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Bon Appetit: Food in CanLit

We all have our favourite food scenes from books and movies. Mia Wallace and Vincent Vega bonding over a $5 milkshake in Pulp Fiction. The poor lobsters in Annie Hall. Lady and the Tramp’s romantic spaghetti and meatball dinner. Butter beer and Cornish pasties in Harry Potter. Loretta telling Ronny how he’ll eat his steak in Moonstruck. Every single meal in Louise Penny's mysteries. Key lime pie and potatoes in Nora Ephron's Heartburn. The list is endless and adding to it is completely addictive. You could lose yourself for hours just by clicking on this link.
The best food writing defines characters and crystallizes their challenges and desires, allowing readers and viewers into a fictional world that is both familiar and surprising. When we “read food,” we automatically put ourselves into the scene and imagine how we would feel. Loved. Hated. Shocked. Enraptured. Pretty much any emotion can be summoned through food—and immediately, in very few words—if the writing is brilliant enough.

Food plays a key role in Trevor Cole’s Hope Makes Love. In the novel, the female protagonist, Hope, has suffered a terrible trauma. She is functional, but just, and fearful of intimacy. She meets a man named Adnan, and he is gentle. So as not to give too much away, here’s an excerpt from the book. The context: an email from Hope to Adnan, recalling a night they spent together.


We made—or you made and insisted it was “we"—tarts with roasted cherry tomatoes and onions and …

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On Our Radar

"On Our Radar" is a monthly 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet.


How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun? by Doretta Lau

From Mark Sampson's review at Free Range Reading

"While the marketing bumpf promises a 'whimsical new take on what it means to be Canadian,' what we actually get is a wild, smash-mouth array of wholly original pieces, a deliberate hodgepodge that puts us an entire galaxy away from the staid 'immigrant-as-nationalism' narrative that is so overdone in our country’s literature. Lau’s pieces run the gamut from the violent and vulgar to the tender and touching. Yes, most of her characters are Asian Canadians struggling to find their way in the world, but each tale stands on its own as a singular thing, carefully wrought with an eye toward pristine originality."


Yaw, by Dani Couture

From Maisonneuve's "Two Poets Discuss" feature

"YAW, as a title, isn’t just appropriate because …

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