Reviewed by David O'Meara
His enthusiasts know the biography. Born to an Orthodox Jewish family in Minsk, Poland, in 1923, Levine was raised in Ottawa's district of Lower Town—occupied then by mostly French and Irish Catholics—before being sent to England as a pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. Returning to Canada, he attended McGill University and published two poetry collections before his first novel, The Angled Road (1952) and a memoir, Canada Made Me in 1958 (“My writing begins with that book,” Levine would write). For some critics, this book is considered the main reason for Levine’s neglect in Canadian letters. Written as a three-month journey across the country, Levine’s recollections and portraits are less than flattering, depicting a gritty, desolate, working-class panorama of mid-century Canada. He writes: “No one is really a stranger in Canada if he was brought up in a small town. They remain so much the same across the country: a vast repetition, not only of the Main Street, the side-streets, the railway track, the river; but the same dullness and boredom."
Reviewed by Halley Parrey
Hermione Hoby’s aptly named debut novel Neon in Daylight examines the roles we assign ourselves to play and how our performances are received or simply ignored. Under Hoby’s purview, we do not fare much better at communicating than neon signs. We perform—we flare, we fizzle out—hoping to illuminate the darkness, which we achieve slightly, clumsily, if at all.
Reviewed by Patrick Nathan
Through fourteen essays about fourteen films, Scott Esposito celebrates cinema’s power. After watching Terrence Malick’s Voyage of Time, wherein the earth’s and its universe’s respective lifespans are shown to be finite, Esposito posits that “What makes us human are the questions that are irresolvable. Our humanity will cease once we learn to render them irrelevant. And yet we strive to do just that.” Indeed, bracketing The Doubles as he does, beginning with Errol Morris’s A Brief History of Time and ending with Malick’s Voyage, Esposito establishes science’s paradoxical ability to at once shatter and deepen our collective mysteries. “Science stands opposite mystery,” he writes, “it wants answers that do not allow further mysteries”...