The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Pay no attention to the sentences in The Girl on the Train. The sentences are utilitarian at best, and often laden with painful clichés. But words aren’t what matters in The Girl on the Train. It’s plot. It’s characters who feel familiar and surprising. It’s scenes as vivid as a Netflix thriller. Speaking of Netflix […]

Murder in the Dark by Margaret Atwood

Murder in the Dark is a little book of journal scratchings. Some might call them prose poems, others might call them micro-essays, experimental short stories, or newspaper columns. Atwood’s ideas are intelligent, but in their current form I doubt they’d make it out of the slush pile without her Can-Lit name. It makes me jealous. […]

Barkskins by Annie Proulx

Barkskins is a novelized history of the people who’ve worked the forests of North America for the last 400 years. Annie Proulx is best known for her short story Brokeback Mountain, which became a movie by the same name, about gay cowboys in Montana. That credit solidifies her as a talent for depicting the lives […]

Garden of the Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng

Garden of the Evening Mists is impeccably precise. The story unfolds like a deck of cards, like a magic trick, fully realized and devoid of distractions or mistakes. The language, the structure, the characters: all are premeditated, purposeful and productive. (Photo: Amy Attas) This is a story about trauma, and how trauma manifests in our […]

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

This book made the media rounds in 2015, with the biggest news being the “wood wide web,” the revelation that trees are connected and communicating with each other. It’s perspective-shifting, the first time you hear about it. Through the roots, and through the fungal network attached to the roots, trees can pass information about pests […]