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Prairie Writers

A selection of recent books by writers from the Canadian Prairies.

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The Retreat

- by Sherri Smith

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Sherri Smith illuminates the dark side of the self-care and wellness industry in a thrilling ride of revenge perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty's Nine Perfect Strangers. The Retreat is a twisting, bone-chilling suspense that asks: how well do you really know your friends?

Four women.
Four secrets.
A weekend that will change them forever...if they survive.

Katie Manning was a beloved child star until her mid-teens when her manager attacked and permanently scarred her face, effectively ending her career and sending her on a path of all-too-familiar post-Hollywood self-destruction.

Now twenty-seven, Katie wants a better answer to those clickbait "Where Are They Now?" articles that float around online. An answer she hopes to find when her brother's too-good-to-be-true fiancée invites her to a wellness retreat upstate. Together with Katie's two best friends--one struggling with crippling debt and family obligations, one running away from a failed job and relationship--Katie will try to find the inner peace promised at the tranquil retreat. But finding oneself just might drudge up more memories than Katie is prepared to deal with.

Each woman has come to the retreat for different reasons. Each has her secrets to hide. And at the end of this weekend, only one will be left standing.


- by Cam Scott

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Both a daybook of anti-capitalist ideation and a homoerotic reinvention of the prairie long poem, this unique debut resonates with a love of language and experiment.

Written from within the strictures of the working day, the book's title poem issues from a practice of daily collage, comprising the first layer of a potentially interminable personal epic. As a lyric counterbalance, a centralsection follows a punk band throughout dozens of countries connected by and subjugated to capital. These poems attempt to preserve the superficiality and sincerity of fast-paced social engagement, alluding to the material conditions that permit some people--tourists, artists, musicians--free movement at the expense of others. Playful and meticulously written, ROMANS/SNOWMARE deftly circles the perimeter of the self while drawing the communal inward.

Salvation of Yasch Siemens, The

- by Armin Wiebe

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Born "on the wrong side of the double dike" in the mythical Mennonite village of Gutenthal, Yasch Siemens seems destined for a life as a hired hand in love with the wrong girl. But all of that changes when he meets Oata Needarp. Oata is determined to make Yasch hers, and it only takes some chokecherry wine and the fragrance of Oata's "Evening in Schanzenfeld" perfume to seal Yasch's fate. Shortlisted for both the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour and the Books in Canada Best First Book Award, The Salvation of Yasch Siemens is an outrageous, comic ride through Canadian literature's most unforgettable community.
Now this enduring Canadian classic includes a loving preface from the author, Armin Wiebe, and an insightful new essay from Nathan Dueck. Together they rediscover the warmth and wit in the world of Gutenthal, a profound part of Canada's literary landscape.

Season of Fury and Wonder

- by Sharon Butala

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"There are things that it is impossible to learn when you are young, no matter how much you read and study." The season of fury and wonder, in Sharon Butala's world, is the old age of women. These stories present the lives of old women - women of experience, who've seen much of life, who've tasted of its sweetness and its bitter possibilities, and have developed opinions and come to conclusions about what it all amounts to. These are stories of today's old women, who understand that they have been created by their pasts. But there's another layer to this standard-setting example of "cronelit." Not content to rest on her considerable literary laurels, Sharon Butala continues to push the boundaries of her art. The stories in Season of Fury and Wonder are all reactions to other, classic, works of literature that she has encountered and admired. These stories are, in their various ways, inspired by and tributes to works by the likes of Raymond Carver, WillaCather, James Joyce, Shirley Jackson, Flannery O'Conner, John Cheever, Alan Sillitoe, Ernest Hemmingway, Tim O'Brien, Edgar Allan Poe and Anton Checkov.

St. Boniface Elegies

- by Catherine Hunter

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In four sections, St. Boniface Elegies traces a poet’s relationships with her family and her community through poems about travel, love, illness, work, and the writing life. In the first section, “Submission,” the Cape Cod poems describe a holiday taken in the midst of a period of grieving; the Irish poems delve into the poet’s relationship to her ancestors; and the Banff poems look at the irony of an injury to the writer’s hand while away at a writing retreat. “Oodena,” set at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, describes a magical place where birth, marriage, death and the imagination converge. “Winter Archive” questions the role of a poet in today’s urban environment and describes moving through time and a shifting cityscape of poverty, broken families, and broken promises, in the state of emergency that is Winnipeg. “The News” is a suite of poems about the impact of a devastating medical diagnosis on a marriage, the difficulties and small consolations of living day after day—as we all live—in a fragile, uncertain world. The final section, “The Reader,” includes a rhythmic Twitter-generated description of Canada’s “poetry wars”; a humorous but loving homage to Al Purdy; three glosas that respond to the writers Adrienne Rich, Richard Wilbur, and Rainer Maria Rilke.

Stories from the Street

- by Jaime Pinilla

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Jaime C. Pinilla was born in Santiago, Chile. He immigrated to Saskatchewan in 1974. Until his retirement in 2006, he worked as a physician at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon. The present book, "Stories from the Street" narrates his involvement in the events he witnessed during his medical training in Chile and New York. In 2010 he published a book of poetry "Love and Solitude". He lives in Saskatoon with his wife.

The Night They Came For Til

- by Rebekah Lee Jenkins

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Nora Blackburn is kidnapped, twelve girls are stolen, and the head of
the Bristol Butchers is murdered. Detective Asher Grayson has one
suspect— Doctor Til Stone.

When Til Stone clawed her way out of the East End slums, she betrayed
members of the Bristol Butchers in 1881 making powerful enemies with
long memories.

As Detective Asher Grayson pieces the crimes together, he forces Til to
make a devastating choice: abandon her career and go into hiding, or
go after the Bristol Butchers and face them down in the streets that
nearly destroyed her.

This Has Nothing to Do With You

- by Lauren Carter

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When Melony Barnett's mother commits a violent murder, Mel is left struggling with the loss of her parents and her future. For more than two years, she drifts around the continent, trying to carve out a life that has nothing to do with her past, before returning to her Northern Ontario home and adopting a rescue dog--a mastiff with a tragic history. As she struggles to help the dog heal and repair her relationship with her brother, Matt, she begins to uncover layers of secrets about her family --secrets that were the fuel for her mother's actions. This Has Nothing to Do With You is a compulsively readable novel that follows a dynamic cast of characters, revealing the complexity of the bonds that are formed through trauma and grief--with siblings, lovers, friends, and dogs.

This Hole Called January

- by Paula Jane Remlinger

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From Superman to James Bond, from childhood's imaginings to life's darkest moments, Paula Remlinger explores identity and depression with humour and empathy. The collection moves from innocent beginnings to the starkness of the Canadian winter and its profound effects on the psyche. The final section expands into a playful juxtaposition of popular culture and an adult awareness of the inevitable cycles of life. Winter on the prairies brings a barren sense of isolation, as well as an uncanny beauty. These poems explore the duality of winter -- confinement in an infinite landscape, the hopeful longing for an out of reach springtime. Remlinger writes of the beginning and end of things, the balance between life and death, and the spaces we live in between. With humour and elegance, these poems will speak to everyone who has felt the dark days of winter closing in, physically and metaphorically.

Those Who Came Before

- by J.h. Moncrieff

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"Moncrieff's novel is a lightning-fast read, which is not a bad thing. She paints a vivid picture of the lost tribe and weaves her story arcs together brilliantly. She also sheds light on Native peoples' treatment in both past and present, smoothly integrating the issue into the novel. Readers won't want to put it down." -- Booklist

People are dying at Strong Lake, and the worst is yet to come.

An idyllic weekend camping trip is cut short when Reese Wallace s friends are brutally murdered. As the group s only survivor, Reese is the prime suspect, and his story doesn t make much sense. A disembodied voice warning him to leave the campground the night before? A strange, blackened tree that gave him an electric shock when he cut it down for firewood?

Detective Greyeyes isn t having any of it until she hears the voice herself and finds an arrowhead at the crime scene an arrowhead she can t get rid of. Troubling visions of a doomed Native American tribe who once called the campground home, and rumors of cursed land and a mythical beast plague the strangest murder case she s ever been a part of.

FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

Those Who Walk The Road

- by Will George

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A friendship between a man and a teenage boy is forged in tragedy. High school teacher Derek Justin seeks solace after the death of his wife and infant son in a car accident. Student Alex Lightoller needs a safe home after suffering tragedy of his own. They become friends, but Alex risks greater suffering when his girlfriend, Amy, is a drug addict. Trust and friendship save the day, but not without a price.

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