Jes Battis is the author of a series of novels featuring protagonist Tess Corday, an occult special investigator who lives and works in Vancouver. His first book, Night Child, was shortlisted for the 2008 Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. In addition to his creative work, Battis is an Associate Professor who teaches in the English Literature and Creative Writing programs at the University of Regina. In the academic world, Battis has authored and edited a number of monographs and collections, including most recently Mastering the Game of Thrones: Essays on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice (McFarland, 2015), which he co-edited with U of R professor Susan Johnston.
Originally from British Columbia, Battis has found inspiration in his adopted home on the prairies. Under the pen name Bailey Cunningham, Battis authored the 2013 fantasy novel Pile of Bones: A Novel of the Parallel Parks, which is set in Regina.
Some of you may not be aware that Regina was once called “Pile of Bones.” The City of Regina’s website explains the background of this name and its connection to traditional aboriginal foodways prior to the agricultural settlement of the prairies and the near-elimination of the bison: Continue reading →
“Every book is about cancer or dieting,” the narrator of Life is About Losing Everything observes while perusing a bookshop (180). Crosbie’s text fits into the latter camp, featuring a protagonist whose aging body has fattened and fails her—despite her many forays into dieting à la Jenny Craig. Part memoir, part fiction, part poetry, part prose, Life is About Losing Everything is written as a series of vignettes that document a painful seven-year period in the life of a middle-aged woman with a fraught relationship with food, alcohol and drugs, and sex—with nourishment of all kinds. What is told is a non-continuous, fluid spectrum of feeling, of physical touch, and a body hungry for it.
Crosbie, Lynn. Life Is about Losing Everything. Toronto: Anansi, 2012. Print.
Written by: Valerie Silva
Valerie Silva is currently in her final year of the Master’s program at McGill University, where she studies contemporary Canadian literature. Her current research focuses on affect, objects, and the body in contemporary Canadian life writing.
“The Painted Door” by Sinclair Ross is a short story that focuses on the stressful lives of farmers during the 1930s when the Great Depression was at its peak. Living in isolation, John and his wife Ann have trouble communicating with one another, eventually leading to Ann cheating on her husband with their neighbour, Steven. Tension and miscommunication are apparent as Ann desperately tries to explain to her husband why she needs him to stay with her rather than leave to check on his father during the blizzard. However, John is so preoccupied that he does not really understand Ann’s desperation. “Plenty to eat… what more could a woman ask for?” (Ross 112). Tragically, by the story’s end, he will come to understand what more a woman might want and need.
Although food is not a major topic in this short story, it still plays a role in demonstrating the isolation and misery of farmers and their wives during the Great Depression. Ann’s main concern is her feeling of isolation, even during mealtime, the only time of the day that she and John sit together: “When he sat down to a meal he hurried his food and pushed his chair away again, from habit, from sheer work-instinct…” (118). Food is a necessity. Farmers work so hard to produce it, they risk sustaining their wives physically but not emotionally.
Ross, Sinclair. “The Painted Door.” The Lamp at Noon and Other Stories. 1968. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Ltd., 2010. 111-135. Print.
Written By: Sara Hassoun
Sara Hassoun is majoring in English at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Following the completion of her B.A., Hassoun plans to become a teacher and looks forward to teaching students to be critical thinkers and seeing the applications of literature in their daily lives.
It’s 1881. What happens when Cordelia, a Jewish woman, marries the wealthiest man in the West Country of England? At the same time, typhoid is raging throughout Devon and the epidemic appears to be radiating from the Devil’s Stone, an ancient country eatery in the village of Shebbear and home to Cordelia Tilley and her mismatched family.