Canada Letter: Summer Advice From Librarians, American Friends

Megan Stecyk, Saskatoon Public Library, Saskatchewan:

“100 Days of Cree,” by Neal McLeod

“McLeod describes Cree as ‘the sexiest’ of all languages, and his book explores the humor, modernity and adaptability of today’s Cree. It’s easy to drop in to any page and learn the Cree word for the Death Star from Star Wars or a Tim Horton’s double-double, as well as traditional and seasonal phrases.”

“The Devourers,” by Indra Das

“This is Das’s first full fiction piece outside of his work in science fiction anthologies. It’s a raw, intense debut, well worth it for readers who enjoy folkloric creatures, unconventional romantic relationships and visceral (sometimes unsettling) storytelling.”

Michelle Patenaude, Vancouver Public Library, British Columbia:

“Son of a Trickster,” by Eden Robinson

“The first in a trilogy, ‘Son of a Trickster’ is an incredibly engaging, coming-of-age story of an indigenous teen in northern British Columbia. Eden Robinson’s almost magical ability to blend wry humor, magical realism and teenage reality will have you holding your breath for the next in the series.”

“Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber and Life With the Tree-Planting Tribe,” by Charlotte Gill

“Charlotte Gill spent nearly 20 years working as a tree planter in the forests of British Columbia. Her vivid descriptions of the landscapes and characters that she encountered in her work perfectly capture the beauty (and dirt) of our great wilderness.”

Caroline Land, Edmonton Public Library, Alberta:

“The Break” by Katherena Vermette

“In ‘The Break,’ Katherena Vermette crafts a story about a family dealing with the fallout of a terrible act of violence; through carefully constructed characters and multiple points of view, Vermette explores themes such as love and loss, tradition and modernity, intergenerational trauma and personal identity.”

Allison Hall-Murphy, Ottawa Public Library:

“The Best Kind of People,” by Zoe Whittall

“A sensitively observed, gripping exploration of the effects on a seemingly happy family after a husband and father is accused of sexual misconduct with his students.”

Deborah van der Linde, Morrin Cultural Centre, Quebec:

“The Blackthorn Key,” by Kevin Sands

“Who can resist a mystery full of adventure, puzzles, codes and an apprentice apothecary trying to save the world?”

For summer, in what is perhaps not a widely shared taste, I prefer thick biographies. This weekend I’ll be cracking open the 863 pages of “Marconi: The Man Who Networked The World,” a detailed look at the radio pioneer who later became a prominent fascist in Mussolini’s Italy. It is by Marc Raboy, a professor at McGill University in Montreal.

Alliances and Demands

Both my colleagues at The Interpreter and I have written about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s attempts to do an end run around President Donald J. Trump by dealing directly with state and local politicians. (Mr. Trudeau, by the way, rejects the term “end run.”)

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia at the National Governors Association meeting in Providence, R.I. Credit Stephan Savoia/Associated Press

Our reporter Alexander Burns attended the National Governors Association meeting in Rhode Island, where Mr. Trudeau spoke against trade protectionism and in favor of the continuation of action on climate change by Canada and the United States regardless of the Trump administration’s position.

Mr. Burns examined how several governors are bypassing the White House by directly reaching out to Canada and other countries. Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont, which borders Canada, has been making regular trips to the country. He told Mr. Burns that part of his mission was to let Canadians know that “we were there fighting on their behalf, and on our behalf as well.”

As for Mr. Trump, he broadly laid out this week what his administration wants from the talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement, which are expected to begin about a month from now. Alan Rappeport, my colleague in Washington, found that while much of the 17-page document describing the strategy is a refrain of Mr. Trump’s campaign rhetoric, it also, perhaps surprisingly, borrows ideas from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, another trade deal the president has spurned.

Read: Going Around Trump, Governors Embark on Their Own Diplomatic Missions

Read: U.S. Calls for ‘Much Better Deal’ in Nafta Overhaul Plan

Rebuilding

Catherine Porter was recently in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to follow up on Razak Iyal and Seidu Mohammed, who were found half frozen by a trucker last Christmas Eve after they had walked from the United States through snowy fields and bitter cold to make refugee claims in Canada. With the exception of Mr. Iyal’s right thumb, both men lost all their fingers after they were amputated because of extreme frostbite.

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Razak Iyal, left, and Seidu Mohammed met in a bus station in Minneapolis and fled together to Manitoba, hoping to escape their deportation orders to Ghana. Credit Aaron Vincent Elkaim for The New York Times

Both men have gained permission to remain in Canada permanently. But Ms. Porter found that some supporters are critical of the potentially fatal decisions to cross into Canada during the winter.

Read: After a Harrowing Flight From U.S., Refugees Find Asylum in Canada

Breaking Apart

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Miriam Johnson reflects on a breakup for this week’s Modern Love column Credit Brian Rea

Miriam Johnson, a Toronto-based documentary filmmaker and songwriter, reflected on a 12-hour breakup conversation for the Modern Love column. There is a link with the story to the Modern Love podcast.

Read: The 12-Hour Goodbye That Started Everything

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