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
Laws of Flight
by Darren Greer
An imaginative and resonant work of speculative literature from ReLit Award-winning author Darren Greer. Twin brothers, born on an oppressive family farm, discover a miraculous way to escape the dreariness of their lives, charting a course that promises equal measures of wonder and heartbreak.
of My Sound
by Andrew Forbes
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
Deep Breaths Underwater
by Meghan Rose Allen
June's mother is getting married and there's nothing June can do about it. Counting down the days to the wedding while trapped with a sort-of friend and unwanted family-to-be at their lakeside cottage in the Kawarthas, June searches desperately for a way to make the world - and her life - stand still.
by Matt Cahill
Portraits of people marooned within themselves, trapped by their past experiences, by uncertainty and anxiety — individuals for whom each new situation is a grueling journey towards the present, a place where action and choice are possible. In Second World, Matt Cahill illustrates, with honesty and empathy, how the most important breakthroughs are not the life-altering revelations, but rather the minor miracles that get us through each day.
This Is a Love Crime
by Lee Kvern
Marta is a human resources employee at a grocery store chain. She moves through the days passively, always taking the path of least resistance, until a case at work - that of a hijab-wearing woman, in defiance of a strict no-hats policy - awakens her to the injustices of her own life.
“This Is a Love Crime by Lee Kvern is a cunning and intensely human look at one of the central issues of our time. It negotiates the space between belief, racism, liberty, and sexuality with curiosity and compassion.”
— Todd Babiak, bestselling author of Toby: A Man and The Garneau Block
“Lee Kvern paints with a scalpel. With characteristic unflinching honesty, she peels the relationship between Marta and Corbin back to quivering nerves in This Is a Love Crime and juxtaposes it against veiled assumptions about cultural oppression. The narrative leaps crackle with energy and empathy. When I read Kvern’s stories, I’m seduced by exquisite detail and—love or loathe them—left with the scent of her characters long after the last page.”
— Betty Jane Hegerat, author of Delivery and The Boy
“In This Is a Love Crime, Lee Kvern uses the intricately drawn characters of Corbin and Marta to explore the charged topics of ethnicity and Western modes of submission and control. Written in Kvern’s distinctive, poetic, and multi-layered style, the story leaves us with warm insight into all the characters—and challenges our hearts and preconceptions.”
— Barb Howard, author of Whipstock, Notes for Monday, and The Dewpoint Show
The Last Judgment
by Maria Meindl
Charlotte is on the cusp of adolescence, and her world is being turned upside down. Unable to turn to her distant mother or absent father, she searches for guidance on the streets of downtown Toronto—and discovers God (or some version of Him) in the gutter.
“The Last Judgment is a story that penetrates into the heart of childhood sadness. Charlotte is without tools to fix what is broken, except for the incredible force of her will. The connections she makes between religion, parental failure, sexuality, and love make perfect sense because they are told in her bell-clear voice. This story is warm and tragic and, at moments, grimly funny.”
— Rebecca Rosenblum, author of Once and Road Trips
by Kirsty Logan
Steve has his own comic book store, a limitless supply of comic books, and all the time in the world to collect them. That should be enough. But eventually, everyone - even Steve - gets lonely. And when his time comes, he too has to learn that (eternal) life isn’t about what you spend it on - it’s about who you spend it with.
“Every time I read something by Kirsty, I think, ‘Damn her, I wish I’d written that.’ She is the kind of writer that you can’t help but read with teeth-crunching envy, broken-hearted admiration, and a realization that your own work is not half as good as you’d hoped it might be. Be forewarned writers and readers: you will never be the same.”
— Shanna Germain, finalist for the 2010 John Preston Short Fiction Award and nominee for the 2008 Pushcart Prize
by Michael Bryson
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?”