USEREVIEW 061 (Capsule): What We Think We Know

USEREVIEW 061 (Capsule): What We Think We Know

Aaron SchneiderWhat We Think We Know (Gordon Hill Press, 2021)ISBN 978-1-77422-029-0 | 224 pp | $22.00 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY What We Think We Know is ostensibly Schneider’s debut collection of short fiction, though it tests the limits of that designation in various ways. On the one hand, there’s the fact that two of the stories in the collection are virtually novella-length; and on the more experimental hand there’s the fact that many of

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USEREVIEW 060 (Capsule): In Veritas

USEREVIEW 060 (Capsule): In Veritas

C.J. LavigneIn Veritas (NeWest Press, 2020)ISBN978-1-98873-283-1 | 344 pp | $21.95 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Like many works of speculative fiction, C.J. Lavigne‘s debut novel In Veritas is interested in examining the lives and significance of characters who are outsiders. The narrative primarily follows the protagonist Verity, a lifelong synaesthete who has previously been hospitalized for so-called hallucinations, but which are in fact glimpses into another world that exists within our own world, hidden

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USEREVIEW 059 (Capsule): Can the Monster Speak?

USEREVIEW 059 (Capsule): Can the Monster Speak?

Paul B. PreciadoCan the Monster Speak? (Semiotext(e), 2021)Translated by Frank WynneISBN 978-1-63590-151-1 | 104 pp | $15.95 USD / $21.95 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Can the Monster Speak? is the full text of a speech that Paul B. Preciado attempted to deliver to a few thousand psychoanalysts from Lacan’s L’École de la Cause Freudienne in 2019. The speech was never completed because it caused such an uproar among the gathered psychoanalysts and it is

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USEREVIEW 057 (Capsule): Uncharted

USEREVIEW 057 (Capsule): Uncharted

Sabyasachi NagUncharted (Mansfield Press, 2021)ISBN 978-1-77126-248-4 | 94 pp | $17 CAD/USD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY I confess: it was the eye-catching cover of Uncharted — designed by Mansfield’s publisher, Denis De Klerck — that first drew me to the work. The confrontational stare of a white tiger, whose face engulfs and exceeds the the edges of the book, is difficult to look away from. But the interior content of Uncharted, the third collection of

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USEREVIEW 056 (Capsule): Fuse

USEREVIEW 056 (Capsule): Fuse

Hollay GhaderyFuse (Guernica Editions, 2021)ISBN 978-1-77183-592-3 | 170 pp | $20.00 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Ghadery’s debut, Fuse, is a collection of personal essays so intimate and engrossing that at times I had the strange sensation that my consciousness had melted and was being subsumed into the author’s. As if the secrets she was telling were mine laid bare on the page instead of hers. This, of course, is an illusion, a deft trick

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USEREVIEW 054 (Capsule): Disappearing in Reverse

USEREVIEW 054 (Capsule): Disappearing in Reverse

Allie McFarlandDisappearing in Reverse (University of Calgary Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1-77385-143-3 | 238 pp | $24.99 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Like loose shale skidding down a mountainside, everything in Allie McFarland’s novel(la) feels like it’s slipping out from under you. The narrative is told by a narrator who is conspicuously unreliable. We watch her lie, for unarticulated if intuitable reasons, to everyone she meets, from the moment she meets them. Neither they, nor we, are

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USEREVIEW 039 (Capsule): The Weight of the Heart

USEREVIEW 039 (Capsule): The Weight of the Heart

Theresa KishkanThe Weight of the Heart (Palimpsest Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1-98928-747-7 | 120 pp | $15.95 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY It isn’t a spoiler to say that we never do find out exactly how much a heart weighs in the latest novella from prolific author Theresa Kishkan, but what is clear is that the heart weighs more than we might be given to expect. The story foreshadows this figurative surprise with its opening lines: “The closer I got

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USEREVIEW 037 (Capsule): God Damned Avalon

USEREVIEW 037 (Capsule): God Damned Avalon

Paul Edward CostaGod Damned Avalon (Mosaic Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1-77161-532-7 | 108 pp | $17.95 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Paul Edward Costa’s debut flash fiction collection, God Damned Avalon, is as chock-full of switchbacks as its paradoxical title — invoking a paradise that divinity has forsaken — should lead you to expect. Earning the name of their genre, the tales in this book are lightning-quick, though the subjects they depict sometimes span centuries, the rises and falls of

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USEREVIEW 035 (Capsule): I Know Something You Don’t Know

USEREVIEW 035 (Capsule): I Know Something You Don’t Know

Amy LeBlancI Know Something You Don’t Know (Gordon Hill Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1-928171-97-3 | 100 pp | $20.00 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY The poems of Amy LeBlanc’s debut poetry collection, I Know Something You Don’t Know, are as morally elusive as the best and grimmest old fairy tales, but also as narratively destabilized as we’ve come to expect contemporary poetry to be. Danger lurks in the empty spaces between every stanza break, but these poems offer no false

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USEREVIEW 034 (Capsule): Murmurations

USEREVIEW 034 (Capsule): Murmurations

Annick MacAskillMurmurations (Gaspereau Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1-554472086 | 96 pp | $20.95 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY I sat down at my writing desk to begin reading Annick MacAskill’s sophomore poetry collection Murmurations (Gaspereau Press, 2020), expecting to get through a few poems before going to bed. Instead, by the end of an hour or so, I had devoured the book completely. Murmurations, I think, invites this kind of reading. There is a through-line in the poems that is

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USEREVIEW 032 (Capsule): Bones

USEREVIEW 032 (Capsule): Bones

Tyler PennockBones (Brick Books, 2020)ISBN 978-1-77131-521-0 | 128 pp | $20.00 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY “[T]hey forget / that we are bones / — resurrected from the bones of others,” writes Tyler Pennock, alluding both literally and figuratively to how, in the earth, skeletons slowly disintegrate so that their particles take on new functions in the larger ecosystem. Digested by detrivores, turned into fertile soil, the bones often eventually resurface to nourish the flora and fauna that

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USEREVIEW 030 (Capsule): The Work

USEREVIEW 030 (Capsule): The Work

Maria MeindlThe Work (Stonehouse Publishing, 2020)ISBN 978-1-988754-16-1| 264 pp | $19.95 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY It’s called The Work but reading Maria Meindl’s debut novel couldn’t be farther from a slog. The story hovers over the shoulder of stage manager Rebecca Weir, who works for an experimental theatre company that may or may not be a cult. As the eclectic and shifting cadre of artists devote themselves to breath work and movement exercises and overly-intimate relationship dynamics,

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USEREVIEW 026 (Capsule): Cephalopography 2.0

USEREVIEW 026 (Capsule): Cephalopography 2.0

Rasiqra RevulvaCephalopography 2.0 (Wolsak & Wynn, 2020)ISBN 978-1-989496084 | 104 pp | $20 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Never has poetry felt so much like a marine biology-themed museum-cum-amusement park as it does in Rasiqra Revulva’s exuberant, endlessly clever Cephalopography 2.0 (Wolsak & Wynn, 2020). What doesn’t this debut collection offer? From Revulva’s take on traditional forms, to vispo, to crossword puzzles (yes, you read that right), the book is a deep-diver, as malleable and startling as the

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USEREVIEW 024 (Capsule): The Only Card in a Deck of Knives

USEREVIEW 024 (Capsule): The Only Card in a Deck of Knives

Lauren TurnerThe Only Card in a Deck of Knives (Wolsak & Wynn, 2020)ISBN 978-1-989496091 | 112 pp | $20 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY It is common enough to find a novel that clasps you by the hand, Nimue-like, draws you into its realm and will not let you leave; far rarer is the debut poetry collection that does this. Yet Lauren Turner’s The Only Card in a Deck of Knives (Wolsak & Wynn, 2020) manages it. Looped

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USEREVIEW 023 (Capsule): The Knowing Animals

USEREVIEW 023 (Capsule): The Knowing Animals

Emily Skov-NielsenThe Knowing Animals (Brick Books, 2020)ISBN 978-1-771315333 | 104 pp | $20 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Emily Skov-Nielsen’s debut poetry collection, The Knowing Animals (Brick Books, 2020), integrates the small, prosaic dramas of mundanity (“I’m bent over the cutting board slicing tomatoes / with a serrated knife — deciding if I should leave you”) and luxuriously lyrical imagery (“coltsfoot clambers / from concrete clefts, groundlings of the groundsel tribe, / lovers of rifts and shambles, larvae

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USEREVIEW 020 (Capsule): Cosmic Bowling

USEREVIEW 020 (Capsule): Cosmic Bowling

Cornelia Hoogland and Ted GooddenCosmic Bowling (Guernica Editions, 2020)ISBN 978-1-771835374 | 156 pp | $20 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Cornelia Hoogland and Ted Goodden’s Cosmic Bowling (Guernica Editions, 2020) pairs Hoogland’s brief, meditative poems with Goodden’s humanoid ceramic sculptures to form a collaborative, multidisciplinary ekphrastic response to the I Ching. This book is the product of two practised artists, and both poems and sculptures have an unassuming, quotidian, near-directness about them, a quality of commonsense wisdom rendered

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USEREVIEW 017 (Capsule): Mythical Man

USEREVIEW 017 (Capsule): Mythical Man

David LyMythical Man (Palimpsest Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1-989287354 | 70 pp | $18.95 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Reading David Ly’s Mythical Man (Palimpsest Press, 2020) feels not unlike being on late-night Twitter, where text slips between gossip and discourse, where a quippy tone is an obvious filter for latent ennui. This debut collection is young and lustful, tech-savvy and oppression-aware. The poems in it that interested me most were the ones slightly removed from realism, that indulged a

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USEREVIEW 015 (Capsule): Swimmers in Winter

USEREVIEW 015 (Capsule): Swimmers in Winter

Faye GuentherSwimmers in Winter (Invisible Publishing, 2020)ISBN 978-1-988784502 | 208 pp | $19.95 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Faye Guenther’s Swimmers in Winter (Invisible Publishing, 2020) has a title that accurately bespeaks its tone — there is a chill to these three sets of paired-off stories that is, by turns, invigorating and lulling. But there is also a clarity in the prose, like cold water free of rose-eyed summer. Though this is Guenther’s debut collection of short fiction,

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USEREVIEW 014 (Capsule): Tiny Ruins

USEREVIEW 014 (Capsule): Tiny Ruins

Nicole Haldoupis Tiny Ruins (Radiant Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1-989274385 | 88 pp | $20 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY How many novels do you get to read that are composed entirely of linked flash fiction? That alone is reason enough to peruse Nicole Haldoupis’ debut, Tiny Ruins (Radiant Press, 2020). The action is largely commonplace — anecdotes of minor embarrassments that threaten to become neuroses, ambivalent infatuations, prickling familial conflicts — the sort of tales we tell only our

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USEREVIEW 006: Talking to Stones

USEREVIEW 006: Talking to Stones

Jade Wallace imagines what it would be like to interview Tanis Franco‘s poetry debut Quarry (University of Calgary Press 2019) in this experimental review. Asking questions in their own words and then borrowing and remixing lines from the book to craft ‘answers,’ Wallace literalizes what it means for a text to enter the literary conversation. ISBN 978-1-55238-981-2 | 80 pp | $17.99 CAD / USD #CAROUSELreviews Jade: Let’s begin with the human body. How would

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