PositiveThe Toronto Star (CAN)... exhaustively researched ... The real strength of Morgan’s book is her ability to place four months in a famous woman’s life under a microscope: who she met, what she wore, how she felt. Monroe’s genuine excitement about meeting the Queen and her endless friendliness to the fans who loved her are endearing. What emerges is not only a close-up of Marilyn but also a picture of someone who, like many of us, romanticizes people and places only to find disappointment.
PositiveThe StarSex scandals, dynasties and the custody of one immensely rich little girl lie at the heart of Bryn Turnbull’s dazzling fictional debut ... This thoroughly researched tale zigzags between the wild 1920s and the Depression-era 1930s, from a whirl of parties, cocktails, splendid hotels and palatial estates — where a woman’s choice of evening clothing mimics a warrior preparing for battle — before descending into a hell of lurid headlines, overpowering courtrooms and gleeful character assassination.
RaveThe Toronto Star (CAN)...[a] darkly humorous new collection ... Bezmozgis’ first return to the short story form in more than a decade, shows that his skills at creating perfect (and perfectly unsettling) worlds-within-worlds remain unparalleled ...In these tales, when the past knocks, it comes laden with baggage ... Intelligent, funny, unfailingly sympathetic, Bezmozgis portrays lives constantly teetering between past and present, between worlds remembered and those that are all too real.
RaveThe Star (CA)In Alex Gilvarry’s debut novel, From the Memoirs of a Non-enemy Combatant, satire reigns and worlds collide ... Gilvarry possesses an excellent ear for the Orwellian language of our post- 9/11 world ... Satires needn’t end happily. Still, Gilvarry lightens the long dark night of our likeable Fashion Terrorist in his final chapters.
Marie Renee Lavoie
RaveToronto StarDiane embarks on a rollicking \'body and soul\' autopsy of life and marriage. Whether we’re laughing or crying during her attempts to get fit or her sessions with a shrink—we like this woman tremendously ... Lavoie’s fiercely hilarious take on the pains and triumphs of marital abandonment feels perfectly right.
PositiveToronto Star\"Amid so much death, there is not only romance, but bravery. Morris’s narrative is infused with as much tension and risk as any spy novel, delivering constant surprises ... No handbook exists for survival. But the experiences that this debut novel is based on... shines a rare light on one of humanity’s darkest nights.\
RaveThe Toronto StarBritish author Rachel Joyce’s bestsellers share in common a sparkling compassion, as lives lived on the margins, overlooked lives, are unveiled in all their extraordinary depth ... A shrewd observer of the forces that both nurture and destroy, Rachel Joyce is also very funny ... To borrow Frank’s own vernacular, anyone not 'in floods' (tears) during Joyce’s epic musical closer is scarcely worth bothering about.
PositiveThe Toronto StarA First World War veteran spills his secrets in this novel by Irish writer John Boyne ... Yet from the start, things are off-kilter ... Disgrace, we discover, has been central to Tristan’s young life. Boyne’s calm, measured prose erupts from time to time in bursts of unexpected shock, like exploding shells ... We realize we are reading the recollections of an elderly writer, seeing in his mind’s eye his younger self... A polished storyteller, Boyne takes us down a trail we think we recognize only to surprise us with a wartime tragedy about class, anger, and revenge.
RaveThe Toronto StarThe book provides Barry a way to parallel life for the underdogs — Native Americans in the U.S. and Irish in Ireland shared in common a perceived worthlessness from the ruling class, a pattern that will be repeated in the civil war ... Such are Barry’s lyrical skills that Thomas’s first killing of a cow buffalo sings with youthful ecstasy: 'the lovely orange flame shoots the bullet forth and the burning black steel is absorbed into her shoulder ... and it is very glorious and crazy the feeling' ... Bloody though this narrative frequently is, and brutal, it is loving, too, filled with the magic of the unexpected in sentences that ring with truth — things we’ve never read before but in Barry’s hands resound with wisdom.
PositiveThe Toronto StarFeverish romantic fantasies end in ways none could have foreseen, but not before Domet has spun the schemes and passions of four adolescent girls into a dreamlike tapestry that speaks to anyone who’s ever been young and desperate for love.