Ottawa Citizen

Mining the complexiti­es of humanity

Books offer keen observatio­ns on life, writes

- Pat St. Germain.


Chelene Knight Book*hug Pressn

Set in the 1930s in a Vancouver Black community, Chelene Knight's novel focuses on mothers and daughters, and the convoluted nature of familial love. Soon after Junie and her alcoholic jazz-singer mom Maddie move to Hogan's Alley, Junie befriends Estelle, the daughter of club-owner Faye.

Maddie's drinking and belligeren­ce make life difficult for Junie. And while Faye showers Estelle with material goods, she is determined not to spoil the child. Bonding with one another, Junie and Estelle realize they have to take care of themselves — and their mothers.

The award-winning author of memoir Dear Current Occupant, Knight supplement­s short, dynamic chapters with a paragraph or two of first-person reminiscen­ces and asides.

Not The Apocalypse I Was Hoping For

Leslie Greentree

University of Calgary Press

Poet, actor, playwright, fine-art photograph­er — Leslie Greentree has many talents. Imbued with droll wit, the 14 full-bodied stories in this collection benefit from her experience­s as an artist and observer of human nature.

All the world's a stage for a barista who discovers she's a customer's muse on social media. A young boy fools around at a funeral and finds out that funny practical jokes can quickly seem like mean pranks.

Greentree's previous works include short-story collection A Minor Planet for You and a book of poetry, Go-go Dancing for Elvis.

The Series

Ken Dryden McClelland & Stewart

If you watched the Canada-Soviet Summit series in 1972, congratula­tions — you are officially old. It's been 50 years since two-thirds of Canadians cheered on the home team in the final game. The series made heroes of Paul Henderson, Phil Esposito and other greats, and kids everywhere knew the name of Russia's awe-inspiring goalie, Vladislav Tretiak. Team Canada goalie Ken Dryden sets the scene with a pre-game historical warm-up, rewinds the entire series and shares insider insight about the lasting impact of the games.

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