Prairie Feast: A Writer’s Journey Home For Dinner
Coteau Books / 29 June 2010

Prairie Feast: A Writer’s Journey Home For Dinner by Amy Jo Ehman Published by Coteau Books Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $24.95 ISBN 978-1-55050-413-2 Amy Jo Ehman’s book is scrumptious. Part memoir, part “How To” (eat locally), part stand-up comedy, and part recipe book with glossy photos, Prairie Feast: a writer’s journey home for dinner is a literary, culinary, and, dare I say a cultural tour de force. From berry picking to fowl (or “fall”) suppers (“Choosing which [one] to attend is like choosing between movies when all the blockbusters are out”); from zucchini overload to the vagaries of small-town food festivals, this revelatory book is the very personification of Saskatchewan. Ehman grew up on a farm near Craik and her rural upbringing remains central to her heart. It also fuels her appetite for fresh prairie … well, everything. In 2005, Ehman and her husband embarked on a year of eating locally­­­ – almost everything they ate, from spices to mushrooms to the flour she baked with – had to be produced in Saskatchewan. Readers are privy not only to how the pair managed, but why it’s important to support local producers and grow one’s own food, and just how… by Mercedes Montgomery Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Joan Givner $12.95 ISBN 978-1-894431-29-3 When Angela returns from holiday on her thirteenth birthday, she finds her room transformed into an arctic setting, complete with murals of polar bears. She has “had a thing” for polar bears ever since a family holiday in Jasper National Park. Subsequent chapters explain the source of her preoccupation, and take the form of an animal fable. The polar bears of northern Manitoba have begun to have prophetic dreams of disaster. Led by a young bear called Nanuq, they convene to discuss the cause and remedy. The cause is global warming, melting ice, and the disappearance of their food source. They decide that the hope for saving their habitat lies with the children of the world, and resolve to find children and make them aware of their plight. Nanuq makes the arduous journey to Jasper, where he sees Angela. They are brought together when he rescues her from an accident on the ski-slope. From that moment on, she is converted to the cause of saving the polar bears and joins forces with others converted to activism by the traveling bears. Like most animal…

Interruptions in Glass
Coteau Books / 2 June 2010

Interruptions in Glass by Tracy Hamon Published by Coteau Books Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $16.95 ISBN 978-1-55050-426-2 If there’s a theme in the stylistically-varied poems inside Regina writer Tracy Hamon’s second book, Interruptions in Glass, it might be that most of the pieces seem to ponder the question: “How do we lead a good life?” Smart woman that she is, Hamon doesn’t offer answers, but in disparate poems that follow trails of desire, loneliness, the seasons, and literary and mythic figures, she surreptitiously asks compelling questions while spelling out what it’s like to be a complex woman in a complex world. There’s a zinger of a phrase in almost every poem. She writes that “sentences chauffeured along” (“A Phone Call from an Imaginary Friend”); of the “gradual\winch of swollen lids” (“How to Walk the Road to Nowhere”); of boats that “hip-check the dock” (“After the Storm”); and, in this highly body-aware collection, of an “autumn arm\driftwood shoulder” (“The Heart Takes a Plunge”). The titles reflect the book’s sometimes somber tone, but Hamon juxtaposes these serious, reflective pieces with great dobs of humour, as demonstrated in “Something to do on your Birthday,” in which the narrator suggests placing an ad…

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