books

Out of Nowhere

Montreal writer Teri Vlassopoulos’s debut story collection Bats or Swallows was shortlisted last week for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. This is an awesome book, and I say so in a much wordier manner in my review in The Rover from the weekend:

“I learned early on that things don’t come out of nowhere,” says the narrator in “Baby Teeth,” one of eleven stories in Teri Vlassopoulos’s Bats or Swallows. “There is always a buildup.”

With such an exceptional debut collection, Vlassopoulos may herself appear to have come out of nowhere. Her own buildup, however, can be found in over a decade of zine writing, a training ground that has served her well.

There’s a mesmeric quality to Vlassopoulos’s storytelling. Her writing is warm, uncomplicated, and beguilingly intimate. She produces crisp sentences that are economical in words and generous in personality. 

Full review here.

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Delight, then Bite

Up Up Up, the debut collection by 2009 Writers’ Union of Canada Prose Competition winner Julie Booker, comes out next month. It’s a very funny book, but there’s a lot more to it than laughter alone.  I review it today in The Rover:

From soups to cocktails to Chicken McNugget sauce, sweet and sour is one of the world’s most popular and enduring flavours. I have a theory about why this is so. The key to sweet and sour’s success is in its ability to deceive. The first thing my palate detects is the sweet. In a flash, expectations and associations of a sugary sort – lollipops, cotton candy, birthday cake – form in my mind. In another flash, however, the sour kicks in. Suddenly, I’m tasting something much more complicated, much more adult. A similar happy deception occurs repeatedly in Julie Booker’s debut short story collection, Up Up Up.

Full review here.