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Review: Taylor Lambert’s Darwin’s Moving, Dina Del Bucchia’s Don’t Tell Me What To Do and Dr. Martina Scholtens’s Your Heart Is the Size of Your Fist

Darwin's Moving

By Taylor Lambert

NeWest Press, 152 pages, $19.95

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Maybe you didn't think you wanted to read a book about a small moving company in Calgary, but isn't it odd, considering how pervasive movers are and the nature of their work, that almost nothing is written about them in Canada? Taylor Lambert has worked for Darwin's Moving & Deliveries for nearly a decade. Like everyone else at the company, it's work he drifted into. Part of this book's appeal is the fascination in understanding the art of a thing. What makes the best mover? And why is it the best mover Lambert knows is an unreliable, sometimes violent man familiar with the swings of addiction? Lambert is particularly attentive to his subjects' limited life choices and paints them as complex people, without condoning their actions. One area that warrants further examination is the way in which these lives intersect with white supremacy, because Lambert names this. Darwin's Moving is about Calgary but it's a larger story, too, about the ways Darwin's Moving is not unique, about class and the often-transient men tasked with moving our homes.

Don't Tell Me What to Do

By Dina Del Bucchia

Arsenal Pulp Press, 278 pages, $17.95

The theme of this collection is all in the title: Don't tell me what to do. With one exception, the anti-heroes of these 15 stories are exclusively female. This in itself is remarkable, allowing women this socially awkward badness. These people aren't here to make you like them. "Don't tell me what to do." On the other side of that statement is the expectation someone would tell you. When does that telling happen, and how? For the most part, Del Bucchia's characters aren't breaking any laws. There's no law against attending funerals for the free food, just as there's no law against lavishing your co-workers with superfluous, increasingly elaborate gifts – but you'll get censured for both, because the conventions governing these are so entrenched, you shouldn't need telling. (There are laws against stealing, but for some reason your dreams for spending the jackpot are supposed to be larger than the West Edmonton Mall.) Del Bucchia is at her best drawing out the agonizing social interaction. Fiction not as moral guide but in search of accomplices.

Your Heart Is the Size of Your Fist: A Doctor Reflects on Ten Years at a Refugee Clinic

By Dr. Martina Scholtens

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Brindle & Glass, 224 pages, $22

From 2005 to 2015, Dr. Martina Scholtens worked as a family doctor at Bridge Refugee Clinic in Vancouver – British Columbia's only clinic dedicated to initial health assessment and primary care for refugees. Her memoir recounting the lessons she learned treating patients from around the globe is the first book by a Canadian doctor on the subject of refugee health in Canada. It is both an eye-opening account for Canadians wanting to understand the challenges facing refugees and a strong argument for refugee health, including mental health, to receive dedicated treatment and funding. Refugee health poses specific challenges: Many patients suffer the after-effects of trauma while also navigating different cultural expectations in everything from sexual and reproductive health to mental health and preventive care. Your Heart Is the Size of Your Fist is also about the person in the white coat: a mother trying to find balance between the personal and professional, and a doctor whose patients expanded her notions of what a doctor should be.

Michael Redhill has won the $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize for his novel 'Bellevue Square,' about a woman on the hunt for her doppelganger. The Toronto author says it would have been foolish to imagine he could win the award. The Canadian Press
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