metro mama

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Last Woman by John Bemrose

I’ve finished John Bemrose’s The Last Woman and now I have another book to complain about not being on the Giller longlist. This was my first time reading Bemrose, and now I’m dying to read The Island Walkers.

The Last Woman is set in the eighties, in Northern Ontario cottage country, bordering on a native reservation. Ann and Richard are couple who, married more than a decade, have settled into a comfortable domesticity with their young son. Ann is a painter who wrestles with her work while Richard, a lawyer, plots to launch a career in politics. Their copacetic existence starts to unravel with the reappearance of Billy, the former band leader who has been absent since he and Richard lost an arduous legal battle to claim the land of Billy’s ancestors ten years earlier. But long before that, Billy was Ann’s first love, and his re-entry into their lives opens wounds that had never healed, but festered with the passage of time. I won’t give any more away.

With brilliant characterization, searing depiction of landscape, and multi-layered themes of colonization--of an individual, of a group, of the earth--The Last Woman is a rich, textured, enormously satisfying read.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

'Tis the Season to be Reading

I’m so behind with my book reviews. It’s been wonderful having hours to read each day, but with no time to write I’m hopelessly behind. The other problem is that there are many great books from my house coming out now, but I read them months ago on an e-reader (and of course I didn’t write down my thoughts at the time). So in lieu of the individual posts they deserve, here’s some quick thoughts on my favourites for fall:

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
If you loved Oryx and Crake, you’ll love this even more. And I love how Atwood's dove into social media! Check out her website for the book here and follow her on Twitter here (she's tweeting her tour). I just managed to snag a ticket to the T.O. event tomorrow night. Recap to come!

Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro
How many times do I have to tell you to read Alice Munro? Too Much Happiness is Alice in top form (my favourite collection is still Runaway though). If you still haven't read Alice Munro, get thee to your local independent bookstore!

Great Expectations by Dede Crane and Lisa Moore
This is a wonderful collection of original essays about childbirth from twenty-four celebrated writers including (to name just a few) Lynn Coady, Lisa Moore and Joseph Boyden. It’s great reading (and a perfect gift for a new mother). You can listen to excerpts here.

8 X 10 by Michael Turner. This is an inventive, challenging book. As you may have guessed from the title, the author borrows from the visual arts to portray today’s global society. This is one I will read again.

Generation A by Douglas Coupland
A bookend to Generation X, it doesn’t disappoint. I’d also comp it to Girlfriend in a Coma. Plus, this is my favourite cover of the season. Check out a fun video with Coupland here.

Undiscovered Gyrl by Allison Burnett
Heart-rending, original coming-of-age tale chronicled in a blog. This one really stuck with me.

The Wife’s Tale by Lori Lansens
If you haven’t read Lori Lansens yet, go get Rush Home Road, or The Girls. Then read this too.

Waiting for Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk
This novel is wonderfully imaginative; a surprise treat for me. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him, but I hear the author is lovely. You can find him on Twitter here.

And what are you reading this fall. Has anyone read anything on the Giller longlist? I have the Baile and Mootoo on hold at the library. It’s an interesting list, no? Why isn't Lisa Moore on the list?


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Blink and It's Gone

I still don’t have time to write much of anything here. Sherwood is sleeping fabulously at night, for which I am deeply, deeply grateful. The only downside is that his only naps during the day are when I’m walking him in his stroller, or when he dozes on my chest. I can read for hours while he nurses, but I’m not talented enough to type well with one hand. Right now he’s dozing on McHotty’s chest, so I’ll steal a few minutes here.

I’m not going to complain that I don’t have time to do anything. Because I know Sherwood is my last baby I am so very, very conscious of not wishing this time away. You know, already I can barely remember Cakes’ babyhood. I didn’t make the conscious effort to treasure it as I know now that I should, and I want to do better this time. These days are indescribably precious, yet so fleeting: the warmth of him nuzzled into my neck for a snooze; the trusting, vulnerable stare as he nurses; the heart-exploding first smiles and coos. It brings me to tears to think that in five years I won’t be able to remember this exactly as it was. The best I can do is relax, try to fix the sensations in my mind, and attempt to record them permanently this time, even if it’s only hasty sketches here and lots and lots of photos.

Speaking of photos, doesn’t this one make you smile?


Friday, September 11, 2009

My Little Scholar

Wow. There are about a million things to say about this, but I have about five minutes before Sherwood wakes up, and I don't want to make Cakes late for her second day of school. But that smile tells the whole story. And really, I'm smiling too.


Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Dudes. Three things have happened this week that make life a whooole lot better:

First, I mastered the art of breastfeeding lying down. He’s not a reliable napper, so now at least we can have an afternoon rest. And I have a foolproof way to get him down at night (and can doze during that final marathon feeding).

Second, he's slept through the night a few times! I’m afraid to talk about this one too much. Don’t hate me.

Third, he finally took a bottle! I was starting to try to resign myself to having him permanently attached to my boob for six months. After several days of trying, I put the bottle away for a week. Then, feeling lucky, I tried again and by god, he did it! What an enormous relief. The first thing I did was make plans to meet a friend for drinks on a patio. Then I made a hair appointment. Freedom! Am I conveying how fucking happy I am he’s taking a bottle?

Speaking of happy, this makes me happy:


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