FISH CHANGE DIRECTION IN COLD WEATHER by Pierre Szalowski

Okay, what is wrong with me?  A SECOND book translated from the original Quebecois. I vow to read book jackets more carefully.17120581  This novel weaves the stories of Montreal neighbours who need to help one another endure the famous ice storm of 1998.  Only this was bad. Very,very,bad. The book.  Not the storm.  Well, no, the storm was bad, but this?  It reads like a harlequin reject.  First we have the stripper who houses the Russian mathematician.  Then the gay couple who take in the racist and his son, only to completely rehabilitate the man using  two psych sessions and a bottle of Scotch whiskey.  And finally we have the child who asks the sky for help when his parents decided to end their marriage just hours before the storm.  I know I have to suspend disbelief for fiction but this was asking a little too much of me.  I cringed visibly about 3 times. For that reason alone I cannot recommend this novel but I will say this; I really, really liked the cover.

2007 HarperCollins  246 pages.


APOCALYPSE FOR BEGINNERS by Nicolas Dickner

Well.  Um. Wow.  I expected so much more from a previous winner of CBC’s Canada Reads.  This is the story of a famapocalypseily whose members, for generations, predict an apocalypse date, are incorrect and s143482137323574ubsequently commit suicide.   But this time, when Mama Randall’s chosen date comes and goes, she moves West with her daughter to buy time.  Teen Hope Randall meets Mickey Bauermann and hijinks ensue.  Never have I become so tired of repeated references; ramen noodles in pink and yellow packaging, in particular.  I started out liking this book, hit the middle and found myself begging for the end to come – apocalyptically or otherwise.  It was noted on the back cover that this was a book translated from the original Quebecois.  Perhaps it was merely “lost in translation”  but for me but this one is a non, non go.

2010  Random House  254 Pages


THE ROSIE PROJECT by Graeme Simsion

downloadThe old saying goes that the joy is in the journey.  Or that anticipation is half the fun.  Well I truly had time to anticipate this as I was 543rd on the wait list for this book.   I kept hearing about it and seeing posters plastered on the subway.   I was thrilled when it finally arrived.   It is a story about  a Rainman-esque genetics professor using logic to attempt to find a wife.  Along the way he helps an acquaintance, Rosie,  search for her real father.  I get that the Prof with the Asperger’s symptoms has a tough time interacting with ‘regular folk’, but by the middle of the story Simsion has this guy speaking like Spock (RIP) –  “ Love Does Not Compute. Can’t Understand Such Human Emotion”.   Okay, okay I did like two parts of this book – the beginning and the end.  No really, the end was kind of worth the slog.  Not on my top 10 list for the year, but everyone else loves it, so perhaps it is a case of ‘what do I know about these things’?

324 pages  HarperCollins


WORST. PERSON. EVER. by Douglas Coupland

This worst-person143482137323574was written in 2013.   I hesitated to read this because of the reviews.  They weren’t bad but rather just different.  I was afraid of falling out of love with one of my favourite writers.  Well fear not, Dougie.  You are still on my Valentine’s list. I. Loved. This. Book.  While I would never, ever recommend this to the faint of heart or my mother’s book club due to, well, language, content and overall unappealing mental visuals, it was a subway book in spades. Raymond Gunt truly is the worst person ever.  Self-serving to a fault.  The protagonist’s ex-wife offers him a job as a B-unit cameraman working on a survival-style show in the south Pacific.  After he finds the assistant he wishes to take along, hijinx ensue.   Billy Elliot will never be the same.

I give this book 3.6 red plastic things out of 4.

317 pages – Random House Canada

 


Not QUITE the Classics by Colin Mochrie

15792001Ah, Mr. Colin Mochrie.  A funny man. A funny Canadian man.   Now it seems our beloved Canuck comic has yet another job – author.  This is his first effort and we are all the richer for it.  He writes using the first sentence of a classic story as a launching point to spin his own version of events.  It matters not if you are familiar with the original work. A Tale of Two Critters.  Franken’s Time.  The Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Fourth.  You get the idea.  He has a distinctive, poetic way with words –   and you laugh.  A lot.

I loved this book.    Dear Mr. Mochrie, while I appreciate your stage comedy I must insist you get back to writing between gigs.  Please sir, I want some more !

Eh Plus, sir.  I give this book 7.5 wacky fables out of 10.

231  pages – Penguin Books