by Julie Dupuis
A hybrid travelogue and memoir that pieces together the fragmented recollections of one woman’s rocky journey toward vegetarianism. From her rural upbringing in francophone Northeastern Ontario to exotic locations, outlandish adventures, and bizarre meals, Julie relives her struggle to make the right food choices for herself and examines the consequences of her decisions.
WHY SOY SUCKS
I DON’T EAT SOY if I can help it. It’s one of the primary causes of deforestation in the Amazonian rainforest. Moreover, entire communities are getting sick from the chemicals used on the fields. I may not eat meat, but I refuse to get my nutrients from an equally harmful source simply because it’s plant-based.
I’m certainly not a typical vegetarian. Unfortunately, it’s hard to escape soy in South Korea. It’s everywhere, especially in non-meat dishes. Well, if there’s no other option, fine. I’ll eat soy. I won’t seek it out, though.
IT’S OKAY TO KILL animals so long as it’s for food,” says my father. “Killing them for sport is unforgivable.”
“So, then . . . What about poachers? They kill for food.”
I’m young but full of ideas.
“Around here, yes. But there are poachers in other parts of the world with different motives. Most of the ones around here—and there aren’t all that many—I don’t have much of a problem with them. They’re usually not wasting the animal. In fact, the government should grant local hunters leniency because we’re not sport hunters. We hunt for food and buy less beef because of it.”
Yes, my father really talks like that. But actually, I’m not sure he said all of that. I got the gist of it, but may have confused some of his ideas with my own. I don’t think I was a teenager yet when we had this conversation.
I think I remember.
I was so young, how can I possibly remember?
Maybe I’m confusing memory with stories and pictures. But I feel like I remember . . .
I’m having a hard time sitting still in the boat. My sister is so much more patient than me. The sun’s out and I want to play. Nothing’s happened in a long time. I tug at my life jacket, squirming away from it, trying to get it off my sticky back.
“I have one! Get the net!”
My sister and I rush to watch my father reel in while my mother stands ready. My brother smiles from his seat, calmly looking on. Or maybe he’s not even there; maybe he wasn’t born yet.
“Oh, boy, it’s a tough one! Get ready, it’s coming!”
“Wow, Dad! Is that a monster?” Any one of us kids could have said that, if any one of us did say it in the first place.
Working together, my parents get the pike aboard. It’s huge, thrashing on the bottom of the boat. My father works over it to remove the hook, blocking my view.
“Argh! Shit! Shit, shit, shit!”
Once our dad starts, so do we.
“Dad, you’re bleeding!”
My brother starts to cry. Right?
“It bit me! Get me a towel.”
“Daddyyyyy!” We’re all crying by then.
“It’s okay. You’re dad’s gonna be fine,” my mom tries to soothe us.
We continue to snivel the whole way back to shore, the whole drive back to the village. My parents drop us off at my grandparents’ house and leave.
Hours later, they return.
“Daddy! Daddyyyyy! Daddy!”
We jump around him, our hero threatened.
“Look, stitches! Isn’t that cool? Let’s count them.”
The next day we eat the pike and it’s delicious.
about the author
JULIE DUPUIS holds an M.A. in English literature from the University of Toronto and did post-graduate work in Creative Book Publishing at Humber College. She is an avid hiker and traveller, and has been working as a writer since 2006. Her website is www.JulieDupuis-NaturalNomad.com.
from the library
In the Afternoon
by Laure Baudot
Catherine wants what Richard has: a richly decorated house, and a perfect, lavished-upon baby. Catherine also wants Richard: a disaffected diplomat whose true passion is for cinema. But Catherine is only the babysitter, and her envy—and its fallout—come to the fore when Richard is accused of a crime, and she must decide whether to help exonerate him.
“Laure Baudot’s prose is exquisite, patient, and sophisticated. In the Afternoon immerses you in the fascinating and complicated mind of a babysitter who is wise beyond her years, yet dangerously impulsive at the same time. This story is irresistible and heartbreaking.”
— Sarah Selecky, author of the 2010 Giller Prize–shortlisted collection This Cake Is for the Party
Toronto in the twenty-first century: At night, a beacon on a lonely ancient lake, a drainage pond from the last ice age. In the daytime, a bulwark of glass, glinting in the radiant sun. Joe, Mary, and her cat, Sam, sit in a lakeside condo, trapped by a crazed, mysterious sniper. What has become of their lives? What has become of their city? What has become of their century? As the situation begins to unravel, Mary finds herself wondering, “What would Margaret Atwood do?”
Having lived a long, eventful life, Charlie Weinheimer’s only regret is that he has no one to carry on after him. After a near-death experience, he resolves to find out whether a secret buried in his past is proof he has a legacy after all.
“Margoshes gives us the life of Charlie Weinheimer: quadruple bypass patient, widower whose children all die tragically young, but not a whiner. In his hospital bed at age seventy-seven, he’s seen it all, right? Well, maybe not. Watch as Margoshes calls upon his raconteur skills to thicken the plot.”
— David Carpenter, winner of the 2010 Saskatchewan Book Award for A Hunter’s Confession
by Richard Rosenbaum
Polly knows what she wants: to be in the greatest band in the world. Oliver knows what he wants: Polly. Together they are The Oughts, a duo trying to attain the unattainable, one basic chord at a time.
“Richard Rosenbaum’s The Oughts jabs its sticky little fingers right into your heart and swirls them around in there for a long, long time. Its characters unfold in pitch-perfect awkwardness and tender apathy, and readers will be struck by the surreal hinges and twitching imagery that Rosenbaum flawlessly weaves in. Writers in the audience should take note: Rosenbaum has created a writhing work of fiction that any scribe would aspire to be capable of pulling off.”
— Liz Worth, author of Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History of Punk in Toronto and Beyond and Eleven: Eleven
by Curtis Snider
A woman wakes up in bed beside her ex-boyfriend and is at loss to explain how she got there. Inexplicably drawn to stay, she scours every square inch of the apartment they used to share, noting the traces of her presence that linger on, as well as the empty spots that conspicuously mark her absence. The deeper she digs, the more she understands how imperfect her relationship was – and the less willing she is to come up for air.
Decades ago, when bands like the Everly Brothers rode the airwaves and vacancy signs shone like beacons in the night, a young man gets his first taste of love, loss, and the ethereal satisfaction that comes with knowing that the world is turning and life is being lived.
Saxophonist Metche Hufu and his band are the talk of Addis Ababa, filling nightclubs and packing dance floors. But the precarious existence of this golden age of culture depends on an emperor’s benevolence - and when his power begins to wane, Metche Hufu's music threatens to be silenced by the sounds of a country torn apart.
“How do you give voice to a sax player silenced by the politics of his country? If you’re a jazz singer like Kurt Elling, you take Dexter Gordon’s solo on ‘Body and Soul’ from his Homecoming album and you turn it into vocalese. If your name is Andrew Forbes and your tenor sax player is Ethiopian and it is Addis Ababa 1973 and his musical idol is King Curtis, you write The Expansiveness of My Sound and what you write is wider, more straight-ahead, stronger with political fervour, sadder than Elling but every bit as smart. Forbes is doing it solo and you have to imagine the quartet behind him. Read it with your fingers tapping and you’ll catch the beat. Read it with your ears open and you’ll hear Metche Hufu’s body and soul. Dig it!”
— T. F. Rigelhof, author of Hooked on Canadian Books: The Good, the Better, and the Best Canadian Novels Since 1984