Longlisted for the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, Brother is a short but tight story contains so much emotion and is very intense. It explores masculinity, family, race, and identity as they are played out in a Scarborough housing complex.
Personally, I really connected with the immigrant experience and problems surrounding this community. I love the fact that this book didn’t shy away from sadness. Grieving is a complicated process and ongoing, whether it’s for death, lost love, lost life, or lost memories. Sometimes it will take collected effort to keep the healing going. In addition, I can better understand the disadvantage in the black community after this book, for that’s what happened to Micheal and Francis. Brother is an important and relevant story today.
I read The Sun and Her Flowers (Rupi Kaur) after this book, and I feel that some of the passages in Kaur’s poems really echo with themes in Brother. These connections between the two books are kind of unexpected and serendipitous.
Brother has an ending that satisfied me; without giving anything away, I just want to say that the very last word charged me with power and energy. It’s not the kind of ending where everyone lived happily ever after, but it offers comfort, support, and it acknowledged that it is ok to have scares in your heart. In the end, what really matters is to express, to reach out, and to heal together.
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Have I mentioned my love of Kyo Maclear before? Yes? Well I’m going to say it again anyway.
As I was speeding through our collection of Maclear’s picture books – out of sheer enthusiasm rather than a desire to be done with all of them – hoping there would be no end in sight, I realized (as I noted previously) that I needn’t have limited my search to picture books at all: Maclear writes for adults too!* Better yet, we have them in our collection!
To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, considering picture books are a whole ‘nother beast as compared to adult novels, but I think Maclear has convinced me to continue reading her other novels.
Despite the constant jumping between past and present in Stray Love, Maclear does a wonderful job making it all come together as a coherent story: the reader is not left for a moment disconnected or at a loss as to where exactly in time we are in the story, whether it be with Marcel’s telling of his history with Oliver or the present day with Iris. While Marcel & Oliver are not, in my opinion, discernibly British, and I’m a bit confused as to why they were made to be British because it doesn’t play that large a part in the plot in the sense that they could well have been North American without much detriment to the novel as a whole, the entire novel works. For the time being, I’ve put The Letter Opener on hold and eagerly await its arrival.
I just saw the very first ballet of my entire life* this weekend, and I am so incredibly excited about the rest of the performances in the National Ballet of Canada’s 2016/2017 season! Cinderella kicked off the season, and while I was sitting quite high up in the fifth ring and couldn’t see in as much detail as I would have liked – especially the costumes! – it was quite an exciting night nonetheless. I had no idea what to expect, apart from popular (read: stereotypical) notions of what ballet performances might consist of (stiff tutus? classic ethereal elegance?) and was very pleasantly surprised: various elements of the story were reinterpreted and the stepsisters fared very well as comic relief, there were zero stiff tutus in sight, in addition to which the transformation scene was quite well done, the forest coming to life in the process of conjuring & presenting to Cinderella the transformative garbs. Part of me does wish they went through the entire change onstage – as it was, a scarf/wrap took the place of the dress, changing up her plain dress for that scene only, and she arrived at the ball in a completely different dress – but I suspect it would have been rather difficult to orchestrate. Continue reading