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From the archives

Pax Atlantica

NATO’s long-lasting relevance

The Melmac Years

My peculiar resin d’être

David Staines

David Staines is the author of, most recently, A History of Canadian Fiction. He teaches English literature at the University of Ottawa.

Articles by
David Staines

Sharp Insights

A debut collection from Shashi Bhat May 2024
In the spring of 2013, Cormorant Books published The Family Took Shape, Shashi Bhat’s first novel. Indebted to Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women, from 1971, it chronicles Mira Acharya’s life in the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill, from her sixth birthday to her marriage, as she confronts the hopes and traumas of being part of an immigrant…

Her Mountie and Her Keyboard

In Alberta with Marina Endicott November 2023
Medway, Alberta, is a small fictional town and the setting of Marina Endicott’s The Observer. Julia Carey is the narrator; her partner, Hardy Willis, has accepted a position in the local Royal Canadian Mounted Police division. “Medway meant nothing to either of us,” Julia explains, “but we looked it up on my big Rand McNally as we zoomed…

Along the Underground Railroad

An astonishing debut by Kai Thomas June 2023
In his author’s note to his debut novel, Kai Thomas describes his “relationship to the Indigenous peoples of the lands I called home” and how his thinking about that connection has evolved over time: “I knew and had seen many stories that were concerned with the relationships between black and white people, and similarly, between Indigenous and white…

Depth of Field

Rawi Hage turns to the short story July | August 2022
For Rawi Hage, the transition from novelist to short story writer has seemed effortless. Born in Lebanon, he published his first book, De Niro’s Game, in 2006; it won the International Dublin Literary Award for its devastating depiction of battle-scarred Beirut in the early 1980s and the malaise, despondency, and despair of those caught in the…

The Strength of Many

The latest by Katherena Vermette December 2021
The Métis writer Katherena Vermette’s first poetry collection, North End Love Songs, was a stark and sensitive meditation on Winnipeg’s darkest, toughest, and most violent neighbourhood. “To me,” Vermette reflected in a CBC interview, “the North End is family, it’s elm trees and old houses, it’s people getting by and sometimes not getting by a…


A timely novel by Thomas King July | August 2021
Published in 2012, Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian spent four years on the bestseller lists and went on to win the RBC Taylor Prize. Among its many topics, the book examined the horrors of residential schools, which “became compulsory for all children from the ages of six to fifteen” in 1850. “There was no opting out,” King…

Significant Others

An impressive collection by Jack Wang April 2021
After growing up in Vancouver, Jack Wang studied in Ontario, Arizona, and Florida before taking up a creative writing position at Ithaca College, in New York. The author of several children’s books, Wang now adds to his bibliography an impressive first book for adults, We Two Alone, with stories that capture significant moments for the sprawling Chinese…

Portraits of Tragedy

A remarkable debut collection November 2020
From Susanna Moodie and Charles G. D. Roberts, Pauline Johnson and Lucy Maud Montgomery, to Margaret Atwood and George Bowering, Joy Kogawa and Michael Ondaatje — and along with such writers as Michael Crummey and Katherena Vermette — there has been a strong and unique feature of Canadian ­literature: authors working in poetry and in…

Trying Situations

A new collection from David Bergen July | August 2020
Raised in Niverville, in a devoutly Mennonite household, the son of a Mennonite pastor, David Bergen still calls Manitoba home. In his fiction, he raises fundamental questions about religious belief and prevailing doubt in the modern world. Honoured and celebrated with many awards, he is one of Canada’s foremost writers. Bergen published his first novel, A Year of Lesser