Barring a few twists, turns and name changes, Either Side of 55 is a reflection of a period of the author's life, and offers insight into the lives of the men who blazed survey lines and staked and jumped claims on both sides of the 55th Parallel in the quest for mineral riches for themselves and their employers.
Among the Air India 182 bombing mystery, lies, cover-ups, court trials, conspiracy theories and missing tapes, the stories of the 82 murdered children have remained lost. It's these hidden stories, messages, and lives that B.C. poet Renée Sarojini Saklikar resurrects in her BC Book Prize-nominated book of poetry.
In my 17-year-old mind, nothing I am living through or reading in this moment connects. Disjointed words, phrases, and images of the places I have left and entered surface in my mind as I pour milk for the children, take notes in class, or wait, endlessly, for the bus to arrive. It will take years to understand how powerful these textual and lived journeys have been.
One day, Shauna Singh Baldwin gave her grandmother a notebook and suggested that she write down her personal stories. What emerged were pages of personal memories of the trauma of partition - and it was the first time Shauna and her family heard about their grandmother's experiences. "I realized that until then, my grandfather had been the person who told my grandmother's stories about Partition," she said.
Canadian playwright (screenwriter and director and producer) extraordinaire Brad Fraser has been lighting up Canada's literary scene for many years. Outside of his stage projects, he shares his blunt take on politics and other hot topics in Xtra Magazine every month in his Fraser's Edge column. Like the man himself, his columns are reasoned, outspoken, often witty, and never boring.