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|Third set of
five books - Click
on the title to see larger cover and info about authors.
— Shane Joseph – Cobourg – "Fringe Dwellers" -
– Short Stories – ISBN – 978-1-897475-11-9
— Mark Clement – Cobourg– "Island In the Shadow" -
– Poetry – ISBN – 978-1-897475-08-9
— Anthony Donnelly – Brighton– "Fishbowl Fridays" -
– Prose – ISBN – 978-1-897475-02-7
— Deborah Panko – Cobourg– "Somewhat Elsewhere" -
– Poetry – ISBN – 978-1-897475-13-3
— Chris Faiers – Marmora – "ZenRiver Poems & Haibun" -
– Prose – ISBN – 978-1-897475-25-6
|About "Fringe Dwellers":
Sid's a war-hero and a bum, Gloria's a beautiful luckless lover, Andrew's a writer whose favourite haunt is the cemetery, and Julia is a priest with a dying congregation in a booming suburb. What have they in common? They are the Fringe Dwellers – people who once led normal lives until a sudden twist in the road sent them out onto the fringes of society. From the fringe they claw back meaning and redemption for their altered lives.
Why does Harry pretend that everything is normal when his whole life is falling apart? Or Professor Ram hunger for his attractive landlady while under an oath of celibacy? Or paralysed Nelly dread the touch of her brother; while Beatrice strips for her lover when he returns from his wife's funeral? Are these people nuts? Or given their circumstances, would you have acted the same?
Find out, in these twelve touching stories of human endeavour against loss, circumstance and marginalization.
Author Bio Note:
Shane Joseph is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. He began writing as a teenager living in Sri Lanka and has never stopped. Redemption in Paradise, his first novel, was published in 2004. He has completed three other novels, After the Flood – a dystopian story set in the aftermath of global warming, The Ulysses Man – an odyssey of the immigrant experience in Canada, and In the Shadow of the Conquistador – a tale of romance and redemption in the Peruvian Andes. His short stories on Canadian themes have appeared in Existere, in three Canadian anthologies and in literary journals in Sri Lanka and India.
His career stints include: stage and radio actor, pop musician, encyclopaedia salesman, lathe machine operator, airline executive, travel agency manager, vice president of a global financial services company and management consultant.
Self-taught, with four degrees under his belt obtained through distance education, Shane is an avid traveller and has visited one country for every year of his life and lived in four of them. He fondly recalls incidents during his travels as real lessons he could never have learned in school: husky riding in Finland with no training, trekking the Inca Trail in Peru through an unending rainstorm, hitch-hiking in Australia without a map, escaping a wild elephant in Zambia, and being stranded without money in Denmark, are some of his memories.
After immigrating (twice), raising a family, building a career, and experiencing life's many highs and lows, Shane has carved out a niche in Cobourg, Ontario with his wife Sarah, where he continues to write stories and play his guitar.
Shane Joseph, believes in the gift of second chances. He feels that he has lived many lives in just a single lifetime, always starting from scratch with only the lessons from the past to draw upon. His novels and stories reflect the redemptive power of acceptance and forgiveness. "Writing fiction is an avenue to record these experiences, to mine art within the struggle of life, and, even though I may never achieve it, to pursue a holy and noble grail."
A Review by Donna Langevin:
Immigrants, businessmen, professors, librarians, computer wizards, tradespeople, panhandlers, alcoholics, victims of incest, two ghosts who meet in the cemetery: what do these members of the enormous cast of author Shane Joseph’s characters have in common?
Highly readable and suspenseful, there is a common quest for well-being and happiness that unifies the cast. However, it is the individual journeys that makes this book of short stories fascinating. Each character is a “fringe dweller” not necessarily because of economic status, social class or being a newcomer to Canada, but because he or she often has a past that has shut others out. The consequences are lives in which loneliness and isolation are paramount. Thus, each character must seek a kind of “personal redemption” by confronting the past in order to move on in positive ways.
Sound familiar? Dostoevski, Conrad and many other writers have wrestled with a similar theme as their protagonists engaged in life’s struggles.
Shane Joseph who obviously draws on his own experience as an immigrant and his many career stints to create a sense of reality, dares to offer some plausible solutions. One’s fate is never changed by anything as momentous as a lightning bolt, miracle, winning a lottery or grand religious enlightenment. On the pilgrimage toward redemption the only “angels” in Fringe Dwellers are the flawed but kindly strangers encountered by chance. In Virtual Guy, a software consultant offers to share his hotel room with a business man when their flight is canceled due to a snowstorm. Their interaction enables the latter to move on after his divorce and to revamp his career. In the title story, Vinod, an immigrant from India befriends Sid, an embittered war veteran. He drives him to a hospital where the staff are so caring that Sid ends up working at a hospice after his recovery. In Silence, Andrew a busy executive who had neglected his wife goes to a weekend retreat. As he holds the hand of a dying old man, he realizes “at that moment it was a good proxy” for his wife who passed away while he was on a business trip. Thus, simple acts of kindness and compassion allow the characters to atone and to reach out again. In the powerful Let My People Stay, this theme is played out on a grander scale. When her congregation of elderly white people becomes excluded by a Chinese congregation using her church, Rev. Julia Styles holds an outdoor service where all immigrant groups are welcome.
Sound preachy or simplistic? Shane Joseph is too thoughtful a writer to fall into the trap of formulaic writing. Sometimes a character is beyond salvation. In Rage, the woman suffering from incest finds release rather than redemption by murdering her brother. In many other stories the secondary characters fall by the wayside because they lack insight and the compassion that make change possible.
The well-crafted Fringe Dwellers is an appealing read because of the reliable and relevant theme of “second chances.”
|About "Fishbowl Fridays":
This premier collection of short stories is a booming start for this young author’s career. At this early stage his work has already been compared to the short fiction of James Reaney and Margaret Atwood. Be willing to be caught off guard by Donnelly’s imagination that teeters between fantasy and a warped sense of reality. You will not be sorry you invested time in reading this collection. Even though his topics may sometimes portray the mundane there is nothing mundane about the way he uses language to fill in the extraordinary details of life.
Author Bio Note:
Anthony Donnelly is a 25-year-old writer from Brighton, Ontario. He has degrees from Trent and Queen’s and is currently completing an MA in English Literature. Most of his time is spent reading, writing, or with family and friends. He is the founder and editor of On Broken Glass, an Ontario literary magazine and his writing has been published in various magazines in Canada and Europe.
“In the tradition of Ontario Gothic, Fishbowl Fridays,Anthony Donnelly's premier story collection, invites comparison to the short fiction of James Reaney and Margaret Atwood. By turns realistic and magical, natural and bizarre, the reader is immersed in a world where lingering in the moment may yield something worth knowing. The final event of the closing story leaves us with an image which folds backwards into what comes before, suggesting as in the words of Octavio Paz that “life is a marvel'' and that from the cold bed of the page we see the sandpiper taking flight with a frog in its beak and think for a moment we know what that means.”
-John B. Lee
“Whether in the mode of a skewed realism or more outright fantasy, Anthony Donnelly’s stories are strongly imagined and get under your skin. They convince and reveal, even as they disconcert and catch you off guard. This in an impressive debut collection by a skillful, versatile and abundantly talented young writer.”
- Allan Briesmaster, founder of Art Bar - Toronto, author and publisher
Fishbowl Fridays – a review by Shane Joseph
Twenty-five year old
Anthony Donnely shows a remarkable insight into characters ranging from young
children to seniors. His stories are edgy and circular, often returning to a
symbol (the phantom arm in Do You Fear
the Bright Lights?), a character (Amy in Jukebox Organ) or an action (retribution in
Images of churches turned into bars, sandpipers getting their frog, geldings kicking back, and transplanted limbs are well used in context of the stories they appear in.
His grip on narration is strong and drives the stories forward, although sometimes I would have liked to have seen some scenes lengthened with dialogue and some characters drawn out more – they have such potential for depth. That said, I read this book in one sitting; Donnely’s stories are crisp and short enough to grab the reader and move him on.
The stories in this tiny
collection range from closed-loop, well plotted ones (Dancing on the Sandpiper’s Ruins,
My one piece of developmental critique is that this should have been a larger collection. I hope that Donnely will continue to develop Eric and weave him around these and other stories in the future into a much bigger collection that will have a common unifying theme running around it. Yet, I am impressed by his voice, technique and his ability to extract sensation and plausible quirkiness from his characters and situations.
I will eagerly await his
next book. A great writer-in-the-making has just arrived on the
|About "Somewhat Elsewhere":
No writer has full control of what is to be revealed to the reader but Deborah Panko with her marvelous facility with language comes pretty close. There’s no need to read between the lines and spend time figuring out just what she is trying to say. From the quotidian to the eternal, from the simple to the profound; from end to end, the reader will be wholly engaged and not a little surprised by the shouts of joy and the wry humour that pops up in surprising places. Deborah Panko touches on love, madness, nature and humankind, all with language that strips away the conventions of norm and leads the reader into her own personal reality. In her exuberant, sometimes playful and passionate ways, Deborah Panko is a true master of poetry. From start to finish this book is written in the language of life.
Author Bio Note:
Deborah Panko grew up in Thorold, Ontario near Niagara Falls, moving to Toronto to attend university. Early on, she held a variety of jobs from waitressing to crematorium receptionist to registered massage therapist, finally settling into a teaching ‘career’ that had begun with English as a Second Language in Algeria in 1973. Being a prolific dreamer, she kept dream journals as a record of her inner travels. Their images and patterns led to poetry writing.
Wanting to spend more time on personally creative pursuits, she retired early from the Toronto Board of Education where she had taught a variety of courses, her favourite being Writer’s Craft. She and her husband, Ron, moved to Cobourg in 2004, where she happily discovered other poetry writers at the Cobourg Poetry Workshop. Poetry writing is her habit along with biking, playing the piano, watching birds and reading the classics.
Here is love, madness, nature and outrageous humankind, each in language that strips away sweet convention and thrusts before us a different reality, the memory of which finds “no final resting place.”
No writer has full control of what is to be revealed. This one comes pretty close. There’s no need to read between the lines. From the quotidian to the eternal, from the simple to the profound; from end to end, the reader will be wholly engaged and not a little surprised by the shouts of joy and the wry humour that pops up in surprising places.
In her exuberant, over-spilling, playful and passionate ways, Deborah Panko is a genuine manifestation among us that poetry – in whatever form, in all its forms – is the first language, the Protean response to, and participant in, the urgencies – inner and outer – of being alive.
|About "ZenRiver Poems & Haibun":
This collection is a haibun, a combination of prose interspersed with haiku. The form was created by its master, Matsuo Basho, who developed it writing travel sketches of fifteenth century Japan. Basho's entire life was devoted to the twin pursuits of writing haiku and deepening his Zen Buddhist spirituality. Late in life Basho left his monastic poet's hut to make a series of difficult pilgrimages across the islands of medieval Japan. With these barebones narratives and profound haiku, Basho revealed the interstitial spaces enlightened poets share with nature in subtle but brilliant flashes of satori.
Haiku poet (haijin) Chris Faiers has been writing haiku for forty years, and his poems have consistently been at the forefront in the development of English language haiku and haibun. His haibun are written in Basho's tradition, one of simple but powerful language, and his goal is also to gently share his vision.
The most casual reading of ZenRiver Poems & Haibun will reveal worlds familiar to both the practitioner of Zen and the First Nations shaman.
Author Bio Note:
Chris Faiers was born on Hamilton Mountain in 1948. He has been a leader in the creation of English language haiku and haibun for forty years. He has been meditating for the same period. His online haibun, “Eel Pie Dharma”, is likely the most widely read English language haibun.
His poetry has been published in at about 100 literary magazines, antholologies and scholary texts. This is his seventeenth collection. His poems have been praised by Irving Layton, Al Purdy, and Beatle George Harrison.
“Fishing with Big Blue” in this book has been ranked number one for “Shaman Haibun” in Google for over a year. Chris spends his days caretaking his Buddhist retreat, ZenRiver Gardens, on the toenails of the Canadian Shield.
This collection is a haibun, a combination of prose interspersed with haiku. Haiku poet (haijin) Chris Faiers has been writing haiku for forty years, and his poems have consistently been at the forefront in the development of English language haiku and haibun. The most casual reading of ZenRiver Poems & Haibun will reveal worlds familiar to both the practitioner of Zen and the First Nations shaman.
If you live in the North Shore Series area – generally speaking between Port Hope and Kingston, south of #7 – then you might want to take a look at the submission info at – http://www.hiddenbrookpress.com/b-NShore.html.
We look forward to hearing from you.
All the best.
Richard M. Grove,