Sunday, May 26, 2019

Book Review: Milkman by Anna Burns

Milkman by Anna Burns is set in Ireland during the 1970s, during the time of the troubles. "Everyone" is afraid and "everyone" is paranoid. For the eighteen-year-old narrator, this environment is full of tension. To help her cope, she engages in a lot of introspection and, for the reader, this equates to long dark tunnel chapters. 

Buy this book

I found Milkman at Tanner's Books

Published by Gray Wolf Press
Published by Faber & Faber Ltd
Published in 2018
Winner of the 2018 Man Booker Prize

A rule breaker, Burns doesn't name any of her primary characters but a few of her minor characters are named. And the 'Milkman' has nothing to do with milk--not in the liquid sense of the word. Without naming characters, you may wonder how Burns welcomes the reader into the book. The narrator's voice is so strong that I had no choice but to keep reading.

This is Anna Burns' fourth published book. And all I can say is, "More please!"

photo by ldyck

June on this blog...

June 2:  Emphasizing the 'ability' in disability (list)

Have you watched a good movie, lately? Here's a list of three must-sees.

June 9: Fox 8 by George Saunders (book review)

George Saunders' novel Lincoln in the Bardo won the Man Booker Prize in 2017.  Fox 8 is a short novel that packs a powerful punch.

June 16 and 23:  How a Writer Sleeps (short story)

Weird? You like weird. Well, then you'll enjoy this short story.

June 30:  Ellen Schwartz's writing workshop (review)

I'm looking forward to attending Ellen Schwartz's writing workshop on June 14. In this post, I'll publish a brief review.

Sharing my author journey...

During the year,  I work on my writing but allow room for other distractions. But in summer I retreat to my writer's cave. 

What will I focus on this year?

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Annie (short story) by Leanne Dyck

What would you do to make a dream reality? 

This short story was inspired by The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani.

photo by ldyck


Maybe some people look at my life and think I'm pathetic. But I'm not. Not really. I mean I've got a nice apartment. It's childproof--no sharp edges, everything nice and clean. The children who come are my sister's. A rangy bunch. Mine will never behave like them. I've studied child development. That's what I do. I work in a daycare. I love babies. That's what I want more than anything else in the world--a baby. Some of the mothers... Well, they're too young, aren't they? They don't have my experience, my education. Holding this one little girl, Annie... Rocking her to sleep... She's a dream is my Annie. Her mother doesn't treat her right. Yells at her. Whacks her for sticking things in her mouth. But that's what she's supposed to do. Babies explore with all their senses. That's how they learn. Everything in the daycare is clean. We keep it like that. She whacked Annie and I wanted to shake her.

I wanted to scream, "She's a baby. Be gentle."

Annie deserves better. Then I got to thinking--I'm better. 

With one paycheque I bought a stroller. With another a crib. I told my nosey sister they're for when her kids stay over. Like really? Never. They're all for Annie. Annie's mom won't even miss her. She doesn't want her, not like I do. I'll be doing them a favour, really.

But how will I get Annie out of the daycare and home here with me? That'll be the challenge.

Much thanks to my beta reader for helping me with this very short story.

Next post

Sunday, May 26 at approximately 5 PM PST

Book review:  Milkman by Anna Burns

Set in Ireland during the time of the troubles.
Won the 2018 Man Booker prize

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Book Review: Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill

Buy this book

Published in Canada by Anchor Canada,
a division of Random House of Canada Limited,
a Penguin Random House Company
Published in 2017
winner of the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize

Bookstore owner, Jean Mason is happily married and the mother of two boys--Nick and Reid. One day a regular customer comes into her store and tells her that he just saw her twin or doppelganger or clone or... What exactly is Ingrid Fox? Who exactly is Jean Mason? The answers are just beyond Jean's grasp. Does that make her an unreliable narrator? Technically yes. But she isn't trying to deceive. She is sharing her truth. 

And, in fact, I found this book an intriguing blend of literary fiction and mystery. 

Chapter-by-chapter, the reader grows to realize that Jean Mason has... Well, there's something wrong with her brain.

Polite society has trouble talking about (and accepting) people who have brain problems. We (the disabled) are just supposed to grow out of, get over or seek treatment for it. 

I commend Michael Redhill for writing this important book.
'And more people should recognize that if you can treat it with medicine, it must be like every other disease and no one should be ashamed to have it and others shouldn't be afraid of it.' (p. 171)


CBC books' interview with Michael Redhill 

Why should you attend Ellen Schwartz's writing workshop on Mayne Island?

I'll share the top four reasons this coming Wednesday

Next Sunday evening on this blog...

photo by ldyck

This short story was inspired by the novel 
The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani

What would you do to make a dream reality?

Sharing my author journey...

I love to write... I love to read... I love short stories
If you do too you'll love this list...
Short List Announced for the 2018 Danuta Gleed Literary Award

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Baby Rescuer (short story) by Leanne Dyck

Do you judge a person before you get to know them? 
Haven't we all--at one time or another? 
Do you dive in to help before you understand the problem?
We're all human.

photo by ldyck

Baby Rescuer

When I was a teenager I made mistakes. I didn't study for a test. I stayed out too late. I kissed a boy I shouldn't have kissed. But nothing I did lead to an unwanted--or wanted--pregnancy. That's what I thought when I saw that job ad. 

"I'll get that job," I told myself and visualized wearing tights and a cape. Super Early Childhood Educator to the rescue.

I did get that job and I got an education. I meet a group of young women that were doing the best they could. They loved their babies that was plain to see. They wanted the best for their children--isn't that what every parent wants, or should.

In brief, that's what I told the mom who cornered me, who wanted to know--straight up--what I thought.

I said, "I thought I needed to rescue your babies, but I don't. Your babies are loved--and that's the most important thing."

And she said, "Some of my friends who aren't in this program, who don't go to school, they're like you thought. Their babies need to be rescued. But we, we're not like that. We're the cream."

Much thanks to my beta (first) reader who helped me with this short story.

Next Sunday evening's post

Book review:  Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill
won the Scotiabank Giller in 2017

Who are you? How do you know for sure?