» Literary Review of Canada
Unsolicited
June 1st, 2017, 08:30 AM
In a recent interview with the New Yorker, Margaret Atwood took note of her favourite sign at the Women’s March in Toronto in January, one of many hundreds of marches by many millions of women around the world. It read: “I can’t believe I’m still holding this fucking sign.” “After sixty years, why are we […]
Sketches of New Spain
June 1st, 2017, 08:30 AM
For devotees of the brilliant and largely forgotten 19th-century explorer, naturalist and scientist Alexander von Humboldt, the past year has been something of a bonanza. First came 2016’s The Invention of Nature: Alex­ander von Humboldt’s New World, the excellent biography by Andrea Wulf, which won the coveted £25,000 Royal Society prize in Britain for the best […]
Interlinguistic Planetary
June 1st, 2017, 08:30 AM
The surrealist novel begins life at a disadvantage: it must work hard to gain a reader’s trust. In place of mimesis it offers a dreamscape, a tilted horizon, a distorting lens. It sacrifices the depth of its characters for an oblique commentary on character in general, its mutability, its constituent elements, its materialist foundations. The […]
Home and Away
June 1st, 2017, 08:30 AM
In a recent essay in the Humber Literary Review, Jen Sookfong Lee writes about the lose-lose situation in which Canadian writers of colour often find themselves. On the one hand, she notes the senior editor who “just couldn’t justify taking on ‘one more Asian woman writing about her dead grandfather’ … when the number of […]
Book Value
June 1st, 2017, 08:30 AM
In 2016, while researching her new book, The Handover: How Bigwigs and Bureaucrats Transferred Canada’s Best Publisher and the Best Part of Our Literary Heritage to a Foreign Multinational, Elaine Dewar interviewed retired accountant Ronald Scott. Years earlier, while at Ernst & Young, Scott had penned an opinion on the market value of Canada’s most […]
Unhappy in Its Own Way
June 1st, 2017, 08:30 AM
My departure will upset you. I am sorry about that, but understand and believe that I could not act any other way. My situation at home is becoming, has become unbearable. Apart from everything else, [since] I can no longer live in these conditions of luxury in which I have been living, I am doing […]
A Very, Very Modest Proposal
June 1st, 2017, 08:30 AM
Triple E Senate? Dead. Electoral Reform? Moribund. Referendums? Post-Brexit, probably a fool’s errand. Constitutional amendments? Pretty much impossible. Breaking up the country? Never so unlikely in 50 years. Are changes to Canadian governance possible at all? Maybe. Now that all the big plays have failed, perhaps space has opened up for small ball, even for arguments that […]
A Tragedy of Our Own
June 1st, 2017, 08:30 AM
Over a period of many years, the deep conflict between Sikh nationalists and the Indian government had a reverberating impact on the Sikh diaspora, notably in Canada. Sikh immigration, first to British Columbia and then to many Canadian cities, predates the First World War. The hostility to the arrival of these newcomers was spread throughout […]
The Line Aquatic
June 1st, 2017, 08:30 AM
The dominant narrative of Canada’s biggest waterway, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, has been that of empire building, nation building and, more recently, globalization. As historian Donald Creighton boldly asserted in his classic The Commercial Empire of the St. Lawrence—quoted in the new anthology Border Flows: A Century of the Canadian-American Water Relationship —“the […]
Richard Florida’s Frankenstein Moment
June 1st, 2017, 08:30 AM
We live in an electronic age in which it seems almost everything can be done remotely. With email, Skype and collaborative tools in the cloud, we no longer need to share the same physical space in order to pursue much of our work. And globalization, online payments, ubiquitous delivery and endlessly streaming media mean that […]
In Praise of Boredom
June 1st, 2017, 08:30 AM
In a culture where fast replies, constant stimulation and the omnipresence of social media rule the day, you might not expect that boredom is a booming business. Yet it is true: scholars from philosophy, psychology, art history, sociology and history—among others—have all tossed in their two cents on this suddenly fashionable subject, and not just […]
Cultural Appropriation, Race & the Diversity-Industrial Complex
May 19th, 2017, 08:30 AM
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, 08:30 AM
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, 08:30 AM
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, 08:30 AM
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, […]