Author: Mallee Stanley

Cherie Dimaline’s — The marrow thieves *****

Cherie Dimaline’s — The marrow thieves *****

With the world nearly at an end from global warming, First Nation people are hunted for their bone marrow. When the Recruiters discover Mitch and Frenchie’s hideout, Mitch sacrifices himself to allow his younger brother to flee. Fenchie escapes and heads into Northern Canada until he is found by a group of First Nation escapees trying to avoid capture and certain death. But can they avoid the new schools that remind the elders of residential schools where they will be slaughtered for their bone marrow?

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Mary Lynn Bracht’s — White Chrysanthemum *****

Mary Lynn Bracht’s — White Chrysanthemum *****

In 1943 Hana, a haenyeo rushes from Jeju Island’s sea to save her younger sister, Emi from capture by Japanese soldiers. In her place, Hana is kidnapped and sent on a long journey north to become a comfort woman. But before she arrives at the northern brothel to service Japanese soldiers she is raped by her captor, Morimoto.

This is a well written but a difficult read because the story is based on what happened to from 50 000 to 200 000 Korean women during WW11.

 

Yann Martel’s — Life of Pi *****

Yann Martel’s — Life of Pi *****

A Man Booker prize winner, this novel traces Pi Patel’s journey from Pondicherry by sea. His father has brought the animals from the zoo they once owned in the coastal city, but not long into the journey, the boat sinks and Pi and a few of the animals are the only survivors.

While the movie of this book was beautifully filmed with a well chosen cast, it failed to capture the philosophical essence that made the book a memorable read.

Janie Chang’s — Dragon Springs Road *****

Janie Chang’s — Dragon Springs Road *****

When the Fong’s estate near Shanghai is sold and the Yangs arrive, Jialing’s mother disappears and Jialing becomes a bond servant to the new family. Through her friendship with the spirit fox and Anjuin, the Yangs oldest daughter, she survives. A group of teachers rent a section of the estate and Jialing is given an opportunity to go to school. But even with her education and perfect English no one will employ her because she is zazhong— half Chinese, half Eurasian. How will she survive once the Yangs move to Shanghai leaving her behind?

Audrey Thomas’ — Isobel Gunn *****

Audrey Thomas’ — Isobel Gunn *****

The Orkney islanders think Isobel Gunn is crazy when she races to meet each ship docked in the harbour asking about James. Only Magnus remembers how heroic Isobel was twenty years earlier when she disguised herself as a man and sailed to Rupert’s Land back in the 1800s to work in the harsh Canadian wilderness.

Equally as good is Thomas’ Tatty Coram, a minor character from one of Dickens’ novels whom she weaves into the life of Dickens himself.

Victoria Finlay’s — Buried treasure, travels through the jewel box *****

Victoria Finlay’s — Buried treasure, travels through the jewel box *****

During my travels I was desperate for something to read and was handed Finlay’s book. I’m not a lover of jewels so I approached the book with low expectations. How wrong I was.

This book deals with the history and intrigue behind searching and acquiring jewels from amber, jet and opals to the more expensive emeralds, rubies and diamonds. I was hooked from the first page and fascinated by every fact from this non-fiction gem.

Shyam Selvadurai’s — The hungry ghosts *****

Shyam Selvadurai’s — The hungry ghosts *****

When Shivan prepares to return to Colombo to bring his aging grandmother to Canada, memories of his childhood flood back. He remembers how he was the one forced to befriend the greedy and callous matriarch so his widowed mother and sister would not be kicked out of her house. He suffers her beatings and insults because his grandmother despises his mother for marrying a Tamil and producing two half Tamil children.

Set through an era of political hatred towards the Tamil minority (that still persists to day) and grappling with Shivan’s sexual orientation, this is a story wrought with tension on many levels.