In the summer of 1992 three young girls go missing from a small town in Australia. Decades later their friend returns to challenge her understanding of the case and what went wrong.Read More
I’ve often struggled with the feeling that I’m reading too much into a situation - that I’m overanalyzing and assigning too much importance to a normal event. When I speak to friends from university or summer jobs about the experiences we shared years ago, I often feel embarrassed by the detail in which I remember those moments. After reading Anna Maxymiw’s memoir Dirty Work I’ve come to realize that remembering those little moments is actually a gift.
Between the first and second year of her MFA in writing at the University of British Columbia, Anna Maxymiw decided she needed a break. Desperate to change-up her life she applied for a housekeeping job at a remote northern Ontario fishing retreat - a place she’d visited only once for a matter of days. Upon arrival by float plane, Maxymiw discovered just how isolated and wild the place really was, and met the small group of people with whom she’d spend the next three months of her summer.
Dirty Work is a magical book, made up of Maxymiw’s magnetic musings and perfectly woven turns of phrase. Her writing, in all its ethereality, fits perfectly into the landscape she so painstakingly describes. Northern Ontario is harsh, and the kinds of people who can survive it even harsher. But somewhere beneath the hard land lies a home - a place where young people have been working and living together for generations and forming beautiful bonds of friendship and love. As her summer begins, Maxymiw hopes desperately that her summer crew will grow as close as those of past years.
Though Maxymiw’s plight over the summer is fairly unique - she spends her days cleaning human mess from bathrooms and bedrooms and kitchenware - her emotions and personal transformation are not. She finds herself growing strong and brave, discovering a knack for new tasks and forming relationships with people entirely unlike anyone she’s ever met. Dirty Work is an ode to the Canadian wilderness, but more importantly a deep musing on the simplicity with which human beings can adapt to new situations. Maxymiw and her comrades, despite wildly different personal histories, grow to care for one another deeply, all against the backdrop of one of the harshest terrains on earth.
Maxymiw’s writing carries Dirty Work, which likely wouldn’t work if penned by a less talented hand. Each sentence, even if describing the most unpleasant experience, is lovely and lyrical. Maxymiw has a gift for capturing human emotion in words, explaining the tension in a shared glance or the magic of an evening swim in the lake. I found so many of her descriptions of budding friendship, frustration and nostalgia similar to things I’ve felt in my life.
Dirty Work is without doubt one of my favourite reads of the year. It’s beautifully written and wholly original, and even if wilderness adventure stories aren’t your cup of tea you can rest assured that you will find something worth reading in this story.
“This is my new normal,” Ami McKay thinks to herself during a phone conversation with one of her many doctors. It’s 2001, she’s in her mid-thirties, and has just been informed she’s tested positive for Lynch Syndrome, a genetic mutation that will make her highly susceptible to various types of cancer.Read More
After taking a job as an apartment sitter in a storied New York City building, a young woman finds herself wrapped up in a terrifying and life-altering series of events.Read More
A mysterious condition called False Memory Syndrome causes New Yorkers to remember events that never happened.Read More
In her darkly hilarious new novel Mona Awad explores the nefarious side of female friendship, digging into the lives of an exclusive group of bubbly graduate students who refer to one another as Bunny. It’s a story of love, loss and maybe even murder.Read More
Trick Mirror covers a wide range of topics, from modern feminism to Fyre Festival, from the University of Virginia’s complicated history to the pressure women feel to get married, from dabbling in drug use to the oft-corrupting influence of religion.Read More
One woman is on the run, another is reported missing. How are they connected, and what was is about their lives they so desperately wanted to escape? Kimberly Belle takes readers on a wild cross-country ride in this riveting new thriller.Read More
A mother’s life is turned upside down when a masked intruder threatens the safety of her children and the stability of her home. With her trademark atmospheric prose, Helen Phillips takes us on a journey through every parents’ worst nightmare.Read More
Ruth Ware’s fifth suspense novel is just as riveting and atmospheric as its predecessors. A young woman finds herself caught up in a murder trial when one of the children she has been hired to nanny ends up dead, turning her life - and the lives of her employers - completely upside down.Read More