Sunday, August 1, 2010

Taddle Creek

Summer Number 2010

It's always a treat when a new issue of Taddle Creek, the Toronto literary magazine, comes out.  This summer, the people at the magazine did something a little different, breaking their injunction against non-Torontonian contributors, and decided to make an 'Out of Towner' edition, featuring a variety of work from places other than Toronto.

There is strong fiction by Michael Christie ('The Quiet' is about a teenage car thief),  Danielle Egan ('Strange Attractors' tells of a really bad trip a couple makes to the woman's parents' house, and the bizarre events that follow), and David Ross (who actually lives in Toronto).

There is a section of photographs depicting Saint John, New Brunswick in the sixties, before urban renewal made some drastic changes, and a cool profile of novelist Lee Henderson.  In addition to the usual comic page by Dave Lapp, there are comics by Jason Turner and David Collier.

My favourite part of the magazine was a series of short essays by Sarah Gilbert about the Mile End neighbourhood of Montreal.  Gilbert lives in the area, and has been writing about the people that make up this community, which is in the early stages of gentrifying.  She does a terrific job of portraying people from different ends of the gentrification spectrum.  We read about the owner of Maple Leaf Hat and Cap, a company that has been there since 1930; the artist who has worked to protect neighbourhood trees from bicycle lock damage by planting around them; a recently deceased gardener who grew lemons, olives, and grapes in his backyard (and was a fixture of the community); and about the woman who has turned a vacant lot into an example of land art.  These profiles are quick yet detailed, and when read together, really give a sense of the place.

There's some other stuff in this magazine too, but that's what I liked about it.

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