posted to the Numero Cinq website this morning, my first time writing for this well-respected online literary journal. I initially turned the assignment down when editor Douglas Glover (who should need no introduction around these parts - see my reviews of his work here and here) reached out to me, as Jeff has become a friend in recent years and I was uncomfortable reviewing him. But Glover sagely talked me into taking the assignment, and I thus turned it into an exercise on how to write a (at least I hope) credible and balanced review of somebody I socialize with. I have fairly fixed rules in my head about how to handle such pieces - at least for real publications like Numero Cinq, and less so for the mental dribblings I throw up here on the blog - and these rules mostly have to do with disclosure, tone, and a heightened sense of balance. Book reviewing is, for all its warts, an act of journalism, and we should stay forever attuned to the strictures of trustworthiness when reporting on those whom we know personally in the community - especially in a literary one as tiny as Canada's.
I won't say much more about Jeff's novel beyond what's in the review, other than to stress that it's a fascinating companion piece to his 2010 novel Verbatim and a book that readers should brace themselves to be challenged by.