If you’ve had enough of all the media blitz about Covid, then maybe you should put this book aside for a while before reading it. The story is based on a bestseller about a global virus outbreak and the effect it has on the characters in the story who, in some way, are all connected. There doesn’t seem to be an actual ‘protagonist’ since the POV switches to and fro from the slew of characters. Yet the writing, as well as the characters, are well crafted. We see a lot of dysfunctional relationships, and with that come the frequent passages of self-doubt and self-reproach. The decisions taken by the characters, directly or indirectly, affect the lives of others.
To isolate oneself from society is the bestseller’s best advice to escape the virus. But is that a sure way to protect oneself from the infection? Just as burying our past will not erase any wrong decisions we’ve taken.
DiRaddo depicts the Montreal gay community in a realistic light. There are no stereotypes in this novel. His characters are well-rounded and totally likeable. Told in first person past tense, Paul, the POV character’s voice is strong and authentic. The story tackles the different phrases of a relationship––love, trust, jealousy, exclusivity, as well the importance of giving your partner freedom to explore his potential. The need to form a family unit of their own is paramount, The characters have chosen a different path to the one they had with their traditional families, yet there is still a deep-set need for parental approval. Paul bakes a strawberry pie every year on his deceased mother’s birthday. Michael keeps the childhood ornaments around him that gave him solace as a child. Although they hold on to the old memories and traditions that gave them comfort, a non-traditional lifestyle involves forming new rules and traditions which reflect their own experiences. No manual exists to guide them. A most thought-provoking read.
for reading and reviewing my book. Please check out his lovely, upbeat and warmly entertaining blog for book and movie reviews.
The Eurovision Song Contest, as befits a singing competition marking it 65th anniversary this year, is a great many things – gloriously and deliciously over the top, a great promotional vehicle for aspiring singers or those looking to revive their career, as camp as Christmas and a brilliant way to sew the seeds of togetherness and inclusivity.
But could it also be a hotbed of murderous passions and vengeful intrigue?
In Over My Dead Body: Murder at Eurovision (A Bebe Bollinger mystery) by Christoph Fischer, it is all that and more as mysterious shadowy figures, impelled by grudges unknowable, seek to mar the contest with all manner of…
Not only is the book, made to appear as if you’re reading into a tree, beautiful, but so is the story. Well-crafted, thought-provoking, and and at times touching and profound. Willow tells her adult son, “You don’t belong to me, I belong to you.” How true to life! Our parents’ spirit stays with us even after they leave us, making us smile, cry, look into ourselves, and shape the journey of our life. Highly recommended read.
Creating an About file is always a struggle for me. There’s nothing extraordinary about my life. I am grateful to be born in Canada where devastating hurricanes, flooding, and earthquakes aren’t commonplace, and where a visit to the hospital doesn’t involve working till the age of 95 to pay off the cost. I’m immensely grateful to have a roof to protect me from the elements, and enough food and water to keep me relatively healthy. Ordinary is a need for me––I don’t crave fame, fortune, great adventures, and neon lights.
Writing is sharing an emotional and spiritual connection between writer and reader. I have written many poems and stories through the years but a lot of them haven’t survived my weeding process. If the content of a piece is limited to a me experience, it won’t survive very long. If it connects beyond the ego, it has a better chance at survival. The poems and stories that appear in this blog aren’t written in cement. Some will disappear when I don’t feel that flutter when I reread them.
I’m from a small village in southern Quebec. I retired from teaching primary school to make time for my writing.
My novella for children, Culloo, was published by Pemmican Publications in 2014, and Baraka Books published my literary historical novel, The Daughters’ Story. My latest novel, Illusion of Wings, is currently being assessed.
Besides writing and reading, I try to find time to practice Yoga, to bake, and to create soaps, salves and tinctures concocted from the medicinal plants in my gardens.
Another milestone on my writing journey. I just completed the eight draft of my latest novel, Illusion of Wings—actually it must be my ninth since I kept on going back to change things while I was writing out my query letters. I had to finally put my pen down and tell myself it was enough… no more editing. We’ll see. Is a novel ever really finished? In any case, I have time to tinker around with the manuscript. The publishers take forever, if at all, to respond. It takes six to eight months or more for them to get back to you. I had one contact me after almost five years—luckily it was to offer me a contract. That’s why I send out simultaneous query letters with the mention that I will advise them immediately of any changes in the status of my submission. But these publishers are flooded with new submissions every week. They need to take the time to properly access each manuscript––not an easy task with few employees and limited budgets. Illusion of Wings, is a working title. What I consider to be a suitable title might appear strange to a potential publisher. I have yet to imagine what the cover would look like––that’s certainly not my specialty. But I do have time to think about it now that I’ve started sending out submissions. I’ll be posting my main characters’ backstory soon and hope to get any comment you can spare. Here is a short blurb:
Ailis, a 17 year-old indentured servant, is desperate to get her freedom. But escaping her master in Louisiana of the 1750s could get her whipped, branded and placed in stocks. Her plans are put on hold when her master sells her to a Montreal merchant to pay off a debt. She sails from New Orleans on a large frigate disguised as a cabin boy where she’s able to use her skills as a healer to treat the sailors. Once In Montreal, she continues to use her medicines to help people while serving her demanding mistress. Her plans of escaping to freedom are rekindled when she befriends, Reine, a black slave who harbours the same dream as her. Not long after, she meets up with Phil, a sailor she met on the ship, and starts making plans to leave the fortified city. She discovers that both her master and her mistress are hiding a secret which, if exposed, can lead to their downfall. Is she willing to go against what she believes in to negotiate her freedom? When one of the servants under her care dies, she’s accused of murder and imprisoned. She must find a way to avoid the gallows—but at what price?
This is a heart-breaking story, both in terms of Afghanistan’s history and the people who were made to suffer because of religious dogma and political strife. The two protagonists, Marian and Laila, are forced to marry the same sadistic, woman beater, Rasheed, and live a life of terror and hardship. The domestic violence and cruelty depicted at the hands of this abusive husband were so brutal, I had to take a breather at times before continuing my reading. Luckily, not all the men in the story were painted with the same brush.
Afghanistan’s political scene is presented starting from the years of the Soviet takeover of the 1980s to the period following the bombing of the Twin Towers and the Taliban invasion. It seemed a little surreal for me to read about Afghan people watching the same horrifying footage of the plane crashing into one of the towers as I also had back then.
The terrible hardships suffered by the people of this war-ravished country, especially the women, are gut-wrenching. But overall, it’s a poignant story where love and hope triumph over evil. I left a part of my heart with these people and admire their great courage.
Intriguing, educational, and certainly nothing our history books in school ever focused on. Loved the main character, Eoin, whose hesitancies and fears brought real history to the forefront. A great blend of Irish-Canadian history and fiction which should have its rightful place in the classroom.