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The Soul of In Calamity's Wake

Natalee Caple is the author of In Calamity's Wake, which Richard Wagamese, author of Indian Horse, calls "mythic, real, compelling ... a sumptuous feast of storytelling." As accomplished, poetic, and original as the novel is, however, it almost never was. Natalee shares the event that almost halted her work on In Calamity's Wake—then gave it its foundation. An excerpt follows.


When I first started researching the frontierswoman Calamity Jane for a novel it was with the idea of writing a feminist Western. But by the end of my work, In Calamity’s Wake became a book that I wrote because I couldn’t save my cousin Heather’s life. So I wrote her into fiction, hoping that my daughter and my son would one day encounter her there and see her the way I needed her to be seen, as heroic and immortal.

In brief, while I was already working on the novel, Heather was on her way back from a pub to her home on the estate (the ridiculous thing we call public housing) where she lived in Cardiff, Wales, when she was approached on the street and beaten by an eighteen-year-old boy who wanted to kill someone in front of his friends. Weeks later, she came out of her coma and began a difficult recovery that ended at 18 months post-attack when she died of an aneurysm related t …

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An Excerpt from Stranglehold, Robert Rotenberg's Latest

Book Cover Stranglehold

About the book: Bestselling author Robert Rotenberg is back with Stranglehold, his most shocking book yet, featuring Detective Ari Greene in the fight of his life. It’s just after Labour Day and the city is kicking back into gear. All eyes are on the hotly contested election for Toronto’s next mayor and crime is the big issue. Greene is no stranger to the worst of what the city has to offer, but even he is unprepared for what happens next when he stumbles upon a horrific homicide...

What a boring Monday , Awotwe Amankwah, courtroom reporter for the Toronto Star, thought as he flipped through the trial list on the centre hall desk at the 361 University Avenue Courthouse. For the last two months there’d been nothing decent to write about thanks to the court’s annual summer break –when all the well-heeled judges were up north at their family cottages. He could barely remember the last time his byline had appeared on the front page. And now the film festival was monopolizing half the ink in the paper with paparazzi crap.

The Star’s new editor, Barclay Church, a British transplant who lived for stories filled with sex and scandal, would have no interest in the handful of run-of-the mill crimes on this court docket: a stabbing; two shootings; a dead body foun …

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Good Morning World: An Excerpt From Lauren B. Davis's New Novel The Empty Room

Book Cover The Empty Room

About The Empty Room:  Colleen Kerrigan wakes up sick and bruised, with no clear memory of the night before. It’s Monday morning, and she is late for work again. She’s shocked to see the near-empty vodka bottle on her kitchen counter. It was full at noon yesterday; surely she didn’t drink that much last night? As she struggles out the door, she fights the urge to have a sip, just to take the edge off. But no, she’s not going to drink today.

But this is the day Colleen’s demons come for her. A very bad day spirals into night as a series of flashbacks take the reader through Colleen’s past—moments of friendship and loss, fragments of peace and possibility. The single constant is the bottle, always close by, Colleen’s worst enemy and her only friend.

In this unforgettable work, acclaimed novelist Lauren B. Davis has created as searing, raw, and powerful a portrayal of the chaos and pain of alcoholism as we have encountered in fiction. Told with compassion, insight and an irresistible gallows humour, The Empty Room takes us to the depths of addiction, only to find a revelation at its heart: the importance and grace of one person reaching out to another. 


Good Morning, World

It was Monday morning, and Colleen Kerrigan woke up wondering why she was chewi …

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"Tweed": A Poem by Phil Hall

Book Cover Small Nouns

The blurb for Phil Hall's new book of poems, The Small Nouns Crying Faith (to be released in May) says the poems "talk frogs, carrots, local noises, partial words, remnants, dirt roads, deep breath & hope." The Small Nouns Crying Faith is highly anticipated: Hall's book of essay-poems, Killdeer, was the 2011 winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry in English, and in 2012 won Ontario’s Trillium Book Award, an Alcuin Design Award, and was nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize. Previously, Trouble Sleeping (2001) was nominated for the Governor General’s Award, and An Oak Hunch (2005) was nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize.

We are thrilled to have been given permission to include one of Hall's poems from his new collection, "Tweed," here.



 The chewed-corn gaff of the mullein

its tall standard rising behind the wood-pile

 (between the wood-pile & the woods)


seems yellower as the morning darkens

 & the maples gather darkness into themselves

& clouds combine as overcast moil


 & the highest poplars tell of what’s to come

throwing their paper bangles up / letting loose

 their crepe-ribbon noise (braided loops


being pulled down after the party

 that was sleep)    such blinkered comfort to write like this

the supposedly-tender …

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