Travellers May Still Return
Thistledown Press / 21 November 2019

Travellers May Still Returnby Michael KenyonPublished by Thistledown PressReview by Juliana Rupchan$20.00 ISBN 978-1-77187-187-7 Travellers May Still Return is a collection of three fiction pieces: two novella-length stories, bridged by a third, shorter piece. Michael Kenyon is based out of Victoria, but the collection is published by Saskatoon’s Thistledown Press, known for publishing literary poetry and fiction. Kenyon’s previous work includes five books of poetry, four chapbooks, and seven books of fiction, including The Beautiful Children, which won the 2010 ReLit Award for best novel. This extensive cross-genre experience shines through in Travellers May Still Return. The stories have the tension and smoothly crafted characters of a practiced fiction writer, woven through vivid imagery and existential questions that evoke a poetic practice. South and Central America are the main settings, and a strong sense of place as well as a tension of displacement are powerful forces in the longer novellas. While the narrative is not always easy to follow, Kenyon has created striking stories with just the enough mystery to stick in a reader’s mind, like a vivid dream half-remembered. The first novella, “The Prehistory of Jesse Green”, does an excellent job of sketching the central characters, and explores desire…

Absolute Prairie
Landscape Art Publishing / 21 November 2019

Absolute Prairie: Saskatchewan Landscapes in Watercolor and Pastelby Fritz Stehwien, Compiled by B. StehwienPublished by Landscape Art PublishingReview by Michelle Shaw$19.95 ISBN 9780991964956 Absolute Prairie presents a collection of iconic Saskatchewan images that are beautifully rendered by a man who was passionate about both his art and the prairie landscape he came to call home. Born and educated in Germany, where he was traditionally trained in fresco and mural painting, Fritz Stehwien immigrated to Canada and settled in Saskatoon in 1968 where he continued to express himself as a visual artist. In the foreword to this small, beautifully captivating collection of Stehwien’s work we are told that “for a man of few words and one who never held a camera in his hands his estate of thousands of works tells an amazing complete and fully illustrated life story.” This collection comprises 39 of his works and, while some scenes are instantly recognizable, there is a helpful list of the places he captured with his art at the back of the book. Subjects range from Pike Lake in summer, sunset on Wakaw Lake, the Saskatchewan River in Fall colors, a historic view to the University of Saskatchewan, moose grazing at the…

Honest Woman, An
Thistledown Press / 21 November 2019

An Honest Woman: A Novelby JoAnn McCaigPublished by Thistledown PressReviewed by Ben Charles$20.00 ISBN 9781771871785 An Honest Woman: A Novel, written by JoAnn McCaig and published by Thistledown Press is a self-proclaimed “bookish novel” that lives up to this description with an undeniable charm. It is truly a reader and a writer’s book. The book begins with a lucid dream in which a writer mysteriously named “JM” reels at the thoughts and experiences of her romantic life. This bizarre account of life and romance also acts as a segue to introduce the character Janet Mair, who is also a writer and a mother. This portion of the novel has an interesting narrative in which fantasy and reality both play integral roles to form a complete story. Janet’s recounts of fantasy and her return to reality are signified throughout the novel by symbols that signify to the reader which part of Janet’s psyche they are currently experiencing. I must admit that when I was first introduced to this concept, I was somewhat dubious about its narrative potential. I am delighted to have been wrong and watch this narrative enigma unfold in several ways that I could have never imagined. The story…