savoury sentences from several sources, part 3


“I imagined her at her closet, deciding what you’d wear to go learn something about your child that just might break your heart.”

from We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves,  by Karen Joy Fowler


“She said it with just a hint of bitterness in her voice, enough that I could taste it, like a squeeze of lemon in a glass of milk.”

— from ‘Serendipity’ in the collection Flesh & Blood,  by Michael Crummey


“She had no children and beautiful shoes in a range of colours, and each pair had its own matching bag.”

— from ‘The Green Road’,  by Anne Enright


“It surprises me that he could have seen any delight in Toby Whittaker, an exhausted-looking young man who, after shaking hands, said not a word from first to last, but whose silence emitted a faint air of disaster and gin.”

— from ‘A Serious Widow’,  by Constance Beresford-Howe


“Recently, everything around me felt familiar yet amiss, like the first time you ride in the back seat of your own car.”

— from  Let the Northern Lights Erase your Name,  by Vendela Vida


“The smoke in the dark looked like a dove that whispered the future to saints in paintings.”

— from Lullabies for Little Criminals,  by Heather O’Neill


“Home was something that you could fit into a suitcase and move in a taxi for ten dollars.”

— from Lullabies for Little Criminals,  by Heather O’Neill


“The mixture of cafe au lait and impatience was producing an exquisite vibration.”

— from Still Life,  by Louise Penny


“The problem is he married a Pole. Turns out she doesn’t know her arse from her elbow. Doesn’t even keep Keen’s mustard on hand.”

— from Are you Ready to be Lucky?,  by Rosemary Nixon


“That was the trouble with grown-ups: they always wanted to be the centre of attention, with their battering rams of food, and their sleep routines and their obsession with making you learn what they knew and forget what they had forgotten.”

— from Mother’s Milk,  by Edward St. Aubyn


“They were not merely sentences but compressed moments that burst when you read them.”

— from the essay, ‘Thank you, Esther Forbes’, by George Saunders


More sentences here 710px-Woman_reading,_1930s

and here.



this is not a review: are you ready to be lucky?, by rosemary nixon

I began reading this book with the idea that it was a collection of short stories. And so, on finishing the first one, the title of which happens to be ‘Are You Ready to Be Lucky?’ I was sad. It was such a merry romp and I liked the characters so much and now they were gone. This was wrong, I thought. Just wrong. And terribly, terribly sad.Are-You-Ready-to-Be-Lucky-Cover

Then I began reading the next story. And I recognized the people. Stella and Roslyn and stupid Duncan the English twit, a personal favourite. (Duncan Bloxham; I mean is that the perfect name?) Good lord, I thought. Good lord…. Could it be??  I flipped forward a few titles…. and, yes, Roslyn, still there! Linked stories!
Oh wot a pleasant surprise.

Trauma behind me, I read. And read and read and read.

I drank peppermint tea with fresh leaves from the garden and put my feet up on the patio table. And hours passed and then the weekend, and clouds scudded by and the tea turned to wine. And I read til I finished this absolute delight of a book.

I will tell you nothing about it because sometimes I’m like that.

I will, however, tell you this: the chances are good you’ll enjoy this merry romp.

“The girl’s husband, thirty-five years her senior, cracks his sixth beer. He too is reading the Sunday Times. But only the pages that say what he wants to hear. The girl tries to remember how this man came to be her husband. How she became the third wife of a man only months after he divorced his second. She makes a disorganized list. It had to do with expensive dinners, a second-hand clothing store in Salmon Arm, with rutting elk, Canadian immigration, telephone calls across crackling wires, tears (his), frightening dreams of attacking ostriches (hers), a domineering ex-wife in England (his first), a suet recipe (bird pudding) using Crisco instead of lard. She adds the man’s talk of foreign places… How when he stood naked he reminded her of the pet turtle she had as a child, of whom she was very fond.”
Are you Ready to be Lucky?  (Freehand Books, 2013)




two things for a holiday monday

1.   Dear Moody Long Weekend Mornings… that conspire to keep their skies grey long enough to insist that I linger in bed fluffed with pillows and layered with pages—books, newspapers—and a pot of tea. Peppermint. Sometimes even going so far as to demand I have a square of dark chocolate.

My deep gratitude.

AND 2.   Dear Literary Press Group… who sent me a box of books that fit so well in the above-mentioned fluffing and layering. And all I did was like you on FB. How lovely you are, but please know my like is sincere and goes beyond any number of books (having said that, please also know I am beyond thrilled).

As for the books, well, they are perfectly exquisite gifts. The cover of each is a joy in itself.

I’ve already dived deeply into Rosemary Nixon’s Are You Ready to Be Lucky? because how can I do otherwise with an opening that goes: “Roslyn high-steps up Bantry Street on an icy Alberta evening buffeted by late-December gusts, holding high her sixty by forty centimetre tray of pineapple-stuffed meatballs, trying not to look like a woman who, at the yearly No Commitment Book Club Christmas gift exchange, received a can of gravy and… How to Seem Like a Better Person Without Actually Improving Yourself…”

There is also The Wondrous Woo, by Carrianne K.Y. Leung, and The Fleece Era, poetry by Joanna Lilley, which I’ve only peeked at and already love—not to mention that exquisite stock, the typeset, the black flyleaf. The words, did I mention the words? “I don’t look at paintings/ but at the walls on which they hang.”

Then there’s Swarm by Lauren Carter, a mildly dystopian novel about “a world only one turn of the dial from our own”, and a matter of survival by fishing, farming and beekeeping. My sort of thing. Finally—as if this bounty isn’t enough—A History of Breathing, a play by Daniel MacDonald that, based on a quick scan, I can’t wait to properly spend time with.

All of which to say: a thousand thanks, dear Literary Press Group. A box of books is no small event in this house.