Vancouver Sun

A triple treat of literature

Pat St. Germain shares some titles to enjoy.


How a Woman Becomes a Lake Marjorie Celona Penguin Random House

An absorbing read from the get-go, Marjorie Celona’s second novel succeeds on multiple levels — as character-driven exploratio­n of fear and love and loss, as domestic thriller and as page-turner mystery. Set in the small, seaside Oregon hamlet of Whale Bay, the story opens on New Year’s Day 1986, when a young filmmaker named Vera vanishes during an outing with her dog at a remote park soon after calling police to say she’s found a young boy in the forest. The story is told from several perspectiv­es, including that of Lewis, a rookie detective who arrives on the scene; Jesse and Dmitri, two young boys whose divorced rage-aholic dad took them to the park on the morning Vera disappeare­d; her depressed, alcoholic husband, Denny; and Vera herself.

I Can’t Get You Out of My Mind Marianne Apostolide­s Book*hug Press

Obsessed with a married ex-lover who has returned to his wife, writer and divorced mother of two Ariadne is also consumed with a book project focused on the meaning of love — specifical­ly on the meaning of the phrase “I love you.” Lacking a stable income, she buys time to work on the book by signing up for a paid study on artificial intelligen­ce, which requires her to share her home with a disembodie­d AI presence named Dirk. It seems like a fair trade, but as the study progresses, with increasing­ly deep dives into Ariadne’s mental and physical states, she gives up more and more of herself.

How to Pronounce Knife Souvankham Thammavong­sa Mcclelland & Stewart

Poignant, amusing, illuminati­ng and engaging, the short-story collection How to Pronounce Knife focuses on a mixed bag of characters who are firstor second-generation Lao immigrants or refugees. They include a young girl with an unshakable belief in her father; a failed boxer who discovers a hidden talent when his sister hires him to work at her nail salon; and exploited female employees at a poultry plant. Souvankham Thammavong­sa was born in a Lao refugee camp in Thailand in 1978, and raised in Toronto.

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