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December 2, 2021

 
 
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Canadian cellist Ian Hampton is back in the spotlight – as an RBC Taylor Prize-nominated memoir writer
 

Rob/RBC Taylor Prize

  Canadian cellist Ian Hampton is back in the spotlight – as an RBC Taylor Prize-nominated memoir writer
 

Becky Toyne

Celebrated cellist Ian Hampton has spent a lifetime on show: with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony, the CBC Vancouver Orchestra and the Purcell String Quartet, which he co-founded, to name but a few.
 
He has been applauded by colleagues as a musical pioneer and is highly respected for his decades as an educator to young musicians. With a résumé that might sum up two lifetimes of work, he was, in his own words, “gracefully disappearing into retirement.” That is, until his first foray into a new discipline thrust him, solo, into the spotlight.
 
Hampton’s first book, Jan in 35 Pieces: A Memoir in Music (The Porcupine’s Quill), published when he was 83, has been shortlisted for the prestigious RBC Taylor Prize. The prize has been recognizing the best Canadian literary non-fiction since 2000. Past winners include Tanya Talaga, Rosemary Sullivan, Thomas King and Charles Foran.
 
 
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Book reviews
 
In the Closet of the Vatican exposes gay life at the highest levels of the Catholic church
 

VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images

  In the Closet of the Vatican exposes gay life at the highest levels of the Catholic church
 

Aidan Johnson

  • Title: In the Closet of the Vatican
  • Author: Frédéric Martel
  • Genre: Non-Fiction
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury
  • Pages: 576
 
Bernard Lonergan, the great Canadian Catholic theologian, once said: “The church always arrives on the scene a little breathless and a little late.” LGBTQ rights is one key scene to which the church is now arriving: Pope Francis has made historic gestures of love in the direction of queer people. But, why the institutional lateness?
 
Gay French journalist Frédéric Martel supplies some answers in his controversial new book, In the Closet of the Vatican, released on Feb. 21 in eight languages. Martel reports that a majority of prelates in the Vatican are gay. Many of these are celibate. But a striking number of the celibates, as Martel describes, are nonetheless deeply invested in an old-fashioned gay identity: campy, aesthetic and gender-bending. Many others are sexually active. A large number of those are discreetly partnered. Others employ adult male sex workers of various kinds, with differing degrees of frequency.
 
 
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Review: Paranoia and the paranormal collide in Andrew Pyper’s The Homecoming
  Review: Paranoia and the paranormal collide in Andrew Pyper’s The Homecoming
 

Carly Lewis

  • Title: The Homecoming
  • Author: Andrew Pyper
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Pages: 353
 
On both the page and in the living world, the genre of funereal family drama is one from which outrageous histories are often mined, death like a diary opened to the stormiest part, secrets liberated and finally told. The framework is universal enough that even the most obvious tropes make for good stories. Grief is a familiar place. Grief as a genre of fiction is, too.
 
But in Andrew Pyper’s latest novel (his seventh), The Homecoming, expectations of how families mourn are thrashed into omnifarious detours with such maniacal, frazzled, horrifying ferocity one assumes the book was written beneath a full moon.
 
After the death of their often absent and emotionally unavailable father, the Seattle-based Quinlan siblings – narrator Aaron, a surgeon left traumatized by the horrors of working in a conflict zone, and his sisters Bridge, a teenager 22 years younger than him, and Franny, a recovering heroin user mourning the loss of her own young son – and their mother are hauled off in limousines. Upon arriving at their father’s quietly owned estate, called Belfountain, the Quinlans learn that in order to receive their $30-million inheritance, they must remain on the property without their phones or any outside contact for a full month. Shortly after, an apathetic lawyer leaves them to begin the residency they didn’t ask for, and another family arrives, for the same reason. Unbeknownst to the first Quinlan clan, there is a second, fathered and absently half-raised by the same man. “’All those years we thought he was ours,’ says [Aaron’s mother], ‘he was yours, too.’” What ensues is a thriller of ominous betrayal that dips into paranoia and the paranormal as the Quinlans learn the truth of where they are and where they came from. It’s part Brady Bunch, part Survivor, part nightmare.
 
 
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Review: Ausma Zehanat Khan’s A Deadly Divide tells truths that non-fiction would struggle to communicate
 

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  Review: Ausma Zehanat Khan’s A Deadly Divide tells truths that non-fiction would struggle to communicate
 

Sarah Weinman

  • Title: A Deadly Divide
  • Author: Ausma Zehanat Khan
  • Genre: Crime
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • Pages: 370 pages
 
“Sometimes the monsters we fear aren’t on the opposite side.” Inspector Esa Khattak, one-half of the Community Policing detective duo in Ausma Zehanat Khan’s series of crime novels, utters this line to his partner, Sergeant Rachel Getty. He says this to Rachel for a specific reason: a mass shooting in a mosque located in a small town just over the border where Ottawa meets Gatineau Park, one that will cause untold personal, political and professional complications for the both of them. But that line sums up what crime fiction does best: blurring the edges between strictly defined vantage points in order to reckon with the human cost of murder.
 
 
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Books news and more
 
Tanya Talaga saw Massey Lectures as ‘an opportunity to send a message’ about the legacy of Indigenous cultural genocide
 

Christopher Katsarov

  Tanya Talaga saw Massey Lectures as ‘an opportunity to send a message’ about the legacy of Indigenous cultural genocide
 

Brad Wheeler

 
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Start March off on the right foot with three book-themed recommendations
 

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  Start March off on the right foot with three book-themed recommendations
 
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Main Galloway complainant seeks publication ban
 

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

  Main Galloway complainant seeks publication ban
 

Marsha Lederman

 
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In case you missed it
 
Meet the self-published Canadian cookbook author who outsold Jamie and Ina
 

Julie/The Globe and Mail

  Meet the self-published Canadian cookbook author who outsold Jamie and Ina
 

Julie Van Rosendaal

 
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Portugal River Cruise
 
Experience Portugal’s unique landscapes, cuisine and history on this custom-built 11-day tour that begins in the vibrant capital of Lisbon and continues to the beautiful city of Porto where we embark on a Cruise through the spectacular Douro River Valley. All the while, Globe journalists will be there to narrate the very best the region has to offer, from UNESCO World Heritage sites to famed Port houses to the spectacular landscapes.
 
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