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A Summer of Reading Strong Women Writers


I have just finished reading Carol Off's All We Leave Behind. It is a powerful account of this Canadian journalist's crusade to bring to Canada an Afghan family after her reporting jeopardizes their safety. It is also a very factual account of the naivety and blunders of Western military action in Afghanistan.

All We Leave Behind is just one of five books by strong Canadian women that I have read this summer and intend to review this autumn for the Ottawa Review of Books. Collectively, they drive home the point that women writers in Canada are hitting it out of the ballpark.

The other books, all highly recommended novels, were:

- Lear's Shadow by Claire Holden Rothman: a flowing narrative delivered in a perfect pitch about a woman struggling with the failing health of her father as she transitions from personal and professional failures to a new life.

- Eva Salomon's War by Gabriella Goliger: set in Palestine during the British mandate, this refreshing novel challenges many of the conventional accounts of the years leading up to the establishment of the State of Israel.

- Mountain by Ursula Pflug: ostensibly young adult fiction, Pflug's transcendental and yet tragic account of a teenage girl's return from the edge of estrangement with her new-age strong-willed mother is a compelling story for readers of all ages.

- Yasmeen Haddad Loves Joanisi Maqaittik by Carolyn Marie Souaid: In her tale of love between a young Montreal woman and a Northern Quebec Inuk, Souaid takes her readers on a deeply personal cross-cultural journey with all its highs and lows.


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