Tag Archives: Canada

Violence and Consequences on the Fringes of Society: ‘In the Cage’ by Kevin Hardcastle

With In the Cage (309 pages; Biblioasis), Kevin Hardcastle drops the rural noir genre into the ring of literary fiction. Hardcastle, winner of the Trillium Book Award and ReLit Award for Short Fiction, has created a novel where crime fiction and the literary tradition occupy the same space. In the Cage tells the story of conflicted characters with complex relationships navigating violence and its consequences against the morally gray backdrop of remote Saskatchewan. Daniel is a caring but stoic husband and father whose mixed martial arts career ended twelve years earlier with a detached retina. He and his wife now …Continue reading

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A Haunting in Houndstitch: ‘Inukshuk’ by Gregory Spatz

Despite the presence of rotting teeth, oozing sores and cannibalism, Gregory Spatz’s novel Inukshuk (Bellevue Literary Press, 192 pages), which charts the struggles of an emotionally disjointed family, is much more haunting than horrific. Exploring the gradual breakdown of a family abandoned, it’s a strange, hallucinatory tale of loss that still manages to keep itself grounded in the real world. Uprooting his teenage son Thomas to the small Canadian oil town of Houndstitch after he is left by his wife, John Franklin must battle his own demons while also dealing with Thomas’s concerning obsession with explorer Sir John Franklin’s doomed …Continue reading

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Some Sort of Triumph: Lucas Soi’s ‘We Bought the Seagram Building’

“In 1958 the Canadian company Joseph E. Seagram & Sons commissioned German architect Mies van der Rohe to design their American headquarters in New York City. The skyscraper became one of the most influential architectural designs of the 20th century. In 2000 the Seagram Company Ltd. was acquired by Vivendi, a French conglomerate. In 2009, at the bottom of the worldwide economic recession, Lucas Soi bought back the Seagram Building from its French owners, returning it to Canadian ownership.” With this condensed, matter-of-fact introduction, Lucas Soi’s solo show, “We Bought the Seagram Building,” invites its audience to partake in an incredible underdog fantasy: …Continue reading

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On the Subject of Truth (with a Captital T): Q&A with Troy Jollimore

In ordinary conversation, the terms “poet” and “philosopher” tend to be applied arbitrarily to people with artistic and intellectual capabilities. But in the case of author and philosophy professor Troy Jollimore, they’re not hyperbolic descriptions but hard facts. Jollimore rose to literary prominence in 2006 when the National Book Critics Circle named his first book of poems, Tom Thomson in Purgatory, the recipient of one of its annual awards. Since then, his second poetry collection, At Lake Scugog, has appeared, and his poems have been published in Ploughshares, The New Yorker, and other journals. Concerned with both the hypothetical and …Continue reading

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