by Barry Webster
When you think of Magical Realism, Canada is not the first country to come to mind. Nonetheless, The Lava in My Bones takes place in Labrador, which is home to an interesting family headed by a religiously devout and intensely god-fearing mother. She is bent on saving her family after acquiring the urine of the Virgin Mary. Her husband is a fisherman who is hopelessly in love with a mermaid, her high school-aged daughter begins to seep honey through her skin, and her older geologist son begins to eat rocks after having his first same sex relationship. All kinds of poetic antics ensue, all of which involve nature and climate change. Delightfully unbelievable and ostentatiously improbable, its surreal and grandiose plot twists work to support novel's main point: challenging beliefs in regards to gender, love, sexuality and what is considered "natural."