» Literary Review of Canada
Cultural Appropriation, Race & the Diversity-Industrial Complex
May 19th, 2017, 12:52 PM
For anyone who has lost track amid all the twists and turns, just about a week ago the scandal that began with an editorial calling for a cultural appropriation prize was not so much as a twitch in anyone’s eye. In seven days, we have seen fundraising for the imaginary prize by some of the […]
Where We Have Been
May 1st, 2017, 12:52 PM
Throughout her new book, Road Through Time, Mary Soderstrom draws frequent comparisons between her own work and Jack Kerouac’s 1957 classic novel, On the Road. According to Soderstrom, Kerouac’s book is “emblematic of the romance of the road, of inviting paths taken or not taken … [a] sprawling chronicle of a hipster’s wanderings.” The subtitle […]
Against the Flow
May 1st, 2017, 12:52 PM
My musical coming of age occurred during the soulful, psychedelic 1970s, against the hypnotic groove of the Ohio Players, Kool and the Gang, and Earth, Wind & Fire. Well before that, when I was eleven, I had split my first allowance between Bill Withers (“Lean on Me”) and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes (“If […]
Alone in a Room
May 1st, 2017, 12:52 PM
Guy Delisle, who grew up in middle class Quebec City, has come to be known for sharply observed graphic-novel travelogues from very uncomfortable places (Pyongyang, Shenzhen, Rangoon, Jerusalem). A few years ago, when his wife left her job with Doctors Without Borders, the international non-governmental organization that led to so much of his foreign adventuring, […]
Goode for All Infermitys
May 1st, 2017, 12:52 PM
The curious manuscript texts transcribed and annotated in Preserving on Paper: Seventeenth-Century Englishwomen’s Receipt Books by the Edmonton-based scholar Kristine Kowalchuk are bound to raise a lot of questions for the 21st-century reader. For example: What are “musarunes,” which one may pickle and “put oyl upon them if you think fit”? (Mushrooms, the glossary helpfully […]
Shadow Stories
May 1st, 2017, 12:52 PM
A small family, circa 38,000 BCE, sleeps on a shared bed of bison hides and pine boughs. The family is “warm,” which in their rudimentary but allusive language connotes family, safety and comfort. “When they slept, they were the body of the family. That is how they thought of themselves together, as one body that lived and […]
The Post-Scarcity World
May 1st, 2017, 12:52 PM
The end of history seems so quaint now. Put forward by Francis Fukuyama in his 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man, the concept posited that with the fall of communism, liberal, capitalist democracy became a kind of end state for the world. It was the big-H teleological view of History espoused […]
The Outside Man
May 1st, 2017, 12:52 PM
The tell-all celebrity memoir falls victim to a strange paradox. Generally speaking, readers are drawn to such books by the promise of lascivious and decadent stories of life at the top: sex, drugs, rock ’n’ roll, and that whole outlandish Hollywood Babylon trip. The problem is that the more legendarily lewd and unruly the given […]
No Nudes, Please—We’re Canadian
May 1st, 2017, 12:52 PM
Wilderness has had a deep and abiding effect on this country’s ideas of northernness, the land, and national and cultural identity. For much of the 20th century, this connection was exemplified in the work of the Group of Seven, who helped cement the relationship between landscape and national identity, as they aimed to provide Canadians […]
Speaking of Dying
May 1st, 2017, 12:52 PM
Julia Cooper takes on the eulogy in literature, popular culture and social media in The Last Word: Reviving the Dying Art of Eulogy and, not surprisingly, finds it wanting as an outlet to assuage grief. She argues that “in a culture that sees death every day and yet hides the traces of grief that follow, […]
Why Trudeau Abandoned Electoral Reform
May 1st, 2017, 12:52 PM
It was incontestably part of the Liberal platform in 2015. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau solemnly pledged to change the electoral system so that the next election, presumably in 2019, would be decided by a new way to count votes. The Special Committee on Electoral Reform was created in the spring of 2016, and it delivered […]
“I Love Arguing!”
May 1st, 2017, 12:52 PM
“Guardian angel” are the words that come to mind when I think about my friend and mentor Tony Westell, although he would be the first to scoff at the religious nuance of the phrase. (Tony was a serious atheist.) I did not know Tony in the early stages of his rich and eventful life: a […]
Who, Us?
May 1st, 2017, 12:52 PM
Spite is a beautiful thing. Channelled correctly, it is the ultimate motivator—less blinding than revenge, more enduring than anger, as fulfilling as happiness without any of the delirium. The men and women in Legacy: How French Canadians Shaped North America are a testament to the power and necessity of this maligned sentiment. The book, edited […]
Haunted by Weird Willie
May 1st, 2017, 12:52 PM
“A strange man, a strange age, a strange country. There is more to Mac­kenzie King, and to Canada, than meets the eye.” In the mid 1970s, the writer of those words, political scientist Reg Whitaker, sat down in the reading room of the Public Archives in Ottawa to study the newly released volumes of the King […]
The Animals Next Door
May 1st, 2017, 12:52 PM
A dramatic rescue took place recently in one of the most dangerous places on earth, the Iraqi city of Mosul. Hundreds of thousands of Mosul’s residents had fled the war zone, where Iraqi forces have battled ISIS. Among those left behind were two residents of the abandoned Muntazah al-Nour zoo. With no warden to feed or […]