You may have heard that our own Emily St. John Mandel has a new book on shelves. The book depicts a post-apocalyptic future in which a group of nomadic actors deal with the aftermath of a devastating flu pandemic. Claire Cameron (who’s also written for The Millions) reviews the book for The Globe and Mail.
Canadian writers as a whole do not trust Nature. They are always suspecting some dirty trick.
Boris knows that everyone around him will behave in wildly inappropriate ways. If they seem to be acting normal, he waits. At some point soon, they become blindingly drunk and try to hit something. Probably him.
No matter how people approach loneliness or solitude or community, we all do. We’re not that different from each other. The way we experience it is different, but we all experience love, pain, loneliness.
We’re always connected, in theory, to people via the Internet in our homes. And yet, we’re growing more isolated and disconnected.
When you close your eyes and picture the Virgin Mary, what do you see? There are countless possibilities, a woman with a halo of light around her tilted head, a cloaked figure with tears of blood or a vaguely burnt apparition on a slice of toast. Your answer will depend on how you were raised, the galleries you have visited, or the books you have read. Regardless of how you’ve come across her, Mary is part of a story you’ve been told. She is a powerful symbol of motherhood. And she is not only a mother, but the mother of Christ. Your view on him will probably dictate what she means to you. In Tóibín’s hand, Mary is more than her role as a mother or a symbol. Instead, she becomes the most interesting of creatures: a credible human.
If I can’t believe in God, I do believe in fiction. Reading a novel is an act of devotion that will slowly, I hope, build an empathetic understanding of people and experience beyond my own.
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