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Book Reviews in September 2001 Issue

Note from Editor
Note from the Editor
by Olga Stein
Eva Stachniak's deeply moving novel, Necessary Lies, published by Dundurn Press, is like nearly all well-written novels, layered with many themes, all worthy of comment or discussion, all important. Every reader will, of course, find his or her own meaning in this tale of a Polish academic, who leaves Poland just before the birth of the Solidarity movement and the political upheavals in the 1980s for a teaching stint at Montreal's McGill University.
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The Vintage Book of Canadian Memoirs
by Fetherling, George, ed.

Vintage (Random House)
582 pages $24.95 paper
ISBN: 0679310622
Book Review
Lives Well Arranged
by Clara Thomas
From Margaret Atwood to Eric Wright this is a timely publication if ever there was one. Never have Memoirs been more popular or saleable, and never before, I believe, has there been a collection of excerpts from the especially rich and wide-ranging Canadian field.
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Pain: Journeys Around My Parents
by Keith Garebian

Mosaic Press
170 pages $20 paper
ISBN: 0889627096
Book Review
For Family and the Written Word
by Lorne Shirinian
Keith Garebian's memoir, Pain: Journeys Around My Parents, confronts and provokes the reader with its frank portrayal of growing up in a family marked by marginality in a society where race and status are important factors. It also challenges the reader through its eclectic style that on the surface, at least, appears to be postmodern. But it is so much more. The title refers to Garebian's journey around his parents for the sake of seeing them from all angles.
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Generica: A novel
by Will Ferguson

Penguin
309 pages $24 paper
ISBN: 014029984X
Book Review
It's a Mad, Mad World
by Julie Chibbaro
Pic Will Ferguson Will Ferguson previously plunged his sharp teeth into Canadian and Japanese societies, penning biting satires that reveal these countries' foibles. Books like Why I Hate Canadians set the acid level for his caustic eye, which he now turns on America in the form of a novel, Generica. The results are wickedly brilliant. The hero of Generica is Edwin de Valu "(a.k.a. Ed, a.k.a. Eddie, a.k.a.
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Araby Signal Editions
by Eric Ormsby

VThicule Press
75 pages $12 paper
ISBN: 1550651455
Book Review
All the Perfumes of Arabia
by W. J. Keith
In most dictionaries, Araby is defined as a "poetic" word for Arabia, but poetry-lovers old enough to remember James Elroy Flecker and the golden journey to Samarcand, who might expect camel-caravans moving languorously into a romantic sunset, will be in for a surprise. The title is, in fact, one of Eric Ormsby's subtle jokes.
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Orwell: Wintry Conscience of a Generation
by Jeffrey Meyers

New York: W.W. Norton & Company
380 pages $42 cloth
ISBN: 039304792X
Book Review
Facing BiG Brother
by Robert Sibley
George Orwell is one of the few 20th-century writers whose name evokes our barbarous age. "Orwellian" has entered the language as an adjective for describing all those tyrannical ideologies that made the last century the bloodiest in history.
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Justice As Fairness: A Restatement Edited by Erin Kelly
by John Rawls

Harvard University Press
214 pages $17.95 paper
ISBN: 0674005112
Book Review
Rawls' Road to Political Liberalism
by Rory A. A. Hinton
For the past thirty years political theorists have been preoccupied in large part with trying to answer the following question: How is it possible for a stable and just society of free and equal citizens to exist when these citizens are profoundly divided by reasonable, though incompatible, religious, philosophical, and moral doctrines? Anyone familiar with this question will know that it finds its contemporary genesis in a book that single-handedly breathed life into a subject that Peter Lasl
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Virtue, Vice, and Value
by Thomas Hurka

Oxford: Oxford University Press $55 cloth
ISBN: 0195137167
Book Review
The ins and outs of Virtue and Vice
by Richard Davis
According to the nineteenth century English philosopher John Stuart Mill, all human beings desire to live lives pregnant with happiness; we all long to be the recipients of liberal amounts of varied, high quality pleasures with pain making as brief an appearance in our conscious experience as possible. Happiness is the one and only thing we desire for its own sake; everything else is desirable simply as a means to securing happiness. Perhaps this is so.
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Dazzler: The Life and Times of Moss Hart
by Steven Bach

Alfred A. Knopf
462 pages $44.95 cloth
ISBN: 037541150X
Book Review
A Dazzling Impresario. Remembering Moss Hart
by Sam Ajzenstat
Pic Moss Hart From 1930 to 1960 George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, a couple of "unacknowledged legislators" on the truly supreme courts of Broadway and Hollywood put a spin on the phrase "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" that still helps to define America for many people for whom "Kaufman and Hart" is only a vague memory. The archetypal moment occurs when the Marx Brothers leap fully formed from Kaufman's head.
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A Grand Guy: The Art and Life of Terry Southern
by Lee Hill

HarperCollins
343 pages $41.5 cloth
ISBN: 0380977869
Now Dig This: The Unspeakable Writings of Terry Southern, 1950-1995
by Terry Southern, Nile Southern, Lee Server

Grove Press
263 pages $40 cloth
ISBN: 0802116892
Book Review
The Very Definition of Hip
by T. F. Rigelhof
Nobody said Mordecai Richler was hip or cool, did they? In all the hundreds and hundreds of things that were said and got printed in the days after Richler died, nobody said anything like, "I really dug that cat, man. Mort was hip, man, he was one cool daddy-o," did they? If anyone stepped out of that time warp, I completely missed it.
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On Snooker: The Game and the Characters Who Play It
by Mordecai Richler

Knopf Canada
194 pages $29.95 cloth
ISBN: 0676973728
Book Review
On Snooker and Writing
by L. M. Morra
On one level, Mordecai Richler's On Snooker: The Game and the Characters Who Play It is a series of essays that cursorily examine the origin, rules, and history of the game, and the professional development, achievements, and personal lives of such snooker champions or "characters" as Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, Ronnie O'Sullivan, and John Higgins. Richler observes that journalist A. J. Liebling has also been seen to describe sports figures as "characters.
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A Student of Weather
by Elizabeth Hay

McLelland and Stewart
364 pages $17.99 cloth
ISBN: 0771037902
Book Review
Weathering Desire and Unrequited Love
by Cindy MacKenzie
"The sun is pouring down, the air is sweet with the smell of caragana in yellow blossom, and it occurs to her for the first time that her own unrequited love affair has always been nestled inside the larger one between Saskatchewan and Ontario. Saskatchewan so bitter, tenacious, aware. Ontario so careless and immune. An affair between two landscapes and two histories no less real, and no less ongoing than are certain romances between people
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Milosevic and Markovic: a Lust for Power Translated by Alex Dubinski
by Slavolub Djukic

McGill-Queen's University Press
183 pages $37.95 cloth
ISBN: 0773522166
The Rasputin File
by Edward Radzinsky

Doubleday
479 pages $44.95 cloth
ISBN: I58648043X
Book Review
Pure and Simple Lust for Power
by Fred A. Reed
Where are they now, the vainglorious, power-hungry men who strutted across the Balkan stage during the long nightmare of the 1990s, directing squads of paramilitary cut-throats or high-flying night bombers? Abducted from his Belgrade redoubt, former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic now awaits trial at the hands of the Hague (read "NATO") Tribunal. Mr. Milosevic fetched a hefty $1.3 billion, making him the first head of state to be privatized.
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The Ash Garden
by Dennis Bock

Harper Flamingo Canada
281 pages $34 paper
ISBN: 0002255243
Book Review
Another View of The Ash Garden
by Keith Nickson
The editors at HarperCollins must have slipped into a state of rapture when they saw how our national newspapers reacted to the launch of Dennis Bock's first novel, The Ash Garden, on August 25¨the very cusp of the frenzied fall book season. In The Globe and Mail, Bock was ordained as a hybrid of Updike, Cheever, and Mavis Gallant who had learned like an acolyte from Ondaatje and Urquhart while avoiding their "narrative excesses.
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Sex: An Anthology
by edited by Beverley Daurio & Anna Rumley

The Mercury Press
223 pages $18.95 paper
ISBN: 1551280884
Book Review
Teasing without Follow-through
by Gloria Hildebrandt
The title "Sex: An Anthology" attracts attention. Intrigues you. Raises your expectations. Lifts your hopes. You anticipate stimulating reading. The cover blurb promises more. "What is pleasure, and how is it conveyed in fiction?" it asks. "These delightful stories explore the sensual and the sexual with an urban, open edge ű fearlessly, dramatically, and in spirited wantonness." Lovely, you think, and settle back into soft, plump pillows to be swept away by wanton tales of passion
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Kingdom of Monkeys
by Adam Lewis Schroeder

Raincoast Books
196 pages $19.95 paper
ISBN: 1551924048
What's Left Us
by Aislinn Hunter

Polestar
200 pages $19.95 paper
ISBN: 1551924129
Book Review
All Manner of Peregrinations. Two Short Story Collections from Vancouver
by Joan Givner
These two collections, each consisting of six stories and a novella, are by Vancouver-based writers who have recently emerged from British Columbia's creative writing programs, and bear the stamp that readers have come to expect from that source. In fact, the recent crop of graduates is so good and so numerous that it has caused journalists to pontificate once more on the effectiveness of creative writing classes.
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Interviews
Rules of Engagment in Love and War. An Interview with Catherine Bush
by Nancy Wigston
Born in Toronto in 1961, Catherine Bush has also lived in Montreal, New York, London and Provincetown, Massachusetts. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from Yale, has worked as an arts journalist and dance critic, taught creative writing at Humber School for Writers and at Concordia University, and has attended Yaddo and MacDowell writers' colonies.
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Interviews
A Brilliant Career. An Interview with Michael Harris
by David Solway
The author of six books of poetry, including New and Selected Poems and In Transit, Michael Harris has edited several anthologies, most recently The Signal Anthology of Contemporary Canadian Poetry. Twice a prize-winner in the CBC Literary Competition, including First Prize for Poetry in 1988, he has edited almost sixty poetry books for his Signal Editions imprint (VThicule Press, Montreal) as well as translated the complete poetry of Marie-Claire Blais (Veiled Countries\ Lives).
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Essays
Michael Taube
I am pleased to join Books in Canada as a monthly columnist reviewing works of non-fiction. The task at hand is a difficult one, however. Not in terms of writing my column, but rather getting BiC readers intrigued by works of politics, history, and economics. Some people are genuinely scared off by non-fiction, including editors. I know of journalists who have struggled¨and often failed¨to sell book reviews on international topics. Unless the author's name is recognizable, as with William F.
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Essays
George Fetherling
A.J.A. Symons¨the initials, he was reluctant to admit, stood for Alphonse James Albert¨wrote the beginnings of many full-sized books and actually completed one that became quite famous, first as a cult favourite, savoured by a small band of devotees, and finally as part of the mainstream, available to all in an orange-spined Penguin. Now, The Quest for Corvo, subtitled "An Experiment in Biography," has come out in an entirely new edition, with an introduction by A.S.
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Essays
Hemingway Finds Eros in Africa
by Christopher Ondaatje
Pic Hemingway with his fourth wife, Mary, 1953-54 All I wanted to do now was to get back to Africa. We had not left it yet. But when I would wake in the night I would lie, listening, homesick for it already. Ernest Hemingway, Green Hills of Africa Ernest Hemingway was the first great American literary celebrity of the 20th century. By the time of his death in 1961, he was an international legend.
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Conflicting Desire
by A. F. Moritz

Ekstasis Editions
75 pages $14.95 paper
ISBN: 1896860850
Prose/Poetry
Journey Toward Meaning
by Richard Greene
Despite being short-listed for the Governor General's Award in 2000, A. F. Moritz is that rarity among Canadian poets, one more venerated abroad than at home. He has received, among many honours, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Award in Literature of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. His work is a constant presence in major American anthologies. W. S. Merwin calls him "a poet of originality, daring, and projection," with "a remarkable voice and range of imagination.
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Electric Light
by Seamus Heaney

Faber & Faber
81 pages $14.99 cloth
ISBN: 0571207626
Prose/Poetry
A Mind Enchanted by Language
by Kildare Dobbs
After his magisterial translation of Beowulf, which made some of us feel we never knew the Anglo-Saxon epic before¨in my case for the excellent reason that I never knew the Anglo-Saxon epic before¨comes a collection of poems that discover Heaney in his own time and place. Instead of the dreary sea and windswept world, beset by storms and monsters, he offers the narrow rooms of childhood on the farm, the milking parlour, the angers of Ulster, the fatigues of travel.
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Prose/Poetry
Five Pieces For Irving Layton
by Kenneth Sherman
"It is good to wish for strong models." Elias Canetti * 1 * In 1969, as I was about to leave for Israel where I would work for the summer as a volunteer on a Kibbutz, enlightened friends of my parents bought me a gift: the 1969 edition of Irving Layton's Selected Poems. The book was electrifying. I was immediately struck by the highly charged, visceral texture of Layton's language, the urgency of his voice.
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Up Front
A Note from our friends at Amazon.com
by Marven Krug,Steve Duda,Tom Nissley
One of the few things more gratifying than discovering a new author is passing the word on to someone else. At Amazon.com, we take great care in helping our worldwide community of book lovers find and discover new, important, entertaining works of literature. As first-year sponsors of the Amazon.com/ Books in Canada First Novel Award, it's been our great pleasure to spend time with the work of so many outstanding new Canadian novelists.
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Generica: A novel
by Will Ferguson

Penguin
309 pages $24 paper
ISBN: 014029984X
Martin Sloane
by Michael Redhill

Doubleday Canada
280 pages $29.95 paper
ISBN: 0385259220
Canterbury Beach
by Anne Simpson

Penguin/Putnam
309 pages
ISBN: 0670894842
All Worldly Pursuits
by Hillel Wright

New Orphic Publishers
197 pages $20 paper
ISBN: 0968731767
Flying in Silence
by Gerry Turcotte

Cormorant Books
309 pages $19.95 paper
ISBN: 1896951279
First Novels
First Novels
by W.P Kinsella
All Worldly Pursuits. by Hillel Wright, (New Orphic Publishers, 197 pages, $20.00, ISBN: 0968731767) is an autobiographical novel tempered by imagination. With luminous and articulate writing Wright tells the story of Wiley Moon, a world traveler with the wanderlust of his immigrant Jewish ancestors who escaped to America to avoid persecution. In the psychedelic Sixties Wiley meets and marries Crystal; they have four children and experiment with a back-to-the-earth lifestyle.
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A Perfect Arrangement
by Suzanne Berne

Algonquin Books
320 pages $36.95 cloth
ISBN: 1565122615
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by Nancy Wigston
Fiction New England writer Suzanne's Berne's enthralling debut work, A Crime in the Neighbourhood, shot out of nowhere to win Britain's prestigious Orange Prize. A Perfect Arrangement (Algonquin Books, 320 pages, $36.95, cloth, ISBN: 1565122615), Berne's second novel, revisits familiar territory: the flawed American family with its illusions about safe neighbourhoods¨with a twist, however.
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The Notorious Astrological Physician of London: Works and Days of Simon Forman
by Barbara Howard Traister

University of Chicago Press
232 pages $30 cloth
ISBN: 0226811409
Brief Reviews
Brief Reviews
by Barry Goldlist
Biography Modern thinking concerning "quacks" can follow two paths: First, proven 'scientific' treatment is available, but some charlatan (the quack) offers useless or frankly injurious therapy for personal gain (usually financial); alternatively, 'scientific' medicine has little or nothing to offer (e.g. end-stage cancer resistant to therapy), and the quack engenders false hope by providing therapy nonetheless. Both opinions are reasonable only if useful therapies actually exist.
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Footnotes: Dancing the World's Best-Loved Ballets
by Frank Augustyn, Shelley Tanaka

Key Porter Kids
96 pages $24.95 cloth
ISBN: 1552632857
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Jeffrey Canton
What a season we have before us. September starts off with a hoard of new and exciting fiction by children's and young adult writers as diverse as Arthur Slade, Mary Sheppard, Cora Taylor, Michael Bedard, Julie Johnston, Brian Doyle, Teresa Toten, Cary Fagan, Sarah Withrow and Eva Wiseman.
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Children's Books
Children's Books
by by Hadley Dyer
Pic National Ballet of Canada's Martine Lamy as Dr Coppelius's doll. Former National Ballet of Canada principle dancer Frank Augustyn and award-winning author Shelley Tanaka look at seven classic ballets and the people who have brought them to life in Footnotes: Dancing the World's Best-Loved Ballets, which takes inspiration from the television series of the same name.
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Dust
by Arthur Slade

HarperCollins Canada
170 pages $14 paper
ISBN: 0006485936
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Jeffrey Canton
Arthur Slade's literary inventiveness is wonderful. His Northern Frights series of young adult novels, for example, uses the darker side of Icelandic folktales and legends in contemporary Canadian settings to great effect. But unfortunately the quality of the writing never quite matches the breathtaking imaginative leaps that he offers young readers. And, sad to say, his new novel Dust suffers from the same ailment. It's a tour de force idea that doesn't quite work after take-off.
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Boy's Own: An Anthology of Canadian Fiction for Young Readers
by edited by Tim Wynne-Jones

Penguin Books Canada
297 pages $26 paper
ISBN: 0670893048
Girl's Own: An Anthology of Canadian Fiction for Young Readers
by edited by Sarah Ellis

Penguin Books Canada
348 pages $26 paper
ISBN: 0670893447
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Lena Coakley
Teachers, librarians and young readers alike will appreciate the splendid writing in these two new anthologies edited by well-loved Canadian children's authors, Sarah Ellis and Tim Wynne-Jones. The short stories, novel excerpts and picture book texts featured here are some of Canada's best examples of writing for middle readers and the younger side of young adults.
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When I went to the Library: Writers Celebrate Books and Reading
by edited by Debora Pearson

Groundwood Books
128 pages $18.95 paper
ISBN: 0888994230
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Theo Heras
The only way in which I can approach this book is personally. That is not because I am a children's librarian and delighted that such a book exists. Rather, it is because I vividly remember my own very first visit to the local public library and receiving a library card. This is a book with a purpose, as it says in the title, to celebrate books and reading. The purpose immediately establishes a certain expectancy. Eric Beddows's idyllic cover illustration creates an atmosphere.
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Emily: Across the James Bay Bridge
by Julie Lawson

Penguin Canada
84 pages $7.99 paper
ISBN: 0141002506
Our Canadian Girl series Rachel: A Mighty Big Imagining
by Lynne Kositsky

Penguin Canada
76 pages $7.99 paper
ISBN: 0141002522
Marie-Claire: Dark Spring
by Kathy Stinson

Penguin Canada
86 pages $7.99 paper
ISBN: 0141003286
Penelope: Terror in the Harbour
by Sharon E. McKay

Penguin Canada
78 pages $7.99 paper
ISBN: 0141003294
Prairie as Wide as the Sea: The Immigrant Diary of Ivy Weatherall (Dear Canada)
by Sarah Ellis

Scholastic Canada
206 pages $12.99 paper
ISBN: 0439988330
Orphan at My Door: The Home Child Diary of Victoria Cope Guelph, Ontario, 1897
by Jean Little

Scholastic Canada
222 pages $12.99 paper
ISBN: 0439988349
Children's Books
Children's Books
by Jeffrey Canton
Canadian history is the focus of two new series aimed at young readers. Dear Canada, based on a U.S. counterpart is published by Scholastic Canada and aimed at readers 8-12, the same market that Penguin Books' Our Canadian Girl targets, also a copycat of a hugely successful American series.
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First Novel Award
Necessary Lies wins the Amazon.com/ Books in Canada 2000 First Novel Award
by Joel Yanofsky, Julie Keith, Carmine Starnino
Joel Yanofsky, Julie Keith, and Carmine Starnino selected the winner of the Amazon.com/Books in Canada 2000 First Novel Award from a short list prepared by W. P. Kinsella. Joel Yanofsky is a literary columnist at the Montreal Gazette. He is the author of Homo Erectus and Other Popular Tales of Romance, a collection of humourous essays, and of the novel Jacob's Ladder, which was short-listed for Le Grand Prix de MontrTal. Julie Keith is president of the Quebec Writers' Federation.
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