“I don’t smoke and I’m no axe murderer,” says Richard Stevenson in his newest book, Riding On A Magpie Riff. This semi-autobiographical work is an endearing and lighthearted rendition of Stevenson’s rise in the literary world, as well as an in-depth exploration of what it means to be an aging artist. Stevenson weaves a complicated tapestry of art and politics within various colourful Canadian and foreign settings. Riding On A Magpie Riff combines several autobiographical plots in order to instruct as well as entertain the reader with the trials and tribulations of becoming a father, a writer and a breadwinner. The story moves all over the map from British Columbia to Nigeria, and to the prairies of Alberta. Stevenson ignores chronology, organizing his life into numerous themes that captivate and enmesh the reader. We are treated to interests in music, feathers, civil war cards, poetry, and the power of the story.