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Breaking Down the Charm of Philip Sassoon

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A review of Charmed Life, the Phenomenal World of Philip Sassoon (HarperCollins, 2016) by Damian Collins In 1913, political satirist Max Beerbohm depicted a slender, aquiline figure posed cross-legged and lotus-like on the front bench of the British Houses of Parliament. Alongside him are two plump and bellowing Conservative MPs. The caricature was called “Philip Sassoon in Strange Company” and...

1000 Poems Per Night: TRB Live, January

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Happy New Year! 2017 begins with a packed list of Toronto readings and events. Rowers Reading Series gets things moving on January 10 with a night of poetry and prose by Joan Crate, Adebe DeRango-Adem, Jacob McArthur Mooney, and Hoa Nguyen (6:30pm, Supermarket, 268 Augusta Avenue). Circle January 11 on your calendar for back-to-back readings. At 6:30pm at Glad Day Bookshop (499 Church St...

Reading in Electronic Times: Andrew Piper’s “Book Was There” Was Here

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People who write about the future of reading often like to disavow shallow binaries, like print versus digital, for example. Yet it is the searing awareness of that very binary, that paper books are very different from screens, that gets people into the predicament of writing books about the meaning and value of books in the first place. Awkward contortions often ensue. In his lovely and personal...

TRB’s Seasonal Affective Party: December 6 at Poetry

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The Toronto Review of Books invites you to its first Seasonal Affective Party! Please join us on December 6th for a very bright night of winterish commiseration and cheer, featuring five-minute readings of new and unpublished work by some of our city’s most talented writers, including Kerry Clare, Andrew Pyper, Trevor Corkum, and Catherine Graham. TRB Managing Editor and novelist Damian...

TRB Live: November

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TRB Live is a monthly roundup of literary events you might enjoy. Get in touch with me (@kathmcleod) or the TRB (@TorontoReview) on Twitter if you’d like to suggest an event to include next month. In Toronto, Pivot Reading Series presents three readings all-star casts of readers: Leesa Dean, Stevie Howell, Rob Taylor, and Erin Wunker on November 2; Jan Conn, Hoa Nguyen, Madeleine Thien and Zoe...

To the Lighthouse: A review of Christy Ann Conlin’s new novel, The Memento

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Christy Ann Conlin, the author of Heave, has published her second novel, and the result is nothing short of dazzling. The Memento is as much a gothic, often mordantly funny meditation on the persistence of memory as a living, perhaps undead thing, as it is the story of Fancy Mosher, a twelve-year old Bay of Fundy girl who may have inherited her grandfather’s gift—the power to see and commune with...

Death is Not the End: A Review of Patience by Daniel Clowes

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Few artists have done more to elevate the status of comics in the public imagination than Daniel Clowes, and Patience, as befits a graphic novel billed as “a cosmic timewarp deathtrip to the primordial infinite of everlasting love,” is his longest and most ambitious work yet. It opens in 2012, as underemployed schlub Jack Barlow finds his pregnant wife Patience dead in their apartment, brutally...

TRB Live: October

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With TRB Live I’m going to be posting monthly roundups of literary events you might enjoy. Get in touch with me (@kathmcleod) or the TRB (@TorontoReview) on Twitter if you’d like to suggest an event to include next month. Toronto The Coach House Books Fall Launch ushers in autumn with the launch of six new books: Lisa Robertson’s 3 Summers, Jordan Scott’s Night & Ox...

Evan Munday on Toronto’s Word on the Street, 2016

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The Word On The Street festival happens at the Harbourfront, Sunday September 25th 2016, 11am-6pm I sat down with Evan Munday, Interim Director of Toronto’s premiere day-long free lakeside literary event, for a chat about what to look out for at this year’s Word on the Street Festival, its place in Toronto literary culture, and the life of an Interim Director. Don’t miss the festival itself...

Bina Shah’s A Season for Martyrs

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The funeral congregated in Liaquat National Bagh park. Angry clerics denounced the government for allowing the execution to proceed, and an ambulance strewn with flowers carried Mumtaz Qadri’s body slowly through the crowds. When Qadri was executed for the murder of Punjab governor and Benazir Bhutto loyalist Salman Taseer on February 29th, Pakistan’s sharp ideological divisions and complexities...

Tonight: Sarah Barmak’s Closer Launches with an Adult Colouring Party

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Tonight Coach House Books launches Toronto author Sarah Barmak’s Closer: Notes From The Orgasmic Frontier Of Female Sexuality, the latest in its Exploded Views series. Coach House is promising “light refreshments, adult colouring pages – and we mean adult – and other titillating surprises.” Details: Wednesday, July 6, 2016 Studio Bar 824 Dundas St. W 7pm. More about Closer: We...

The Talk of the Canadian Writers’ Summit

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Last week at the Canadian Writers’ Summit in Toronto many people who work with words walked around blearily, carrying canvas bags, seeing old friends, wilting in the heat. Things are tough for us writers, publishers, and editors. There is great gloom, there is despair! Gentle reader: there is also hope. The Canadian Writers’ Summit is a superconference intended to bring together people who would...