CONGRATULATIONS on featuring Margaret Laurence's last book in your August?September issue. The review of Dance on the Earth by Timothy Findley is sensitive and intelligent and, one supposes, quite what Margaret Laurence would have expected and hoped for. The review is a most sensible appreciation of the memoir and full of food for thought; it is a provocative evaluation. (One has to be grateful also, incidentally, for the sane, balanced, and mature review by Peter Buitenhuis of the Second Macmillan Anthology.)
But what is the explanation for and what can possibly justify the cover illustration for this number of Books in Canada? It resembles nothing so much as a viciously unflattering caricature of Margaret Laurence. Features of the original are discernible just barely. The hyperbolic wrinkles, the bizarrely augmented coiffure (at the left shoulder), the gross focus of the illustration, all that seems to constitute ? what? ? perhaps a mere lapse of taste, possibly a calculated affront. What, one wonders, was Rick Jacobson's intention? Did he know Margaret Laurence? It almost seems as though some sort of apology were in order.