence as her penance, and the old woman she comes to know during that time. There’s a missing diary now found, connections…

Review: The Back of the Turtle, by Thomas King

The Back of the Turtle by Thomas King My rating: 5 of 5 stars As always, Thomas King makes no apologies to his readers. I think he must write entirely for himself, because his stories are so full of imagery and metaphor, allusion and metaphor. He is, quite frankly, brilliant, and to read his work is to be immersed not only in the magic of a supremely good storyteller, but to come away with a…

Eulogy for Mother

Ring the bells (ring the bells) that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything) That’s how the light gets in In this quote from Leonard Cohen’s Anthem, he speaks of chiaroscuro. The Oxford Dictionary defines chiaroscuro as the treatment of light and shadow in drawing and painting. I think of chiaroscuro when I think of Mother. Chiaroscuro best sketches the force of nature…

Caliban releasing December 1, 2017

That’s right. I have a new novella coming out. Only took me over 30 years to write and polish this story. I’d let it languish in the bottom drawer, as it were, and then finally three years ago took a look at it again, decided it was worth revisiting, so set to an overhaul, sent it off to my compatriot in literary crime, Robert Runté, and awaited his verdict. Which turned out to be quite…

Review: Wenjack, by Joseph Boyden

Wenjack by Joseph Boyden My rating: 5 of 5 stars This is a courageous, beautifully-written tragedy written by one of the most important literary voices of the 21st century. Alternating between the voices of the real-life character of Chanie Wenjack, the young boy who escaped from the horrors of a residential school, and the manitous of his natural world, Boyden creates an epic paean for not only Chanie, but all those who suffered, and still…

Great reviews coming in for Strangers Among Us

Reviews are now coming in for Strangers Among Us, the fabulous anthology edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law, and the anthology in which my short story, The Intersection, appears. The stories in Strangers Among Us are varied in tone and approach as their authors. The power of the collection derives from this variety; while each story can be read in isolation, the assemblage of outsiders feels, on a whole, exultant. There is, indeed, strength in numbers, when…

The heartache of false allegations

I have lived my life privately, never believing in the drama of public declarations of personal details. That sort of behaviour has always smacked of something belonging to pain-mongers like Jerry Springer or Geraldo Rivera, a sort of coliseum mentality. Voyeurism. During the past year, however, that desire to live a dignified, decent life has eroded under the constant onslaught of false allegations brought on by my daughter, Kelly Stephens, through a blog ironically I…