Nobody Cries at Bingo
Thistledown Press / 29 February 2012

In Nobody Cries at Bingo Dawn Dumont shows us the ups and down of life on a Saskatchewan reserve. I came to this book not knowing much about life on the Rez, hoping to learn. But after reading Dumont’s stories about a prairie girl who loves to read, I realized that I’d come to understand more about our similarities than our differences.

Bone Coulee
Coteau Books / 29 February 2012

Bone Coulee: a Novel by Larry Warwaruk Published by Coteau Books Review by Leeann Minogue $19.95 ISBN-13: 9781550504590 The plot of Larry Warwaruk’s Bone Coulee centers on a heinous crime committed more than sixty years ago. Mac Chorniak, a retired farmer with a passion for Ukrainian poetry, is still haunted by the senseless crime he and his friends committed against a young First Nations athlete when they were teenagers. There was no punishment at the time, but Chorniak can’t forget the senseless violence. He doesn’t know that the First Nations woman who’s moved into the house next door was part of the same incident, and has a score to settle. Throughout the novel, history grates on the present as characters try to decide what should be celebrated and what should be forgotten. The small-town residents stage a celebration to commemorate an old-time wagon trail, but also witness the destruction of the town’s last standing grain elevator. Landowners near Bone Coulee hunt for native arrowheads and display them in their basements, but have few personal relationships with real-life First Nations people. A young First Nations woman whose mother was sent to residential school learns her people’s traditions at university. As well…

Carnival Glass
Thistledown Press / 17 December 2008

Carnival Glass by Bonnie Dunlop Published by Thistledown Press Review by Leeann Minogue $16.95 ISBN: 978-1-897235-46-1 There are eleven perfectly crafted stories in Carnival Glass, Bonnie Dunlop’s second short story collection. Carnival Glass is the title of one of the strongest stories in this book, but also an apt description of several of the characters that live within its pages: colourful, lovely, but ultimately fragile. These are tales of letters not sent, truths not told, and hurts that are hidden inside. Like carnival glass, Dunlop’s stories are beautiful, and worth collecting. Almost all of these eleven stories are set in Saskatchewan, many of them in small towns near the Great Sand Hills in the southwestern part of the province, and some in unnamed prairie cities. Some of them, like “The Road to Tofino”, take prairie characters to unfamiliar places like Victoria or Puerto Vallarta. The heroine of ‘Ordinary Lives’, Joanie, is a fledgling writer who corresponds with an unlikely pen pal. His advice is directed specifically to writers from unique places like Saskatchewan. “…The problem for writers coming from such places is not so much in finding stories – they are plentiful – but being able to write these stories…