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Emily Gould’s Friendship for The National Post

friendship.jpgGould is indeed a polarizing figure, with constant debates about her validity, and constant vitriol slung her way, but I’ve always viewed her as much more of an admirable literary entrepreneur than an egregious upstart. Gould found success during a time of publishing upheaval, and wisely used the Internet to her advantage, climbing to the top of the pile not only because of her talent (which she clearly has), but also because of her tenacity and drive. These observations aren’t in any way derisive, but it would seem that old school literary types find this brand of honesty and ambition — especially in a woman — particularly distasteful.

Read the essay at The Afterword.

Ms. America

I wrote about Lana Del Rey’s nostalgia for an old lie for The New Inquiry’s Ms. America Supplement.

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infidelity_medium.jpgInfidelity is emblematic of a new and entirely welcome breed of Canadian fiction. It’s a deceptively simple story of an affair between a working-class woman and a tweedy professor in present-day Toronto. Ronnie and Charlie are very different people, but both are in rather prosaic relationships. A meeting at a faculty party results in a goodly number of trysts and the pressure of balancing their secrets with the increasing weight of both of their daily lives.

Where Fowles excels in Infidelity is in making one care about two flawed (trapped?) people, and even though we can see the car crash coming, it’s impossible to look away. This was one of my favourite Canadian novels of 2013, and I’ll drop everything to read her next book.”

—David Worsley from Words Worth Books, Waterloo, Ontario

Blood Ties: The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neill and All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

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For Noushcka, the ambitious, downtrodden heroine of The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, the idea of love has always been suspect. When her sweet yet disturbed boyfriend, Raphaël, proposes with a mood ring pulled from a cardboard box, she reflects, “Sometimes I was so afraid of love. It gave you the feeling you had when you were shoplifting and you were walking out of the store with something concealed under your jacket.”

Read the entire review at The Walrus.

Deadspin: Josh Lueke Is A Rapist, You Say? Keep Saying It.

Over at Deadspin:

I know that a lot of us are well aware of what kind of person Josh Lueke is, and that rape is a very bad thing. We don’t need reminders to be secure in that knowledge, nor is it likely we’ll forget. But with all due respect to Mr. Hahmann and his ilk, the onslaught of tweets calling Josh Lueke a rapist is not for you. It’s for the thousands of rape survivors who watch games and know that what they love is sullied by baseball’s willingness to turn a blind eye to the kind of suffering they themselves endured. It’s a gesture on the part of fans who know it’s unlikely Lueke will ever see his career end as a result of those actions, but refuse to tolerate his inclusion, who believe that, while a team may opportunistically decide to field a talented player who has committed an act of sexual violence, it shouldn’t be immune from the disgust of the public.

Read the full essay here.

One Hour in Paris

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In Canada, over half of the female population has experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. In America, there is a rape reported every six minutes. One could make a lifelong project of explaining what the resulting suffering truly feels like and never succeed, but with One Hour in Paris, Freedman has certainly come close. It’s taken her more than 20 years to arrive at point where she could write of the assault, and of the legal, psychological and interpersonal aftermath that followed. In her brave and compelling memoir, the professor of philosophy uses her keen intellect and in-depth knowledge of trauma to unravel the complexity of rape, and to make sense of the imprint it has made on her life, and on the lives of so many others.

Read the full review at The Afterword.

The Opposite of Loneliness, by Marina Keegan

It’s difficult to process the feeling that comes from reading a book by an author you know will never pen another word. It’s even more difficult when the book is a young author’s first, filled with optimism and promise — when the book literally says, “We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time.”

Read the review at The Afterword.

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What Baseball Still Doesn’t Get About Injury and Mental Health

This assertion that players are people, vulnerable like anyone else, is a tough one for sports culture to accept. Yet mental health is as much a part of an athlete’s ability to perform as any other aspect of their well being. And while these leagues are, of late, making clearer attempts to protect players from injuries that have a direct link to the function of their minds—the MLB’s approval of pitchers’ protective caps; NFL rules preventing helmet-first hits to the head and neck; the NHL outlawing head-aimed body checks—they continue to fall short when it comes to addressing the more nuanced relationships between performance, injury, and mental health.

Read the whole essay over at Hazlitt.

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