Thomas King is a Canadian (who happens to Indigenous) treasure. Much like Mark Twain before him, it is the wry observations, and insight into human nature make him irresistibly readable for this reader.
Book excerpt: “I’m sweaty and sticky. My ears are still popping from the descent into Vaclav Havel. My sinuses ache. My stomach is upset. My mouth is a sewer. I roll over and bury my face in a pillow. Mimi snuggles down beside me with no regard for my distress.
‘My god,’ she whispers, ‘can it get any better?’”
(source: Harper Collins) By turns witty, sly and poignant, this is the unforgettable tale of one couple’s holiday trip to Europe, where their wanderings through its famous capitals reveal a complicated history, both personal and political.
“The Institute of Confound and Demoralize is something that Mimi has made up to deal with the contradictions that seem to arise with alarming frequency.
Coffee is bad for you. Coffee is good for you.
Red wine helps blood health. Red wine reduces your ability to fight infection.
Exercise is essential for general fitness. Exercise contributes to inflammation of the joints.
The Erratics is a memoir by Canadian-born Australian translator and author, Vicki Laveau-Harvie. It is the winner of the Finch Memoir Prize for 2018. In 2007, Vicki Laveau-Harvie and her sister, in response to the news that their mother has broken a hip, arrive in Okotoks, in Alberta’s prairie lands. (source: Goodreads)
A tale told with agile humour, this book was a standout. Set In Alberta (“in winter the cold will kill you, nothing personal”) Although there is a humourous element, it does not threaten to take over the narrative. It is, in fact, a relatable story of a very dysfunctional family. Highly recommended.
Here are some passages from the book:
“My sister’s partner leaves the room at some point and strides down the wide hallway to inspect the elevator my mother takes to the lobby every morning to buy her newspapers and flowers. My sister’s partner is a handy person and wishes to inspect the elevator doors to see if there’s any way to rig them to open onto a void when my mother pushes the button.”
“I don’t clean. My disinclination for this activity I call by various names: sloth, depression, boredom. It’s not that I dislike clean. I like it when it is done, but I don’t want to do it. I don’t want anybody else to do it for me either. I make exceptions. I clean the toilet, I wash my clothes, but organized housecleaning is as foreign to me as saying a rosary.”
“Just in case we’re having too much fun with this, let’s go back a notch in time. Only a little while, don’t be afraid, not far enough to get caught in the starry wheeling vertigo of the slow-mo free-fall no-up-and-no-down that is the more distant past. We will go there—chronology has its uses—but not just yet.”
A staple of cartoonists, the Stone Age provides us with plenty of material. It is our wonderful choppers that separate us from the pack. As well, possibly our prefrontal lobes, that give us the ability to ruminate about our existence, purpose, and other palaver – no other being looks upon dogs with envy. 😄
Canada is a huge fan of Coronation Street, as we have been since the 1990’s, and my mother since the 60’s. It has been a wonderful escape from the trials of daily life, especially now. It is amazing that they have even continued airing episodes during the pandemic!