Dominoes at the Crossroads
In Dominoes at the Crossroads Kaie Kellough maps an alternate nation—one populated by Caribbean Canadians who hopscotch across the country. The characters navigate race, class, and coming-of-age. Seeking opportunity, some fade into the world around them, even as their minds hitchhike, dream, and soar. Some appear in different times and hemispheres, whether as student radicals, secret agents, historians, fugitive slaves, or jazz musicians.
From the cobblestones of Montreal’s Old Port through the foliage of a South American rainforest; from a basement in wartime Paris to a metro in Montréal during the October Crisis; Kellough’s fierce imagination reconciles the personal and ancestral experience with the present moment, grappling with the abiding feeling of being elsewhere, even when here.
If it’s true that the young inhabit their own world, then novels about urban youth can feel like dispatches from a foreign country even when they’re set in your own neighbourhood. Mikella Nicol’s Aphelia, a cause célèbre on its original 2017 French publication, follows the ups and downs — mostly downs — of a 20-something graveyard-shift worker at a call centre during a summer heat wave as she attempts to recover from the messy end of a volatile relationship. If you’ve found your views on millennials piqued and enriched by Geneviève Pettersen and Guillaume Morissette, Nicol looks like the natural next thing. - Ian McGillis, Montreal Gazette
This book was a pleasure to read, at times stark and haunting and at others wonderfully descriptive as to almost feel the sweat trickling down your back. The translation by Lesley Trites is on point and flows easily and naturally. - Ann Marie Boulanger, Quebec Reads
David Homel’s eighth novel is an exquisitely written, brutally honest, brave work from a two-time Governor General Award winner at the peak of his powers.
Phil Brenner has fallen into a slump. All of his life’s achievements have somehow crept into disarray. As a freelance journalist, his career pinnacles keep receding in the rearview, as he struggles to stay relevant in a culture that prizes identity over experience. He feels unfairly cast aside by younger generations, designated the very “white male of privilege” he spent much of his youth rallying against. As a husband, he’s estranged from his wife, whose job supports the suburban lifestyle he never wanted. As a father, his two daughters repel any attempt he makes to connect.
But when a chance arises to cover the refugee crisis in Eastern Europe, Phil seizes the opportunity to reinvent himself into the person he could be, if only he can bring himself to tear down the tired notions of who he has become.
"Not content to simply write about Brautigan, nor to write like Brautigan, Plamondon delivers a zinger concerning the strange connection between Brautigan and Rivages that will leave the reader wondering just where truth ends and fiction begins." - Vince Tinguely, Montreal Review of Books
"Plamondon has a knack for taking an interesting but seemingly unrelated fact, bringing it round to some meaningful aspect of Brautigan (or Rivage's) life, and turning it into a polished narrative jewel.... While Mayonnaise is emphatically not a realist novel, its grounding in life's minutiae, along with all its random, deeply pleasing connections, ends up feeling like a kind of alternative to realism. These diverse fragments might not emulsify in the manner of mayonnaise, but they do combine into a powerful and intelligent meditation on the meaning of existence." - JC Sutcliffe, Canadian Notes & Queries
"When I read this book for the first time, I thought, Wow! Every time I reread it, I have the same response." –Chantal Guy, La Presse
"Sparely and beautifully written, The Deserters is a story not of escape but of the deep, human need to belong to a place, and to one another." —Helen Humphreys
"Here is the fallout of war, the logic of betrayal, told with grace, elegance, and an unflinching gaze.” —Tamas Dobozy
"In The Deserters, her beautiful and understated debut novel about those who love, those who fight, and those who leave, Pamela Mulloy makes connections between characters, continents and centuries and creates a constellation." —Kerry Clare