Montreal writer Teri Vlassopoulos’s debut story collection Bats or Swallows was shortlisted last week for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. This is an awesome book, and I say so in a much wordier manner in my review in The Rover from the weekend:
“I learned early on that things don’t come out of nowhere,” says the narrator in “Baby Teeth,” one of eleven stories in Teri Vlassopoulos’s Bats or Swallows. “There is always a buildup.”
With such an exceptional debut collection, Vlassopoulos may herself appear to have come out of nowhere. Her own buildup, however, can be found in over a decade of zine writing, a training ground that has served her well.
There’s a mesmeric quality to Vlassopoulos’s storytelling. Her writing is warm, uncomplicated, and beguilingly intimate. She produces crisp sentences that are economical in words and generous in personality.
Full review here.
Up Up Up, the debut collection by 2009 Writers’ Union of Canada Prose Competition winner Julie Booker, comes out next month. It’s a very funny book, but there’s a lot more to it than laughter alone. I review it today in The Rover:
From soups to cocktails to Chicken McNugget sauce, sweet and sour is one of the world’s most popular and enduring flavours. I have a theory about why this is so. The key to sweet and sour’s success is in its ability to deceive. The first thing my palate detects is the sweet. In a flash, expectations and associations of a sugary sort – lollipops, cotton candy, birthday cake – form in my mind. In another flash, however, the sour kicks in. Suddenly, I’m tasting something much more complicated, much more adult. A similar happy deception occurs repeatedly in Julie Booker’s debut short story collection, Up Up Up.
Full review here.