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Thirtieth Issue
Volume 13, No. 1
 





features

Because I Have Loved And Hidden It
By Fiona O'Connor

Heading South
By Kimberly Bourgeois


fiction

A Very Bold Leap
Reviewed by Lorraine Ouimet

Animals
Reviewed by Dimitri Nasrallah

Cecil And Jordan In New York
Reviewed by Correy Baldwin

Fall
Reviewed by Ian McGillis

Iced Under
Reviewed by Margaret Goldik

Short Accounts Of Tragic Occurrences
Reviewed by Christopher Olson

The Brutal Telling
Reviewed by Elspeth Redmond

The Hipless Boy
Reviewed by Correy Baldwin

The Mountain Clinic
Reviewed by Mélanie Grondin

Valley Of Fire
Reviewed by Louise Fabiani


fiction at a glance

Fences In Breathing
Reviewed by Aparna Sanyal

The Fixer-upper
Reviewed by Margaret Goldik


non-fiction

America's Gift: What The World Owes To The Americas And Their First Inhabitants
Reviewed by Raquel Rivera

Babies For The Nation: The Medicalization Of Motherhood In Quebec 1910-1970
Reviewed by Kate Forrest

Canada's Game: Hockey And Identity
Reviewed by Ted Smith

Done With Slavery: The Black Fact In Montreal 1760 - 1840
Reviewed by Dr. Dorothy Williams

The Black Book Of Canadian Foreign Policy
Reviewed by Brian Campbell

What's To Eat? Entrees In Canadian Food History
Reviewed by Anne Chudobiak


non-fiction at a glance

Ghost Tracks: Surprising Stories Of The Supernatural On Rails
Reviewed by Margaret Goldik

Swallowtail Calling: A Naturalist Dreams Of Grand Manan Island
Reviewed by Margaret Goldik



poetry

Passenger Flight
Reviewed by Dr. Bert Almon

Penned
Reviewed by Dr. Bert Almon

Pure Product
Reviewed by Dr. Bert Almon

Rutting Season
Reviewed by Dr. Bert Almon

This Way Out
Reviewed by Dr. Bert Almon




young readers

A Wizard In Love
Reviewed by Andrea Belcham

Bird Child
Reviewed by Andrea Belcham

Far From Home
Reviewed by Andrea Belcham

Junkyard Dog
Reviewed by Andrea Belcham

Lord Of The Sky
Reviewed by Andrea Belcham

Proud As A Peacock, Brave As A Lion
Reviewed by Andrea Belcham

The Banana Story Of Agony
Reviewed by Andrea Belcham

The Middle Of Everywhere
Reviewed by Margaret Goldik

Walking Backward
Reviewed by Andrea Belcham

When Wishes Come True
Reviewed by Andrea Belcham




The Mountain Clinic
By Harold Hoefle
$18.95
paper 111 pp.
Oberon Press 978-0-7780-1327-3
fiction

The Mountain Clinic

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New Document A seven-year-old boy who worships his father licks a freshly swept concrete floor to show how thoroughly he cleaned it. The boy becomes lost in a forest of questions when the father never comes home.

In August 1966, Franz Schwende goes to work and doesn't come back. His car is found on a street near Lake Ontario with his clothes neatly folded in the back seat. His widow claims he drowned, but soon large business debts come to light, and Franz's motive is questioned. Indeed, because of his German accent, Franz Schwende, an Austrian immigrant who came to Canada after the Second World War in hope of a better life, had difficulty finding clients. Realizing that he'll never fit in and find a better life in Canada - or at least in Scarborough - Franz runs, leaving behind him questions and chaos, despite his own love of order.

Years later, Walter, Franz's only son, hitchhikes from Scarborough to Vancouver. He wants to escape his mother who, on the few occasions she does answer Walter's questions, only seems to lie. He also wants to find the place where he fits in. By living in a rooming house with Czech refugees, working in a northern mining town, and then picking coffee in Nicaragua during the Revolution, Walter tries to make order in his life and clear his mind of the ghost that haunts him. Only when he visits Austria to celebrate his grandfather's 100th birthday does Walter realize that some of the answers he needs can only come from family members.

Harold Hoefle's debut novel The Mountain Clinic is a strong piece. Like many post-war German authors who followed the Kahlschlag (i.e. clear-cutting) movement, Hoefle uses simple, sober language in an effort to strip away any misunderstanding Walter may have about his father's disappearance. Indeed, the aptly named Walter Schwende ("a clearing") tries to clear the forest of questions that surrounds him. Unable to stick to the very few facts he has managed to gather from his mother and from the police occurrence report on his father's disappearance, Walter often pictures his father's vanishing act, waxing poetic as he loses objectivity.

With The Mountain Clinic, Hoefle demonstrates his ability to draw readers in and make them feel for a lost man who appears to have very few feelings himself. Though the father disappears a mere seven pages into the novel, Hoefle is so successful in communicating Walter's admiration for his father that readers are just as devastated as the boy when the event occurs. Furthermore, Hoefle is excellent at conveying accents and voices, particularly in the Nicaraguan chapter where the narrative shifts from Walter's voice to the voice of an experienced Nicaraguan coffee-picker.

Devoid of unnecessary words and descriptions, The Mountain Clinic leaves no room for misunderstanding or artifice. Yet what is implied, what is hidden, is heavy on the reader's mind. Though this solid novel is just over 100 pages long, the book feels enormous; what is not said would take up twice as many pages. Hoefle's first novel begs to be re-read immediately.

Mélanie Grondin is a Montreal writer and translator