Our Starland/Dear Canada Council
NSCAD University alumna Emily Holton demonstrates her artistic and literary talents in two novellas bound together in the same book. Dear Canada Council will be popular with anyone who has ever filled out the endless and unnecessary pages of grant applications. But this narrator hopes that Canada Council can help her get plane tickets, because she needs to fly to Caye Caulker, a tiny island off the coast of Belize, in order to fulfill her dream of founding a town. Less a narrative than a stream-of-consciousness or poetry, Holton weaves together an odd assortment of images including the late celebrity reporter Brian Linehan, a family of deaf-mutes and the Incas, with simple illustrations that Seth Scriver fans will love. Flip the book over and there's Our Starland, a completely unconnected novella. Like Dear Canada Council, Holton keeps the words per page to a minimum. Here, a group of characters spend a night hitchhiking in the orchards of the Okanagan Valley, interspersed with old research studies on feral children. This is where stars slide down and cicadas shrill. It's a quick piece but by the end there is a real sense of transience. Once again, Conundrum Press makes a gorgeous artful book that's just a little out of the ordinary.
Sue Carter Flinn