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The Novel That Lies Before Us: Thomas Trofimuk’s This is All a Lie

This is All a Lie

Thomas Trofimuk

Enfield & Wizenty, 2017

Review by Peter Takach

You are about to read a review of Thomas Trofimuk’s new novel. Perhaps you’ve seen This is All a Lie reclining against the shelf at your local bookstore, its stark white cover a breath of sanity amidst more lurid neighbours. Hesitantly, you ease it off the shelf, for you’ve been hurt before. Still, you remain optimistic that, somewhere past the bland bestsellers and the remainder bin, the perfect paperback awaits you.

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59 Glass Bridges

Cutting to the Core of Humanity: Steven Peters’ 59 Glass Bridges

59 Glass Bridges

Steven Peters

NeWest Press, 2017

Review by Deborah Vail

Steven Peters makes an impressive entrance into the world of speculative fiction with his debut novel, 59 Glass Bridges, which began as his thesis project while studying English at the University of Calgary. Inspired in part by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, the fifty-nine bridges in Peters’ hometown of Calgary, and his memories, this story is dark, evocative, and compelling.

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Brave and Timely: Waiting for Stalin to Die

Waiting for Stalin to Die

Irene Guilford

Guernica Editions, 2017

Review by Deborah S. Patz

Waiting for Stalin to Die by Irene Guilford is a touching and thoughtful novel about post-war immigrants from Lithuania living and settling in Toronto from 1949 to 1953. Irene Guilford is a Canadian author whose work has been shortlisted for both the CBC Literary Competition and the Event Creative Non-Fiction Contest. She is also the author of The Embrace, another novel concerning the Lithuanian experience of exile and immigration. Waiting for Stalin to Die is Guilford’s second fiction novel.

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This Accident

Editor’s Pick: Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s This Accident of Being Lost

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, writer, artist and member of Alderville First Nation. Her writing extends from scholarly work grounded in twenty years of Indigenous land-based education, and extends to genre-bending creative forms of poetry, song, and short stories. Her debut collection of stories and songs, Islands of Decolonial Love, was chosen by Thomas King for the 2013 RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award. This Accident of Being Lost was released by House of Anansi Press in April 2017 and has just been shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. It is a spell-binding collection that shifts between lyric poetry and short stories using a fragmented, weaving narrative. From PRISM’s Executive Editor, Jessica Johns, are six reasons why reading This Accident of Being Lost will have you openly weeping in coffee shops and ignoring cute dogs at the farmers market.

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How to Review: Starting Out and Pro-Tips from Carleigh Baker

Are you looking to get into the review game? Are you a seasoned reviewer and want to hone your skills? Wherever you land on the review spectrum, PRISM has put together five simple starting-out steps to make the task of reviewing a book a little less daunting. Additionally, Carleigh Baker, author of Bad Endings and bad-ass reviewer for The Globe and Mail, shares some insider pro-tips.

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Hot-Tempered Divinity: A Review of Aidan Chafe’s Right Hand Hymns

Review by Annick MacAskill

Right Hand Hymns

Aidan Chafe

Frog Hollow Press

Last October, my friend David Alexander (Modern Warfare, Anstruther Press, 2016) and I went to an Anstruther Press and Baseline Press chapbook launch to see a few poets we knew. When I heard Aidan Chafe read from his debut chapbook, Sharpest Tooth (Anstruther Press, 2016), I immediately wanted to buy his collection. I was drawn by Chafe’s strong imagery and measured, almost laconic consideration of the destructive ferocity and violence of the natural and human worlds.

When I saw that Chafe had released a second chapbook, Right Hand Hymns (Frog Hollow Press, 2017), I was eager to read his new work. The theme of violence continues in this collection, but instead of exploring this theme in poems about hunting, woods, and wolves, Right Hand Hymns evokes a similar wildness and chaos in poems about family, religion, and mental health.

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Next Year For Sure

Loneliness, Polyamory, and Possibility in Zoey Leigh Peterson’s Next Year, For Sure

Review by Carly Rosalie Vandergriendt

Next Year, For Sure

Zoey Leigh Peterson

Doubleday Canada

It’s tempting to call Next Year, For Sure, a novel about a millennial couple that happens upon polyamory, a “light” read. Because in many ways, it is a light read. Award-winning short story writer and debut novelist Zoey Leigh Peterson’s prose is deceptively addictive, the kind of writing that can easily keep a reader up until two or three in the morning. (I read it twice; I stayed up late finishing it both times.) Her main characters, nine-years-and-still-going-strong couple Chris and Kathryn, are sensitive and self-aware yuppie Vancouverites who verge on being likeable to a fault. The novel opens with Chris telling Kathryn he has a crush on Emily, a woman he met at the laundromat. Kathryn suggests he take her out on a date, the plot takes off at a brisk pace, alternating between Chris and Kathryn’s point of view as they navigate opening their relationship up to a third person over the course of the year that follows.

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