Reviews

Phantom Limb

Michael Hayward

A good essayist is at all times quizzical, and in Phantom Limb (Thistledown) Theresa Kishkan is better than good as she explores the complexity and magic of the natural world, extracting what is essential from the sacred as well as from the mundane. Many of these essays are rooted in B.C.’s Sechelt Peninsula as Kishkan reads the stories that reside within her local landscape: exploring the ecosystem of a neighbouring estuary she reflects on “the passage of families throughout history and landscape”; watching coho spawn in a nearby creek she sees “a parable of leaving and returning”; in “An Autobiography of Stars” she uses quilting and constellations as metaphors to explore the love of a mother for her daughter. There is a richness of feeling in Kishkan’s writing, a blend of clear-eyed observation and reflection that makes Phantom Limb a true pleasure to read, and a worthy companion to Red Laredo Boots, the collection that first brought this fine writer—poet, novelist and essayist—to my attention.

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