Given
Thistledown Press / 7 February 2013

Given by Susan Musgrave Published by Thistledown Press Review by Hannah Muhajarine $19.95 ISBN 978-1-927068-02-1 Susan Musgrave has created a story that is both beautiful and heart-wrenching. Given continues where Cargo of Orchids, Musgrave’s previous novel, left off, but it is as welcoming to new readers as it is to old. Indeed, those who discover Given will no doubt be pleased to find that in Cargo, they can learn the full story of the narrator’s intriguing past. The narrator, who remains unnamed, escapes from prison at the beginning of the novel and travels back to her home on an island in B.C. In this small community there are many protestors, a Christian vegetable salesman, a ‘Church of the Holy Brew’, and a café that serves a ‘Philosophical Chicken special’. There is humour, but the majority of it is dark, suitable for the novel’s themes of poverty, addiction, and grief. The narrator is haunted, literally, by the ghosts of her two friends from Death Row. Although they are dead, Frenchy and Rainy are incredibly vibrant. They speak in a witty and inventive slang, speaking disturbing truth using many original turns of phrase. The journey is very much an inner, emotional one,…

Different Drummer Volume 2
Agonal Industries / 7 February 2013

Different Drummer Vol. 2 by Danny Kresnyak Published by Agonal Industries Review by Jessica Bickford $20.00 978-1-55383-336-9 Danny Kresnyak’s book is part photo-essay, part human-rights journalism, part road story, and entirely engaging. Different Drummer Vol. 2 is a visually striking odyssey through what is essentially a year in the life of one intrepid man with a camera and the drive to find the untold stories of the lost, the repressed, or the just plain peculiar people of the world. It starts, where else, with an eventful road trip to the U.S. Beard Championships in Pennsylvania. A run in with customs, more than a little alcohol and some fabulously bewhiskered gentlemen create an unforgettable tale that sets the theme of information gathering through risk taking that permeates this adventure in print. Quickly moving through Paris, some Regina history in the form of a farewell to Vassil Zaharik (the 11th Ave. archivist), it is then on to Ghana in West Africa where our venturesome journalist’s stories are focused for the rest of the book. Stories of struggle, betrayal, exploitation, and personal ruin abound, but interspersed throughout these harsh realities are stories of hope and not only the unwavering will to survive, but…