PositiveToronto Star\"If this sounds heartbreaking, it is. But somehow the book is never bleak — never depressing. Amazingly, one does not come away from reading An Orchestra of Minorities feeling hopeless. This, of course, is a testament to the enormous talent of this [Obioma] ... With his singular storytelling style, compelling voice and nuanced view of humanity, Obioma brings the hardships of the oppressed to life, balancing violence, brutality and deprivation with the tenacity of the human spirit and its limitless ability to endure, to transform, to love and to forgive.\
PositiveQuill and QuireTinged with magic ... An otherworldly feeling pervades the novel, from the transformative experiences the characters undergo to the author’s whimsical use of nature.
RaveToronto Star[An Ocean of Minutes] draws on the best of old and new CanLit traditions ... The clear-eyed, evocative writing here is reminiscent of Margaret Atwood, and anyone familiar with The Handmaid’s Tale will find resonance in these pages ... Lim may be writing in the CanLit tradition, but her voice is all her own ... [She] comes into her own here, with prose that’s elegant and haunting, somehow managing to be both unsentimental and deeply moving at the same time. A devastating debut.
MixedThe Toronto StarThe problem is that it never quite makes up its mind about what kind of book it’s aiming to be. It’s structured, and framed, as a classic \'grip-lit\' psychological thriller, and yet the reader waits many pages between clues, and suspense fails to build. Add to that, the relentless mother-daughter conflict steers the narrative away from the domain of the thriller, and into coming-of-age and familial drama territory. Still, it must be said, this the most literary of commercial fiction outings, with exquisite attention to detail and a masterful depiction of family tension. The portrait of mental illness that emerges is harrowing and haunting, a testament to both Healey’s considerable talent and her courage in tapping her own life experiences, having herself contemplated suicide in her youth.
PositiveStar TribuneThe Cost of Living, Levy tackles the herculean task of dreaming up a new life. Of becoming the \'major character\' in her own storyline. Having left her husband of twenty years...she moves her daughters from the family home to a dilapidated apartment in London. A friend loans her a chilly garden shed to write in, and she spends her days there, fashioning a new existence from words ... Not a bad life, all in all. Miserable sometimes, of course, but also happy. And free in a way we are only now starting to understand.
RaveToronto StarWe’ve seen countless chilling page-turners hit shelves, but few have captured the dark and twisted mind of a psychopath as well as Nathan Ripley’s debut novel Find You in the Dark ... a well-crafted crime novel that proves utterly absorbing ... A deeply disturbing read, with vivid scenes and complex psychology, Find You in the Dark lingers long after the last page has been devoured ... An addictive debut.
RaveThe Toronto StarThe bestselling author’s short fiction debut nails the current zeitgeist, both in America and in women’s interior lives. In the pages of this smart, savvy collection, we find Gen X and Millennial women struggling to come to terms with the personal and the political ... It’s a fascinating portrait of contemporary women’s lives, drawn with frankness, humour, compassion and skill.
MixedThe Toronto StarIn What Are We Doing Here?, Robinson frequently rambles, layers on obscure references, heads off on extended tangents. She delights, too, and inspires. But, in the end, she buries these gems under mountains of impenetrable text. That is a shame, because we really do need her gems, now more than ever.
PositiveThe Toronto StarBrown’s new outing, The Vanity Fair Diaries 1983-1992, is the story of its astonishing turnaround under her reign, which the supercharged Brit chronicled daily in stacks of blue notebooks ...memoir pulls back the curtain on a world of glamour and excess ... Throughout, she provides deliciously witty commentary, forever playing the role of skeptical social observer ... a fabulously entertaining writer ...what emerges is not just a glimpse into a bygone era of arts and letters, or the story of smashed glass ceilings, or the jet-set lives of the 'one per cent,' but a portrait of a pivotal time in history ...there’s a missed opportunity with The Vanity Fair Diaries. Brown does little to analyze the extremes of American culture, beyond skewering clueless trophy wives and paranoid Master of the Universe-types.
RaveThe Toronto StarThe case became an obsession, and remained so for the next eleven years as Schmidt wrote See What I Have Done, her spectacular debut novel ... The critically-acclaimed thriller is a Gothic retelling of the grisly 1892 murders of Lizzie’s father and stepmother, in Fall River, Mass., a crime for which Lizzie was famously tried and acquitted ...narration weaves together Lizzie’s own voice with that of her older sister, Emma, the Irish housemaid, Bridget, and a mysterious stranger, Benjamin ...the real strength of the novel lies not in the richness of its research, but in the family dynamics of dependence and resentment it so evocatively details ... But it’s a testament to Schmidt’s commitment that her version of this well-trodden tale proves so dark, so disturbing, so difficult to shake. Perhaps no surprise, then, that one of the book’s most chilling moments actually occurs in its acknowledgments.
RaveThe Toronto StarIf you were to go to sleep and dream of life in early 20th Century Montreal, Heather O’Neill’s The Lonely Hearts Hotel is what you might dream. The Giller-shortlisted author’s new novel has all the absurd, frightening, fantastical qualities of a midnight reverie — complete with depressed clowns, dancing bears, lunatic nuns and smitten mobsters — and with a similar power to haunt ... When their much-anticipated reunion takes place, it does nothing to disrupt the bittersweet mood of the book. Great joy and immense sadness follow as their story unfolds, and the two set about staging the circus they’d envisioned as children. It would be hard to overstate here just how the good the writing is in The Lonely Hearts Hotel. For it is stunningly, stunningly good ... O’Neill, always an original and enchanting storyteller, is at the height of her powers. The Lonely Hearts Hotel is a feat of imagination, accomplished through the tiny, marvellous details she scatters across the page.
PositiveThe Toronto Star...[a] compelling new memoir ... His fierce mother, a woman who 'gives and gives and gives,' is the true hero of this book...She was determined to give her son more than just survival. Against all odds, she gave him hope. And humour. She made the brutality of life bearable with her tenacious heart, brave spirit and sharp wit. And now her son will do the same for his adopted country.
MixedThe Toronto StarRichly researched, Murray’s epic rendering of their story takes a deep-dive into the volatile era they inhabited ... The narrative here is so compelling — with its larger-than-life plot points and fascinating level of detail — that it’s easy to forgive the book’s chief failing, which is its crawling pace. Harder to overlook is the lack of emotion Murray conveys for her main characters ... But a book about friendship should, at some point, evoke that feeling, and the reader is unfortunately left feeling a bit cold here. In the end, Valiant Gentlemen seems to be more about Ward and Casement’s passions and less about the heart and soul of their bond. Still endlessly interesting, just not as emotionally affecting as it could have been.
PositiveThe Los Angeles TimesEmily Witt’s whip-smart new book Future Sex tackles this [online] trend, with clarity and courage ... None of this reads as especially erotic. The meditation meetings are cold and clinical when they’re not creepy. The public disgrace-themed porn shoots are disturbing, the orgies awkward, the triad love too complex. Burning Man feels a bit free and fun, but drug-heavy, and thus not exactly the world’s most sustainable game plan. This doesn’t stop Future Sex from being a fascinating (and funny) read. It’s beautifully written. Brave. And there’s a tremendous satisfaction in seeing all this cultural confusion pinned down on the page.