Merilyn Simonds
Front cover, The Lion in the Room Next Door by Merilyn Simonds


.   Reviews & Interviews   .

Following are quotes from reviews of The Lion in the Room Next Door that appeared in Canadian, British, and American newspapers and magazines:

“These stories are wise, potent, and luminous. While casting a precise and unflinching light on personal moments both large and small, Simonds moves comfortably from clarity to mystery and back again without a single false step. By turns joyful and melancholy, this book is an event, a revelation of the fact that, for better or worse, everything matters.”
–Diane Schoemperlen

“Merilyn Simonds is an accomplished alchemist…It is the brilliance of her supple and sculptural prose – both startling and lulling, elliptical and straightforward, nuanced and bold – that elevates what she she has dreamed of her life to the status of art.”
National Post

“Beautifull wrought, emotionally complex, satisfying fiction. Simonds may be the next Alice Munro.”
Kirkus Reviews (U.S. starred review)

“The exactitude of description, the shocks of colour and imagery and the rhythmic, sonorous prose are an intoxication, a fierce and compelling joy…Here is a writer of powerful talent…”
Independent on Sunday (U.K.)

“This book achieves everything fiction can achieve, and it does so with strength and sureness, eloquence and sweetness. If Merilyn Simonds’s writing were a river, it would be natural, wide and deep.”
Montreal Gazette

“Vivid, wistful, beautifully shaped.”
–Elizabeth Hay

“Writing lapidary sentences, she has crafted stories so solid they seem sculpted, yet so delicate they remain full of mystery.”
Publishers Weekly (U.S.)

“Spellbinding…The Lion in the Room Next Door is a wonderfully evocative book, one reminiscent of the work of Alice Munro, and one to be read and re-read with astonished appreciation.”
London Free Press

“What is remarkable about these stories is the intensity of feeling in the writing and its sheer quality. The observation of the details of life are Chekhovian in their accuracy…”
Publishing News

“Lush, gorgeous, and evocative…charged with precise observation, generosity, acceptance and the magic that comes of looking closely at the world in which we all dwell.”
–Douglas Glover

“Haunting…The stories are seductive, melancholy and dark, sensual and sexual. Danger, assault, or loss is revealed, sometimes unexpectedly, or lurking just around the corner, just under the surface.”
Booklist (starred review)

“Simonds’ prose is taut and sound: she tells us only what counts, those images and experiences that linger in the heart and mind long after the actual event has passed.”
Quill & Quire

“As ambiguous and hyper-real as an Alex Colville painting, the stories are haunted by unseen presences and infused with the feeling that something extraordinary could happen any moment.”
Ottawa Citizen

“Merilyn Simonds maintains an effortless balance between the dictates of story and memory…these aren’t just the stories of one life; here are the patterns found in all our lives, richly celebrated.”
–Gail Anderson-Dargatz

The Lion in the Room Next Door is a finely wrought collection of stories. Travelling forward and back through the life of one woman, each tale is complete unto itself. Connected, they pose a riddle of where memory ends and fiction begins and whether there is any difference between the two.”
The New Brunswick Reader

“Simonds approaches the classic (fiction) style of early Alice Munro and Margaret Laurence — polished, well-observed tales with a mysterious, bittersweet aftertaste…The Lion in the Room Next Door is an accomplished, at times, exhilarating collection.”
Eye Magazine

“Written with delicacy and grace, illuminating both the nature of memory and the kind of work fiction can perform. It is a great pleasure to read Merilyn Simonds.”
–Hilary Mantel

For further comment, see:

“Saints, paints and sinners,” by Kathy Shaidle, Eye Magazine, April 15, 1999. arts/bg-fiction.html

“The Singer, Not the Song,” by Andrew Pyoer, The Globe and Mail, August 7, 1999.

“Memoirs as Such,” by Allan Hepburn, Literary Review of Canada, March, 2000.


Interview with Linda Richards,

Interview with The Arts Today, CBC Radio.

Interview with BookTV, January 2000. mediaed/ guidepage_booktv.asp?studyID=48

Interview with David Bright, Ffwd Magazine, May 27, 1999.