By Lorna Crozier
Greystone Books, $23.95, 197 pages

In her memoir, Small Beneath the Sky, Canadian writer Lorna Crozier paints a poetic portrait of her childhood in the small Saskatchewan town of Swift Current. Her memoir is a story of place, where lilac bushes explode with fragrance and roses bloom in a variety of colors: “a mauve like the underside of a dove’s breast, a pale peach, a yellow the shade of a mango’s skin, four reds, a cream like the tasty pout that rose to the top of the old milk bottles in winter”. And Crozier’s memoir also is a story of family, where the small star that Crozier remembers travelling everywhere in the family car is the glowing red end of the lighter her father pulls from its socket, sweeping it in an arc to light his cigarette, and where a descent into the cellar to retrieve a jar of pickles becomes a metaphorical dip into the complexities of family: “Alkali grew through the cellar’s damp walls like a poisonous white mould. And the smells were funny there. Something sweet, something rotten, something growing”.

With chapters that range in length from twenty pages to a mere paragraph, Crozier’s memoir is smart, heart-felt, and lyrical; Crozier is a writer to watch.

Reviewed by Jennie Harrop