#CanLit in Mississauga | Coming Soon

Heads up Mississauga #CanLit lovers: some exciting news coming your way this winter/spring!


Image courtesy of the event website

In conversation with Charles Pachter and Margaret Atwood

Tuesday, March 29, 6 pm, Noel Ryan Auditorium, Mississauga Central Library

Tickets: FREE, book on Eventbrite

First up, Margaret Atwood (yes, the Margaret Atwood!) hits the stage at the Mississauga Central Library on March 29th. I am a huge fan of Margaret Atwood’s work, so you can bet I booked my tickets immediately and will be staking out a claim on a front row seat.

Atwood and Pachter will be in conversation about their book The Journals of Susanna Moodie (first published in 1970 and reprinted in 1997). The book features poems by Atwood, taking on Moodie’s voice, about life in rural Canada in the early 19th century, and Pachter’s illustrations of these poems.

The event is organized in line with Mississauga Museums’ exhibition The Journals of Susanna Moodie, featuring prints on loan from the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, and can be viewed at the Bradley Museum until April 17, 2016.


13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad

Publication date February 23, 2016, YA Fiction

Mississauga will also be getting its time in the #CanLit sun in Mona Awad’s upcoming novel 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl. The story is set in Mississauga (or as the book’s protagonist Lizzie calls it, “Misery Saga”), and features an teenage girl’s struggle with her weight and body image. The author will be visiting Montreal and Toronto (check out the full list of publisher’s events for this book), so heads up if you’re interested.

The book sounds hilarious, and I definitely have it on my TBR pile, so keep an eye out for a review forthcoming on this blog.


Image from Facebook

The Pitiful Human Lizard Issue # 7 by Jason Loo

Publication Date April 20, 2016, Pre-order at your local comic book shop

I’ve long been a fan of Jason Loo’s Pitiful Human Lizard comic book series about a self-deprecating Toronto superhero whose adventures are hilariously endearing.

In issue 7, coming this spring, our hero is stranded in the suburbs of Mississauga, with only his costume and not enough cash for bus fare back to the city. Will he get back home in time for work the next day? Will he discover the seedy underbelly of Square One’s parking lot? And above all, will he team up with iconic former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion? We’ll have to wait until April to find out!

Review | The Strange Library, Haruki Murakami

01artsbeat-murakami-articleInline“The library was even more hushed than usual.” So begins this beautiful, haunting tale. It’s a masterful opening line — atmospheric, evocative, and for this reader, pregnant with promise. What wonders lie within a library “more hushed than usual”?

In The Strange Library, these wonders are dark indeed. A boy visits the library for an assignment and encounters a “little old man” who imprisons him in the basement and forces him to read. “Because brains  packed with knowledge are yummy, that’s why,” explains the old man’s reluctant assistant, a sheep man. “They’re nice and creamy. And sort of grainy at the same time.”

The story then follows the boy’s attempt to escape, aided by the sheepman and a mysterious, voiceless girl. The question of whether or not he succeeds feels almost inconsequential. The entire narrative feels like a fevered dream — the best of Murakami distilled into a child’s fairy tale.

The Strange Library is, in a word, beautiful. I’ve long been a fan of Chip Kidd (I even bought Murakami’s 1Q84 in hardcover for Kidd’s delicate tissue layered cover), and Kidd’s work in this volume is beyond words. The mere experience of opening the book feels like opening a present. And the illustrations throughout enhance the dreamscape Murakami has created, without giving anything away.

Murakami’s language as well deserves praise, as does Ted Goossen’s translation. The cadence is hypnotic, almost seductive, lulling the reader into a space where sheep men exist and the state of the moon determines one’s fate. It’s a quick read, but I hesitate to call it an easy one. I don’t think I quite understood what I read, and I mean that in the best possible way. There’s so much more to this story than the actual narrative, and Kidd’s mysterious illustrations as well hint at a universe beyond the page.

The young boy in the story sets out to research taxes in the Ottoman Empire, and ends up the star of a supernatural adventure. So too will the reader of this text set out to read a short, illustrated fable, and realize that so much of the story still lies in the white space. I will definitely have to re-read this one.


Thank you to Random House Canada for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Theatre | I Send You This Cadmium Red by Art of Time Ensemble

Love art, theatre and music? Heads up on the return of I Send You This Cadmium Red by Art of Time Ensemble at the Enwave Theatre from April 9 to 12, 2014. Originally created in collaboration with Canadian Stage in 2011, the production was praised by critics of both music and theatre. Brian Johnson of Maclean’s Magazine described it as “a film, a painting, an essay, a concert — and yes, a play — all at once. Therefore none of the above. It’s something else entirely. And it’s extraordinary.”

Actor as Character

Julian Richings as John Berger. Photo by John Lauener.

When I first heard what the production is about, it set my geeky heart aflutter. In 1997, painter/filmmaker John Christie asked poet/art critic and Booker Prize-winning novelist John Berger (Ways of Seeing) about ideas for their next project. Berger replied, “Just send a colour.” Christie then sent a painted square of cadmium red, and thus began a discussion about the nature of colour through an exchange of letters. Three years later, their correspondence was made into a book, which was then adapted into a BBC radio play in 2002 with original music created by Gavin Bryars (The Sinking of the Titanic).

Art of Time Ensemble’s production brings this correspondence to life, led by the direction of Daniel Brooks (House, Possible Worlds) and musical direction of Art of Time Artistic Director Andrew Burashko. Berger (Julian Richings) and Christie (John Fitzgerald Jay) meditate on colours, evoking metaphors in art, music and other remarkable connections. Bruce Alcock’s set and imagery creates a world of colour through an animated backdrop that enhances the exchange of thoughts on stage. Music, lighting and animation fuse with text to create a theatrical experience for all of the senses.

John Fitzgerald Jay as John Christie. Photo by John Lauener.

John Fitzgerald Jay as John Christie. Photo by John Lauener.

I love the concept behind this production. The correspondence between Berger and Christie is itself fascinating — I remember watching Red at Canadian Stage a few years ago, and being utterly captivated by the exploration of Rothko’s use of colour, and in this case, overwhelming experiences of colour, to create a moment. Personally, I’d love to see that production again; I was completely caught up in the emotion and, despite not having an art background myself, I was inspired by the idea of how an artist’s work with a particular colour can resonate so much with the viewer. I loved Red‘s glimpse into Rothko’s work, and I’m excited to see Berger and Christie’s exploration of colour in Cadmium Red.

Even more exciting for me is that in this show, Art of Time takes it beyond straightforward storytelling — the production also expresses Berger and Christie’s correspondence through classical music, adding yet another layer of interpretation that will likely enrich the experience. I remember hearing of this when it was first produced, and not having gotten around to watching it then. I’m definitely not missing out this year, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

I Send You This Cadmium Red runs 60 minutes without an intermission, and is on stage from April 9 to 12, 2014 at the Enwave Theatre (231 Queens Quay West). Tickets are from $25 to $59 are available online at harbourfrontcentre.com, by phone at 416.973.4000 or in-person at the box office.

For more information on Art of Time Ensemble, see ArtofTimeEnsemble.com and follow them on Facebook and Twitter at @ArtofTime.