The Handmaid’s Tale

handmaidThis is a dystopian novel written in 1985, but has been given new life with the TV series. It is a disturbing look at what could happen if the world was ruled by a totalitarian religious cult. Women lose their freedom and rights and some are delegated to only making babies, a group known as “handmaids”. It is a complex look at gender roles, relationships and the dangers of religion interfering with government.

By Gaslight by Steven Price

51omsiecjml-_sy346_I happened to meet Steven Price at a book reading that he gave at Westdale Secondary School in the fall of 2016. He was a very thoughtful and precise thinker and seemed introspective, but he is a poet after all. The prose in his latest book, By Gaslight, has the imagery and emotion of poetry, but it has also captured the intrigue of an old world detective chasing his prey. I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good detective mystery, but who also loves to have a world created for them in full colour (albeit this novel does have pervasive foggy weather). A review by the Quill & Quire is HERE.

Green Grass, Running Water

green grass running waterThomas King has created an intriguing book that will keep you on the edge of your seat. He combines wit and humour to tell a story that is part mythology, part legend, part mystery, but wholly spiritual and skillfully interweaves Native American and EuroAmerican literatures into this magical tale.

The Comeback

John Ralston Saul lives up to his reputation for breadth and originality of thought, arguing that what are typically presented as “Aboriginal issues,” are actually political battles that matter to us all.  For example, Idle No More’s stance against Bills C-45 and C-27 was more than a disempowered group reacting to the infringement on their rights, it was a stand against a corporatist agenda and the type of authoritarian forces in government normally associated with “Argentina’s Peronism.”

When Aboriginal people take to the streets to protest broken treaty promises, it isn’t a national headache, but a public good. The demonstrations remind of us of the complexity of our history, and provide a welcome counterbalance to the corporatist, managerialism that is a growing part of the nation state under a system of global capitalism. The National PostThe Comeback

Celia’s Song

Mink is a witness, a shape shifter, compelled to follow the story that has ensnared Celia and her village, on the West coast of Vancouver Island in Nu:Chahlnuth territory. Celia is a seer who – despite being convinced she’s a little “off” – must heal her village with the assistance of her sister, her mother and father, and her nephews. While mink is visiting, a double-headed sea serpent falls off the house front during a fierce storm. The old snake, ostracized from the village decades earlier, has left his terrible influence on Amos, a residential school survivor. The occurrence signals the unfolding of an ordeal that pulls Celia out of her reveries and into the tragedy of her cousin’s granddaughter. Each one of Celia’s family becomes involved in creating a greater solution than merely attending to her cousin’s granddaughter. Celia’s Song relates one Nu:Chahlnuth family’s harrowing experiences over several generations, after the brutality, interference, and neglect resulting from contact with Europeans. (source)9k=