The Fall Issue of Atlantic Books Today is Here

Our latest issue explores the power of story, the responsibility of the teller and the essence of literary mystery

Stories are many things and certainly powerful. Fundamentally, they are representations of reality, even when they aren’t true. As Corey Redekop points out (“Whodunnit and Does it Even Matter Anyway?” page 20), even purely speculative depictions of worlds very different from our own offer realistic insight into the human condition. Orwell’s classic 1984 is a representation of totalitarianism, a too-common reality. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness represents the way we see gender, how that view shapes our values and politics.

Murder mysteries, Redekop’s main focus (particularly new novels from Linden MacIntyre, Wayne Johnston and Karen Smythe), represent humanity’s darkest impulses. Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment is one of literature’s most famous representations of the criminal’s psychology, regardless of the accuracy of the depiction. We love the telling.

As representatives of reality, authors bear serious responsibility. If I write the story of an Indonesian man (which I have), my intent is to tell a good story of a fascinating individual. But in publishing that story I do much more. If you’ve read nothing else of Indonesian men, my (fictional) character (invented inside my white-man brain) may become the entirety of your knowledge of Indonesian men.

As shown by the fallout over (now-resigned) Write editor Hal Niedzviecki’s editorial opining, “anyone, anywhere, should be encouraged to imagine other peoples, other cultures, other identities,” the step from imagination to representation carries immense risk. No one wants to be misrepresented and in this country many have for far too long.

Shannon Webb-Campbell, one of the many fine Indigenous writes featured in the same issue of Write, explores (“Story is Power,” page 26, considering new books from Jan Wong, George Elliott Clarke, Sandra L Dodge and Georgina Francis, and Carol Off) the many questions story’s power should spark among writers and readers, but rarely has in settler Canada. If story represents and shapes our reality, that unquestioning tendency needs to change.

New books covered in this issue include:

150 Canada’s History in Poems by Judy Gaudet
25 Years of 22 Minutes by Angela Mombourquette
36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You by Vicki Grant
All We Leave Behind by Carol Off
And All the Stars Shall Fall by Hugh MacDonald
Apron Strings by Jan Wong
BDQ: Essays and Interviews on Quebec Comics by Andy Brown
Busted: An Illustrated History of Drug Prohibition in Canada by Susan Boyd
Case of the Missing Men by Kris Bertin
Chief Lightning Bolt by Daniel Paul
Chocolate Cherry Chai by Taslim Burkowicz
Cod Only Knows by HiIlary MacLeod
Crying for the Moon by Mary Walsh
East Coast Crafted by Whitney Moran
Eat Delicious by Dennis Prescott
Everything We’ve Loved Comes Back to Find Us by Allan Cooper
First Snow, Last Light by Wayne Johnston
Firsts in Flight: Alexander Graham Bell and his Innovative Airplanes by Terrence W MacDonald
From Seed to Centrepiece by Amanda Brown
Haunted Ground: Ghost Stories from the Rock by Dale Jarvis
Homecoming: The Road Less Travelled by Wayne Curtis
How Ya Gettin’ On by Snook
I Met An Elk in Edson Once by Dave Kelly
Identify by Lesley Choyce
Last Lullaby by Alice Walsh
Late Style by Barry Dempster
Linger, Still by Aislinn Hunter
Malagash by Joey Comeau
Marlene Creates by Susan Gibson Garvey and Andrea Kunard
Maud Lewis 1 2 3 by Shanda LaRamee-Jones and Carol McDougall
Meet Me At Avonlea by Michel Bourque
Merchant of Venice (Retried) by George Elliott Clarke
Minegoo Mniku by Sandra Dodge/Georgina Francis
Newfoundlander in Canada by Alan Doyle
Noble Goals, Dedicated Doctors by Jock Murray
Nova Scotia at Night by Len Wagg
Nova Scotia Cookery Then and Now by Valerie Mansour
Oil’s Deep State by Kevin Taft
Policing Black Lives by Robyn Maynard
Puffin Patrol by Dawn Baker
Rock Paper Sex by Kerri Cull
Runaway Wives and Rogue Feminists by Margo Goodhand
Sketch by Sketch by Emma FitzGerald
Terra Magna: Labrador by JC Roy
The Collected Poems of Alden Nowlan by Brian Bartlett
The Effective Citizen by Graham Steele
The End of Music by Jamie Fitzpatrick
The Fox and the Fisherman by Marianne Dumas
The Mill by Joan Baxter
The More by Ronna Bloom
The Only Café by Linden MacIntyre
The Painting by Charis Cotter
The Teen Sex Trade by Jade Brooks
This Side of Sad by Karen Smythe
Under Her Skin by Steve Law
Walking Bathroom by Shauntay Grant
Where Evil Dwells the NS Anthology of Horror by Vernon Oickle
Worst and Best Newfoundland and Labrador Premiers and Some We Never Had by Bill Rowe

If you want to purchase an annual print subscription for $16, get in touch with us. And watch for it in your local newspapers, bookstore, library and coffee shop, starting September 9.

Written By

Chris Benjamin is the managing editor of Atlantic Books Today. He is also the author of three award-winning, critically-acclaimed books: Indian School Road: Legacies of the Shubenacadie Residential School; Eco-Innovators: Sustainability in Atlantic Canada and Drive-by Saviours; as well as several short stories in anthologies and journals.

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