Message-in-a-Bottle

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We all love to be understood.

Sometimes it happens with a lover. Or in a classroom. Or over a meal.

And sometimes (not that often, really) it happens in a national newspaper. (Writing a book, I think, is like sending out a message-in-a-bottle. You just never know who’s going to get it, when, or how).

My book was reviewed in today’s (Saturday June 9) Globe and Mail by a writer named Mette Bach.

Here’s an excerpt from her review:

“Bociurkiw demonstrates a keen sense of comic timing in her dealings with her Ukrainian heritage, a nice juxtaposition for her philosophical questioning. From reconciling her sexuality against a backdrop of family conflict, to balancing her academic work with her artistic endeavours, Comfort Food for Breakups tells Bociurkiw’s empowering story.

Food has power. It can unify us and it can make us feel alienated. Having been the immigrant kid with the odd lunch of Danish meatballs and pickled beets, the stuff that the other kids liked to call dog food, I felt particular fondness for Bociurkiw’s childhood embarrassment (and then ambivalence and then pride) over her dad’s fondness for salo (pig’s fat). Bociurkiw recalls that while her father savoured his comfort food, ‘we kids would inflate our cheeks, pretending to suppress an attack of vomiting … even though it was completely legitimate by every known standard of every Canadian kid you knew, to say that salo was totally gross, your revulsion got transformed into something odd, then and there, and my dad’s weird un-Canadian behaviour became the most sophisticated thing in the world.’

Any food lover can appreciate that the book’s entire plot structure hinges so eloquently on cuisine. Hospitably, Bociurkiw includes some of her favourite recipes, giving readers an opportunity to add depth to their reading experience […] She starts with the raw ingredients and boldly crafts colourful characters and flavourful settings.”

I like that Bach wrote this through the lens of her own immigrant experience, and thus also picked up on (if only peripherally) the notion of hospitality, which provides a kind of ethical framework for the book (and perhaps for my life as well).

Always nice to be understood.

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