Books shelved under “Postcolonial”

38 reviews found

  1. Book cover for IMPACT

    IMPACT: Colonialism in Canada

    by Warren Cariou

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I picked this up several years ago and am finally diving into it. It’s not what I expected—I was looking for something with essays, including personal essays, but this includes a lot more poems and other, shorter and more artistic pieces. IMPACT: Colonialism in Canada is an anthology that makes quite a statement. If it’s what you’re looking for, it’s going to satisfy. In my case, it wasn’t quite what I wanted, but don’t interpret…

  2. Book cover for Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time

    Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time

    by Hope Nicholson

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    First, huge shout-out to the Oxford comma lurking in this title. Yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.

    Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time is an anthology of queer Indigenous science fiction and fantasy by Indigenous authors. That’s it, and yet it is so much more. I really liked Hope Nicholson’s comment in her foreword about how some stories aren’t meant to be told, or at least, do not need to be shared with just…

  3. Book cover for Binti

    Binti: The Complete Trilogy

    by Nnedi Okorafor

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Ever since the first Binti novella came out, I’ve been hearing all about it. I jumped at this collection when I saw it at the bookstore, then, because I find it difficult to grab hold of novellas otherwise. I don’t care if Tor.com pushes them on me for free sometimes: I need it in my hands or on my device or else I just … read other things. And I’m glad I read Binti and…

  4. Book cover for The Poisonwood Bible

    The Poisonwood Bible

    by Barbara Kingsolver

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Shoutout to one of our secretaries at work, Deb, who lent this to me. I do so enjoy reading books that are among other people’s favourites. Even when I don’t enjoy them as much, or when I dislike them outright, it’s nice to try things recommended by friends. Fortunately, I did enjoy The Poisonwood Bible. Barbara Kingsolver’s thoughtful story of a missionary family in Belgian Congo on the cusp of its independence combines an…

  5. Book cover for In Search of A Better World

    In Search of A Better World: A Human Rights Odyssey

    by Payam Akhavan

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    While I was not a fan of the last collection of Massey Lectures that I read, the brilliant thing about this series is that every year is very different. Each year brings a new speaker, a new topic, and an entirely new way of approaching the topic and the format. (I am very excited for this year’s lectures delivered by Tanya Talaga, author of Seven Fallen Feathers). Last year’s lectures by Payam Akhavan work…

  6. Book cover for Half of a Yellow Sun

    Half of a Yellow Sun

    by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s writings have, in various forms, influenced my life for a few years now. I often show her TED Talk “The Danger of a Single Story” in my English class, particularly as we embark on studying stereotypes. Yet this is the first time I’ve read a novel by her—and it was a treat. Half of a Yellow Sun brought me back to my youthful summer reading of other postcolonial fiction, particularly that set…

  7. Book cover for Shadowshaper

    Shadowshaper

    by Daniel José Older

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Would watch the movie, like, yesterday. You get on that, movie-producing people.

    Shadowshaper is one of those books I loved from page one, and it only got better. Daniel José Older’s command of character, culture, and language results in a breathtaking contemporary urban fantasy. This book reminds me a lot of Charles de Lint’s work. The protagonist is thrust into a world she doesn’t quite understand, one built on myths and legends only half-shared or…

  8. Book cover for A House Without Windows

    A House Without Windows

    by Nadia Hashimi

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    There are so many things I take for granted because I grew up in Canada. Clean, running water (though that isn’t always guaranteed here, given the deplorable conditions on many First Nations reserves). Safety from imminent threats, like militants and terrorists. Justice, hot and cold running justice, served up to me on a fine platter of rights and due process. Oh, plus I have the bonus of being a man, and therefore getting treated like…

  9. Book cover for Welcome to Lagos

    Welcome to Lagos

    by Chibundu Onuzo

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I want to start with the author bio at the end of this book: “Chibundu Onuzo was born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1991.” When I read this, I did a doubletake, because that makes Onuzo only 25 years old and 2 years younger than me. I had just assumed she was much older, because her voice sounds so much older, so much richer in terms of experience and worldliness. I am in awe, and in…

  10. Book cover for Steeplejack

    Steeplejack

    by A.J. Hartley

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Oh my god give me more of these books right damn now.

    I don’t normally do this, but can we just stop for a moment and look at this utterly gorgeous cover by Mike Heath? I was going to read Steeplejack from the description alone, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t the cover that caught my eye while I was browsing the New Books shelf. Everything about this cover is amazing. The…

  11. Book cover for Amistad

    Amistad

    by Alexs D. Pate

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Sentences you thought you’d never read: Amistad (the movie) reminds me of Tropic Thunder.

    This seems like as good a time as any other to read Amistad, the novelization of the 1997 Spielberg film now played in high school history classes the world over (including in my Grade 12 history class). With only fuzzy memories of the film, I decided the $2 for this book at the library-affiliated used bookstore was a bargain.…

  12. Book cover for Nation

    Nation

    by Terry Pratchett

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    For a while I did not like this book. In fact, I was downright worried: was I really going to pan a Terry Pratchett book? Inconceivable! So I let out a sharp breath of relief when everything suddenly clicked and fell into place. Nation is a fun yet sensitive tale, full of Pratchett’s signature wit. I mean, how can you not enjoy exchanges like this?

    “The thing about the trousermen is, they are very brave

  13. Book cover for Gould's Book of Fish

    Gould's Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish

    by Richard Flanagan

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Britain had some whack ideas. Remember that time they colonized an entire continent with convicts? That was whack.

    Gould’s Book of Fish is the epistolary adventure of William Gould, a convict imprisoned on Sarah Island. Somewhere along the way he picked up enough painting skills to become an artist, and he starts painting fish for the island’s science-and-status–obsessed Surgeon instead of working on the chain gang.

    I enjoy books (The Luminaries comes to mind)…

  14. Book cover for Indian Horse

    Indian Horse

    by Richard Wagamese

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    So earlier this month, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, announced that the residential schools program was a program of “cultural genocide” against indigenous peoples. If you’re looking for some background and a good beginner discussion to this, check out the Canadaland Commons podcast episode on residential schools. Desmond Cole and Andray Domise break it down with the help of two expert guests. Unfortunately, despite the release of this report and so much other…

  15. Book cover for Red Mars

    Red Mars

    by Kim Stanley Robinson

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Time to dig into some solar-system colonial fiction with Red Mars, the first in Kim Stanley Robinson’s trilogy about settling and terraforming our nearest planetary neighbour. First published over twenty years ago, the book holds up well despite the scientific advances two decades’ worth of rovers and satellites have provided. Robinson combines his ecologically-aware vision of the Earth’s future difficulties with a semi-realistic vision for planetary colonization. Throw in an ensemble cast of believable…

  16. Book cover for The Ever After of Ashwin Rao

    The Ever After of Ashwin Rao

    by Padma Viswanathan

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I read, and greatly enjoyed, The Toss of a Lemon years ago. Now Padma Viswanathan is back, this time with a Giller Prize nomination, again with a book connected to India, but now one firmly grounded in Canada’s history and conflicted mixture of cultural obligations as well. The Ever After of Ashwin Rao is every bit as complex and emotionally sensitive as one might expect from a literary award nominee. While it didn’t quite…

  17. Book cover for Six-Gun Snow White

    Six-Gun Snow White

    by Catherynne M. Valente

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    My ePub copy of this from the Hugo Voters Packet had really messed up formatting, but I perservered anyway, because this story is awesome. Six-Gun Snow White is the classic Snow White fairytale reinterpreted through the lens of the Old American West. Snow White is the ironically-named child of a silver mine owner and a Crow woman, Gun That Sings, who married him against her will so that he would leave her people alone. Gun…

  18. Book cover for The Best of Subterranean

    The Best of Subterranean

    by William Schafer

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I actually read this back when Subterranean Press first published it online. I almost didn’t re-read it when I found it in the Hugo Voters Packet … but then I decided that I wanted to write a review of it, and I wanted to refresh my memory. I’m glad I did this, because “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling” is even better than I remember. (I am aware of the irony of this…

  19. Book cover for Things Fall Apart

    Things Fall Apart

    by Chinua Achebe

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This is not an easy story for me to love, and maybe even like is not the appropriate word. I can appreciate it, as literature. That being said, unlike much of the so-called “great” or “classic” literature I have read to date, I do not feel immeasurably enriched by Things Fall Apart. Although at times moving and disturbing, Chinua Achebe’s account of how Europeans stripped Nigeria of its cultural and tribal identity lacks a…

  20. Book cover for Tigerman

    Tigerman

    by Nick Harkaway

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I had no idea what to expect from Tigerman. All I knew is that Nick Harkaway has a new book out, and so I wanted to read it. At first it seemed like this was a pleasant, slightly uneven postcolonial story of an old soldier bonding with a boy on a doomed island. Gradually, I came to understand that there is much more happening beneath the surface. Tigerman lacks a lot of the flamboyant…

  21. Book cover for Collected Stories

    Collected Stories

    by W. Somerset Maugham

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This is a hefty and imposing volume, heavy yet also compact in dimensions and in print. Thirty-one stories make up the Collected Stories of W. Somerset Maugham, as selected for this immaculate Everyman’s Library edition that I scored for free from my school library. After a particularly work-heavy weekend I needed something I could sink into, something that could envelop me with lush descriptions of far-off lands and times gone by. This short story anthology…

  22. Book cover for The Luminaries

    The Luminaries

    by Eleanor Catton

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I tend to forget that books can be works of art. This might seem like a strange statement, considering how seriously I seem to take reading. Don’t let my relentless criticism fool you, though: by and large, I read for pleasure. The act of thinking about and analysing the books I read just happens to form an integral part of that process. Yet, for all that analysis, the artistic nature of the work often eludes…

  23. Book cover for The General in his Labyrinth

    The General in his Labyrinth

    by Gabriel García Márquez

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I always feel a twinge of pity when someone tells me, “I don’t read for pleasure any more” or “I only read non-fiction.” Most of the pity is sympathy for the fact that, in today’s busy world, we just don’t have the time. Whenever someone expresses awe at the number of books I read in a year and asks me how I do it, I say, truthfully, that I make the time to read, just…

  24. Book cover for The Lowland

    The Lowland

    by Jhumpa Lahiri

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I saved this book for a weekend. I knew this was not something I wanted to read in bits and pieces of time snatched, sneaked, and cobbled together during the commute to and from work or the hour before bed. My previous experiences with Jhumpa Lahiri’s sumptuous prose meant I would need a certain type of stillness in order to appreciate this book. I needed the luxury to linger over each page and absorb the…

  25. Book cover for Wanting

    Wanting

    by Richard Flanagan

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    We all want things. Sometimes the things we think we want are not the things we really want. Usually, the wanting is better than having. These are all familiar feelings that Richard Flanagan plays with in the aptly-named Wanting. His exploration of these ideas is deft and interesting, but the book lacks an overall unity to make it truly memorable or amazing.

    I’m perplexed by Wanting’s structure, which is split between the early…

  26. Book cover for Chicks Unravel Time

    Chicks Unravel Time: Women Journey Through Every Season of Doctor Who

    by Deborah Stanish

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I came to Doctor Who solely through the revived series. Christopher Eccleston was my first doctor, and it’s true that I’ll never forget him. I was gutted to learn that he was leaving after only the first season and convinced that this new fellow, “David Tennant” (if that’s even his real name) could never live up to the Ninth Doctor’s brusque charisma. The rest is history, of course—the Tenth Doctor stole my heart, along with…

  27. Book cover for Black Mamba Boy

    Black Mamba Boy

    by Nadifa Mohamed

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I'm so thankful that I can read. I'm thankful that I happened to be born and grow up in circumstances that allowed me the luxury of literacy and the free time required to exercise and hone my reading skills. Books are a tool for education, a refuge and a means of escape, and a powerful drug that entertains and empowers. I can only imagine what people who grow up in circumstances more abject than mine…

  28. Book cover for Cloud Atlas

    Cloud Atlas

    by David Mitchell

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Cloud Atlas is not as difficult to read as some of its reviews led me to expect. I suspect they did this because it is difficult to review (and I’m even going to be employing spoilers, though few and far between, those who have only a minor aversion to them will be happy to know). I’m going to ramble for a bit about my reactions to the book versus the movie and ruminate on the…

  29. Book cover for Homage to Catalonia

    Homage to Catalonia

    by George Orwell

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    It’s not very often that I commend a blurb. I prefer to mock them, especially for their brevity or generic flavour—fantasy and science fiction are particularly guilty of this. For Homage to Catalonia I can make an exception: my edition has a blurb on the back cover from Antony Beevor, who calls this “an unrivalled picture of the rumours, suspicions and treachery of civil war.” This describes the book perfectly.

    A couple of burdens of…

  30. Book cover for Wide Sargasso Sea

    Wide Sargasso Sea

    by Jean Rhys

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    As I mentioned in my recent review of Jane Eyre, I have the pleasure of teaching an AS Level English Literature course (with a grand total of two students). For the prose study section, we are studying Jane Eyre paired with Wide Sargasso Sea, a combination selected by the teacher with whom I share the course. I had read Jane Eyre a long time ago and was happy to revisit it. I had…

  31. Book cover for Family Matters

    Family Matters

    by Rohinton Mistry

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Reading Family Matters after reading A Fine Balance is a little anticlimactic. A Fine Balance comes very close to my idea of a perfect novel, so I doubted that Rohinton Mistry would be able to deliver something of similar calibre a second time. There is just something about A Fine Balance that smashes that wall between reader and text, breaking down the barrier until the fiction becomes as close to truth as fiction can. It…

  32. Book cover for A Fine Balance

    A Fine Balance

    by Rohinton Mistry

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This is probably the most depressing book I have ever read in my entire life. Not only is its chronicling of four lives bleak and without the slightest hint of hope or redemption, but it does this with a comprehensive scope and an unforgiving manner. Even re-reading it, knowing what was going to happen, did not mitigate my sadness. If anything, it amplified my emotions, because for all of the good things that happen in…

  33. Book cover for Liberation

    Liberation

    by Brian Francis Slattery

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    When confronted by the uncertain future, we look to our past. We look to it for answers, for enlightenment, for inspiration. Mostly we look to it because we have nowhere else to look. This is natural, but it's also dangerous, for we have a tendency to romanticize the past: everything was better before we had electricity, urbanization, automation; life was simpler, slower, satisfying. Sometimes we get caught up in that idyllic illusion of a pastoral…

  34. Book cover for The Namesake

    The Namesake

    by Jhumpa Lahiri

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I found Jhumpa Lahiri through her anthology Unaccustomed Earth, which was my #1 book of 2008. Almost a year and a half later, I return to Lahiri, this time in novel form. The Namesake has rough edges not visible in Lahiri's later efforts, but the same magic that so impressed me in her short stories is there even in this earlier novel.

    This is a story that captivates because it becomes so personal.…

  35. Book cover for The In-Between World of Vikram Lall

    The In-Between World of Vikram Lall

    by M.G. Vassanji

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This is my first book of the year, and it took me quite some time to get into it.

    Few things annoy me more than when an author decides to ignore such a useful stylistic conventions as using quotation marks to offset dialogue! I like quotation marks. It makes the book easier to parse and gives me a clear idea of who is saying what. I discarded Blindness for similar reasons. Had I not been…

  36. Book cover for Midnight's Children

    Midnight's Children

    by Salman Rushdie

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    It's easy to review something you hate. Indeed, reviewing a bad book is enjoyable, because you feel free to tear it apart and vilify it as much as possible--your harshness is excused, justified by the poor quality of the book itself. Reviewing a good book is more difficult; you have to struggle to find something interesting to say or to come up with criticism. It is nearly impossible to review a great book with any…

  37. Book cover for The Toss of a Lemon

    The Toss of a Lemon

    by Padma Viswanathan

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This is not a book for everyone, in the sense that you must be receptive in order to read it, or else you'll want to put it down after the first 100 pages (if that). It's a slow story, rich in details and dwelling on significant moments in the lives of its many characters. There's very little action and a lot of deliberation. It takes dedication and patience to see it through until the end.…

  38. Book cover for Unaccustomed Earth

    Unaccustomed Earth

    by Jhumpa Lahiri

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I went into this book not knowing what to expect, and I loved it. Jhumpa Lahiri creates timeless families that straddle the cultural divide between America and India. She captures the conflict of growing up as one tries to balance one's parent's wishes with the influence of one's heritage and the culture of one's surroundings.

    Of the first part of the book, I loved "Unaccustomed Earth", "Hell-Heaven", and "Only Goodness." The other two stories were…