Oh the places you’ll go…when you read our Summer issue. From fiction set in Mauritius and the Canadian Arctic, to poems located in Italy, Yellowknife, and Kandahar, and to creative nonfiction that will take you to Odessa, this is armchair travel at its literary best.
Naben Ruthnum leads the tour with his 2012 Novella Prize-winning “Cinema Rex.” It’s a masterful tale of three friends who could not have anticipated how the opening of a new movie theatre in their 1950s Mauritian village would ultimately influence their lives. The colourful and sensory details transport us, and the imaginative use of footnotes creates a “future story” for each of the characters while adding layers of depth and delicious humour.
Greg Hollingshead’s “Melnyk” will also make you smile, as you follow the life and bizarre times of the eccentric title character. Being struck by lightning while pouring a sidewalk alongside a funeral home wasn’t the beginning of Melnyk’s quirkiness, but it did make him become an artist and “quit fooling around.” This, you’ll see, is debatable.
Laura Trunkey’s “Winchester 30-30,” set in the Canadian north during the early years of the twentieth century, is a gripping story of desperation and murder as seen from the weapon’s perspective. Those who once possessed the gun, including an Inuit hunter, a shaman, and two Oblate priests, are fatefully (and fatally) linked by the “red shame” of her desire.
In “The Rain,” Lee Kofman’s creative nonfiction set in Odessa, a Jewish family (the only one in the neighbourhood) with intellectual leanings and ties to Israel are under scrutiny by the locals, and then by the KGB. The young daughter, perhaps the unwitting source of an early-morning raid by the secret police, is given a chance to save the day. It was the happiness of hope springing from the knowledge that the future could be beautiful because I could be its heroine.
The poems in this issue are no less astonishing—and far-ranging in time and space—as the prose. Buckle up and ride along with George Sipos, Dan O’Brien, David Martin, Shane Rhodes, Michelle Brown, Dorothy Field, Peter Richardson, Catherine Graham, Chantelle Rideout, Robin Richardson, and Ben Ladouceur. They’ll take you places you never dreamed.
Talented book reviewers Danielle Janess, Eric Miller, Jay Ruzesky, Allison LaSorda, Matthew Rutchik, Alisa Gordaneer, and Robert May contribute insightful studies of new Canadian titles by (among others) Warren Heiti, Joe Denham, and Alice Major.
The striking cover photo is by Canadian photo-journalist Paul Watson, himself the subject of poems by contributor Dan O’Brien. Look to our website for an upcoming interview by John Barton with these two men, wherein they discuss their friendship and project collaboration.
Can’t get away this summer? Think again.
See the entire table of contents for #179 on our website.
Vanessa Annand has been on the CNF board since autumn 2011, so she's coming up on her one-year anniversary with The Malahat Review. She'll probably take a few volumes of the journal out for a romantic dinner laced with sweet nothings and savoury somethings when the date rolls around. When she's not reading submissions for The Malahat Review, she's soliciting and editing submissions for another venerable UVic-based publication, The Martlet, where she is editor-in-chief. The first publication to ever print hew work was Monday Magazine. Since then, she's embarked on an alliterative and Sesame Street-inspired career track, working almost exclusively for publications that begin with the letter “M.”
Describe your ideal creative nonfiction piece
Because the ideal work of creative nonfiction reveals something ineffable and hitherto unknown to me, it's difficult to pinpoint exactly what that might include. Still, one possible strength might be the fresh and even reverential use of language to describe something that others might consider insignificant or unworthy of documenting. I also find sympathetic narrators much more engaging than those who keep their subject matter at arm's (and pen's) length. And speaking of length, I admire CNF pieces that are able to convey their message with economy. While I enjoy complex and lengthy sentences peppered throughout a piece, my ideal piece of CNF would never fall into the “I-don't-see-why-I-should-restrict-my-word-count” camp.
Read the rest of this interview on our website.
Shelf Life Books
Corner of 4th Street and 13th Avenue SW
Malahat volunteer, Stephen Leckie, asked JoAnn McCaig of Shelf Life Books, a proud carrier of The Malahat Review, a few questions about her thoughtfully curated, independent book store.
How important is the role of independent book stores?
An independent bookstore is a meeting place for people who question the status quo, for independent thinkers who are looking for books and ideas outside the mainstream. It’s a community hub for writers and readers. It’s a place where conversations about ideas begin.
Read the rest of this interview on our website.