Home > Posts by alkprism

Review: Dave Williamson’s “Dating”

Dating: a novel, by Dave Williamson

Published by Turnstone Press (2012)

Review by Tara Gilboy

People smarter than I advise against judging a book by its cover, but I have to admit, I decided to read Dave Williamson’s novel Dating primarily because of its cover.  It’s just so, well, cool: in the retro-muted colors of an old photograph, a middle-aged couple in vintage clothing picnic on a lake; the woman, who sports a wedding ring, kisses the very surprised-looking man on the cheek.  Apparently, I am not the only person drawn to the cover.  I brought the book along on a trip, and people asked about it on the plane.  I left the book out on my coffee table at home, and guests requested to borrow it.  The cover promises much: humor, nostalgia, and, of course, dating.  But then the question arises – can the book possibly live up to its cover?

I found that it does.  Dating is categorized as comedy, but it delivers much more than humor.  Smart, funny, and at times poignant, Dating is part love story, part social history, part coming-of-age novel.

Continue reading Review: Dave Williamson’s “Dating”

Review: Carmen Rodriguez’s “Retribution”

ImageRetribution, by Carmen Rodriguez
Published by Women’s Press Literary (2011)

Review by Kelly Thompson

Retribution is the debut novel by Carmen Rodriguez, the accomplished poet and short story writer. Already familiar with her work, and having read the titillating back cover copy, I was excited to crack the spine of this book. The novel tells the story of three generations of women who live in Chile before, during and after the military coup in 1973. It is told through the eyes of all three women and depicts their eventual flee to Vancouver, where they discover new life, albeit, not easily. The novel, as it turns out, is hauntingly similar to Rodriguez’s own life story, which can only mean I am in for one hell of a literary ride.

Continue reading Review: Carmen Rodriguez’s “Retribution”

An Interview with Journalist Jan Wong

By Jane Campbell

In her new self-published memoir Out of the Blue, renowned journalist Jan Wong recounts her struggle to overcome a major depressive episode that began when an article she wrote for The Globe and Mail triggered a heated controversy. The Globe and Mail failed to stand by Wong in the wake of the uproar over her article and then refused to support her request for a medical leave of absence when depression made her unable to work. Out of the Blue chronicles Wong’s fight for adequate sick leave and her journey towards rebuilding her life after depression decimates her career and personal relationships.

Jan Wong graciously agreed to take time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions about her experience writing and publishing Out of the Blue.

Jane Campbell:  In Out of the Blue, you write candidly about your struggle with depression and how it affected your personal relationships. Given the intimate nature of the subject matter, was the process of writing Out of the Blue more difficult than the process of writing your previous books?

Jan Wong: Very difficult. First of all, during my depression I lost my ability to write. And when I could write again, I found it very painful to sift through the previous several years. It took me five drafts, three more than my norm, to make the narrative coherent, engaging and even funny for the reader.

JC: A number of writers have produced memoirs about depression, and you quote several of them in Out of the Blue. Did reading these memoirs influence how you saw your own depression? Did they influence your writing in Out of the Blue?

JW: Mine is the only memoir I have found on workplace depression. I read accounts by others who experienced depression—none workplace related, but these books helped me understand that depression is part of the human condition. Many of us – one in five, twice as many women as men – will suffer depression in their lifetimes.

Continue reading An Interview with Journalist Jan Wong