It was Dorothy Parker who heard a telephone ring and announced, "What fresh hell is this?"; In her fifty-two meditations on mothering, Fresh Hell (Demeter $14.95), Freudian scholar, Wreck Beach historian and Vancouver Public Library trustee Carellin Brooks has provided entertaining bleats and provocative analysis about the under-recognized roller-coaster ride of maternal child-rearing in the 21st century. Dorothy would approve. [SEE BELOW].

Born in Vancouver in 1970, Carellin Brooks grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah and Ottawa. A Rhodes Scholar with a doctorate in English literature from Oxford University, she enjoys biking, springboard diving and travelling.

As a self-described agnostic nudist, she had provided the best book about the nudist beach near UBC, Wreck Beach (New Star 2007). [See review below].

From Sigmund Freud's theories on penis envy to the desires of "testosterone-taking third-sexers," Carellin Brooks has also examined the proliferation of "phallic feminine figures" in North American and European writing since the end of the 19th century in Every Inch a Woman: Phallic Possession, Femininity, and the Text (UBC Press, 2005).

She has also edited Bad Jobs: My Last Shift at Albert Wong's Pagoda and Other Ugly Tales of the Workplace (Arsenal Pulp, 1998), a collection of memoirs from disgruntled workers, and co-edited Carnal Nation (Arsenal Pulp, 2000), a collection of "brave new sex fictions."

Brooks has worked as a Managing Editor for New Star Books and served as Vice-Chair of the Vancouver Library Board. She is an online instructor in Women's Studies at the University of British Columbia and has written freelance pieces for numerous magazines, newspapers,and more recently websites. She is keenly interested in issues facing writers including the age-old problem of making a living given new digital realities of ebooks, especially such aspects as royalties, publishing consortia and library borrowing models.

With an uncapitalized title, one hundred days of rain (Bookthug $20) won the 2016 Relit Award for best novel. It is a journal-style compendium of 99 days in the life of a woman who struggles to raise her child while coping with a disastrous break-up with her female ex-partner and the estranged father. Promotional materials draw a comparison to Elizabeth Smart's By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept but repetitive descriptions of rain in the Lower Mainland, giving rise to the title, are less memorable than Smart's classic tale of a woman being stranded in Pender Harbour, having a child out of wedlock and doomed to loving an egocentric, married man, in a more conservative time. The narrator's harried urban life is also less dire than being marooned in a tiny, coastal hamlet. Lots of white space and fractured narrative don't give rise to a memorable tale, but there's an underlying intelligence that serves as an original force. 978-177-166-090-7

BOOKS:

Bad Jobs: My Last Shift at Albert Wong's Pagoda and Other Ugly Tales of the Workplace (Arsenal Pulp, 1998). Editor.
Carnal Nation (Arsenal Pulp, 2000). Co-editor
Every Inch a Woman: Phallic Possession, Femininity, and the Text (UBC Press, 2005) $85. 0-7748-1209-5
Wreck Beach (New Star 2007) ISBN 978-1-55420-031-3.
Fresh Hell (Demeter 2013) $14.95 978-1-927335-32-1
one hundred days of rain (bookthug 2015) $20 978-177-166-090-7

[BCBW 2016]