I had forgotten the joys of working in a bookstore—I am once more reading indulgently. The store that I work in only carries Atlantic Canadian products, so I’ve been digging into local authors, lately. In the last few weeks I’ve read:
The Birth House by Ami McKay
I really enjoyed the Birth House. It reads sort of like a scrapbook, compromised of letters and recipes. It reminded me a bit of the Red Tent, another book that centers itself on birth. Superbly written, especially seeing as it's McKay's first novel.
No Great Mischief by Alistair Macleod
Why doesn’t Alistair Macleod write more? I love his short stories, and equally enjoyed this novel. Centered on an infamous Cape Breton family, it traces their history from Scotland to Canada, with much tragedy befalling them along the way.
Rare Birds by Edward Riche
A decent book that I liked mostly for its description of food. There’s a film adaptation of it starring William Hurt that I’m going to make an effort to see. A restaurant + a submarine + a huge bag of cocaine = this book. It's a very quick read--I finished it in about 3-4 hours.
An Audience of Chairs by Joan Clark
Beautiful novel that really touched me. The main character is a great favourite of mine, now. A woman suffering from a mental illness loses everything, but remains charming and defiant through all her turmoil. In the end, she receives a chance to redeem herself and get back the family she lost.
Latitudes of Melt by Joan Clark
This novel begins with a baby in a bassinet floating ashore on Newfoundland. A fisherman finds the baby and adopts her. The novel tells the story of the child’s life, her children’s lives, and their children’s lives. Big extended family history with a strong second half.
Butterbox Babies by Bette Cahill
I believe I saw the movie for this a couple of years ago. The book is centred on a dark slice of Nova Scotian history that occurred during the 1920s to the late 1940s. The Ideal Maternity Home in East Chester, Nova Scotia became infamous after stories of neglect, starvation, and the selling of babies surfaced.
Rockbound by Frank Parker Day
Written in heavy dialect and centered on Nova Scotia’s south shore, this novel is a great example of classic Maritime literature. A group of fishermen try to make their fortune and out-wit one another to gain supremacy other Rockbound. Apparently Day based a large part of this book off of a real town in Nova Scotia, and wasn’t exactly welcome back after its residents heard about his novel. I, on the other hand, loved it.
I have never had the chance to enjoy so much work by local authors, and am happy to get the chance to support Atlantic Canadian writers. I definitely recommend all of these books. Come visit me at Carrefour Atlantique Emporium in Historic Properties and I’ll sell you them.