Arts & Culture

by Editor — last modified 2018-05-12T08:29:18-04:00

Content curated by Roxanne Dubois.

Book review: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

by Roxanne Dubois — last modified Apr 02, 2018 10:57 AM
For the first time in what feels like a long while, I finished a recent and popular book. Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere came out in September 2017 and an announcement earlier this month confirmed its TV adaptation in the near future. Set in Shaker Heights, Ohio, this novel tells the story of one suburban family confronted with the arrival of a mother and daughter to their rental unit. Nostalgic children of the ’90s, be warned: this book hits all the right notes.

Book Review: The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

by Roxanne Dubois — last modified Mar 25, 2018 11:22 AM
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver was published almost 10 years ago, but that’s no reason to leave it unread. In this epic novel, a young writer grows up in Mexico City, takes a job as a cook and dreams of becoming a writer. The historical context and characters give this book an intrigue worth pursuing.

Freethinker: The Life and Works of Éva Circé-Côté

by Roxanne Dubois — last modified Mar 04, 2018 08:23 AM
"Éva Circé-Côté was a diehard Montrealer,” writes Andrée Lévesque in her account of a woman whose impact has been, for too long, underestimated. As it turns out, this Montrealer was also a skilled journalist, a prolific writer, a provocative columnist, a lifelong librarian and an independent thinker who occupied a prominent place in the city. Yet her name is barely remembered. And without Freethinker, references to Circé-Côté would be limited to a handful of historical documents from the early 1900s.

Book Review: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

by Roxanne Dubois — last modified Mar 06, 2018 09:10 AM
Arundhati Roy’s second novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, was much anticipated in 2017. I kept hearing about the author, peeking into her non-fiction work, and I decided to read her first, well-known novel before diving into the current one. I began 2018 by reading The God of Small Things, a book published in 1996 and winner of the Booker prize in 1997. It’s an epic story about twins growing up in India, and the bits of life that change their course.

Reading my way through 2017

by Roxanne Dubois — last modified Dec 31, 2017 10:30 AM
January 2017 was somewhat of a low point. Living in the wake of Donald Trump’s election as the president of the United States had a chilling effect not just on me, but on everything and everyone around me. Reading the news became more depressing than before, and I was uninspired to write—my usual remedy to seasonal blues.

L’amour aux temps du choléra de Gabriel Garcia Márquez

by Roxanne Dubois — last modified Dec 30, 2017 09:18 AM
Il était grand temps de s’attaquer à l’œuvre de Garcia Márquez, dont les échos résonnent dans tous les recoins de la littérature. L’auteur prolifique honoré du Prix Nobel de la littérature en 1982 a atteint le statut de légende. Et pourtant, L’amour aux temps du choléra était mon premier voyage dans son univers. Il faut prendre le titre au pied de la lettre : ce roman est résolument un grand et magnifique roman d’amour.

Book Review: Brother by David Chariandy

by Roxanne Dubois — last modified Dec 30, 2017 01:21 PM
David Chariandy’s second novel is set in Scarborough, Ontario in the ’90s: a backdrop that turns out to be a brilliant soundtrack for the story of a teenage boy. Raised by a single mother who came from Trinidad, Michael grows up in a large residential complex called The Park. Brother is an impressive story about family, struggle, grief and violence.

Book review: The Past by Tessa Hadley

by Roxanne Dubois — last modified Nov 26, 2017 12:16 PM
I struggled to find a good book to usher me along the dreary, grey weeks of November until I heard of the Past by Tessa Hadley. It was described to me as a skillfully written tale where very little happens, to the point where it might even be boring—but in a beautiful way. I started it right away, and it turned out that this excursion into the English countryside where grown-up family members get back together in their grandparent’s home was the perfect antidote for this time of year.

Book Review: Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga

by Roxanne Dubois — last modified Nov 10, 2017 01:13 PM
Toronto Star journalist Tanya Talaga takes a dive into a crisis based in the northern community of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Since the year 2000, seven Indigenous high school students have died in circumstances that are too similar to discount. Questions around the events leading to their deaths remain unanswered to this day. In every case, it was found that the police systematically failed to provide the families with due process and a sense of justice. In the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) final report in 2015, Seven Fallen Feathers is required reading.

Book Review: Barrelling Forward by Eva Crocker

by Roxanne Dubois — last modified Oct 15, 2017 08:55 AM
The colourful cover of “Barrelling Forward” by Eva Crocker should catch your eye -- a flag that should really prompt you to cracking the cover. Crocker lines up a series of short stories as fresh and raw as each other, where characters collide, run, struggle and continue to move ahead in the normal and sometimes mundane adventure called life. “Barrelling Forward” is a great read worth keeping close and reading slowly.

Les aventures incroyables, mais vraies, de Don Quichotte de la Manche

by Roxanne Dubois — last modified Sep 23, 2017 01:51 PM
Il y a peu de personnages aussi connus et reconnus que l’Ingénieux Hidalgo Don Quichotte de la Manche. Le classique de Miguel de Cervantes expose les contes, ou plutôt les péripéties, de ce prétendu chevalier et de son loyal écuyer dans l’Espagne médiévale. Satirique, pédant et drôle du début à la fin, Don Quichotte est l’un de ces classiques dont la lecture (ou la relecture) est un vrai plaisir.

Book review: The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

by Roxanne Dubois — last modified Jul 16, 2017 09:17 AM
A spy novel with the pace of a thriller that takes place in Vietnam and the United States during the war : what's not to love? The 2016 Pulitzer prize winner is Viet Thanh Nguyen's debut novel and is packed with unexpected twists, superber writing and a welcome unique perspective. A sure pick for your summer reading list.

Book review: Swing Time by Zadie Smith

by Roxanne Dubois — last modified Jun 23, 2017 09:20 AM
When Zadie Smith was promoting her fifth novel, Swing Time, in the fall of 2016, the way she talked about race, class and gender in interviews compelled me to put it on hold at the library. Her first novel to be narrated in the first person is a story about dancing, growing up in the working class communities of the East side of London, and facing the many facets of being an adult.

Book review: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

by Roxanne Dubois — last modified May 29, 2017 08:31 AM
It seems unbelievable that Zora Neale Hurston was almost completely forgotten as an important African-American author of the 1930's. And yet, her best known novel, Their eyes were watching God, had to be dug up from the archives as late as the 1970's and 1980's, where it spent far too much time unread and unappreciated. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the classic, providing an excellent opportunity to engage with the prose and substance of Zora Neale Hurston's writing.

Middlemarch by George Eliot

by Roxanne Dubois — last modified May 15, 2017 08:28 AM
For a Franco-Ontarian who has mostly read in French her entire life, certain English classics have always felt out of reach. George Eliot's Middlemarch, for example, which spans the imposing length of just under 900 pages, is not a book I would have picked up just for the sake of it. Its length should not put anyone off, though, since Eliot's writing has the ability to take the reader on a long, excursionary journey well worth travelling.
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