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From the archives

Pax Atlantica

NATO’s long-lasting relevance

The Melmac Years

My peculiar resin d’être

J.C. Sutcliffe

J.C. Sutcliffe is a writer and translator. Her translations of Document 1 and Mama’s Boy will be published by BookThug in 2018.

Articles by
J.C. Sutcliffe

A Catholic and a Jihadi Walk into a Storeroom...

Faith, terror, and temptation converge in satirical campus novel December 2018
Prin—Princely St. John Umbiligoda, son of Kingsley—is, much like his creator, Randy Boyagoda, a father of four daughters, the child of Sri Lankan parents, and an English professor at a Catholic college at the University of Toronto. Prin specializes in studying depictions of marine creatures in Canadian literature and makes frequent pointed references to Michael Ondaatje’s sea horse simile in The English Patient

Spirited Away

Transforming birds, fireflies, and weed cookies in Eden Robinson’s British Columbia outpost December 2017
The main character of Son of a Trickster, Eden Robinson’s third novel (and the first in a trilogy), is 16-year-old Jared, renowned weed-cookie baker and adolescent mess. But we first meet him, briefly, when he’s five, learning that his maternal grandmother has never liked him because she believes he is Wee’git’s son. When they’re alone…

Home and Away

Pasha Malla’s latest book, and what immigrants can write June 2017
In a recent essay in the Humber Literary Review, Jen Sookfong Lee writes about the lose-lose situation in which Canadian writers of colour often find themselves. On the one hand, she notes the senior editor who “just couldn’t justify taking on ‘one more Asian woman writing about her dead grandfather’ … when the number of Asian women publishing fiction in Canada could be counted on one hand.” But…

A Village Reinvented

An experimental Quebec novel looks at how the past is packaged October 2015
Some two dozen fiction titles from Quebec and francophone Canada are published in English annually. Such translations are most likely to be issued by small presses such as BookThug, Coach House, Talonbooks and Véhicule, as well as the somewhat larger House of Anansi. Their small press origins can result in a skew toward the experimental—not a bad…

In the Nobel Archives, with Crackpots

Harry Karlinsky's playful second novel teases the reader September 2014
Harry Karlinsky likes a good mystery. In his first book, The Evolution of Inanimate Objects: The Life and Collected Works of Thomas Darwin (1857–1879), he wrote about the youngest son of Charles, who was unknown to history until Karlinsky, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, discovered both his existence and the reason for his being hidden: severe mental delusions that caused him to apply his father’s theory of evolution to…

An Everyday Extraordinary

Capturing the way people behave in unusual situations January–February 2013
Sometimes short stories can seem like a box of Raisin Bran: the raisins are the oversweetened little quirks that moderately competent writers insert to disguise the dull cardboard flavour of their work: characters defined by a wacky tic, or a fantastical situation that is not explored and exploited, not integral to the tale, but merely used to put a checkmark beside “be inventive.” Too many authors write as though plot plus personality is greater than story plus…