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Note from the Editor
by Olga Stein

As we wrap up for the summer, we leave you with an extra thick issue for your reading pleasure.

The charming and mesmerizing raconteur, Josef Skvorecky, is our featured Great Author. The Czech-born writer has resided and flourished in Canada since that fateful summer of `68. Over the past five decades, he has created a unique body of work that constitutes a profound and morally passionate analysis of twentieth-century European historical processes-often beneath the deceptive, and engaging, veneer of the absurd, which, in actuality, is stark realism. Here, Marek Kusiba talks with Skvorecky about his eventful life and provocative work-considered dangerous and consequently banned by the communist regime-and about the first novel he has written in English. This novel tackles the impact of the reverberations of the fall of communism in Central Europe on the lives of those living there and here, and shows how the personal and public continue to be tragically entwined.

As part of our special projects series, Nella Cotrupi reviews a collection of essays dealing with the upcoming volume from the Collected Works of one of Canada's most significant intellectual figures, literary critic and theoretician Northrop Frye.

Literary biographies appear to be experiencing a "golden age" of late-and one of the bards we seem to be in love with is the rabble-pleaser, William Shakespeare. Here, Alexander Leggatt discusses the two recent Shakespeare biographies by Park Honan and Harold Bloom, while Douglas Fetherling muses over the new work on Canada's working-class bard, Milton Acorn, and Stephanie Farrington takes a critical look at Doris Shadbolt's re-issued tribute to Native artist Bill Reid.

As well, literary impresario and historian Greg Gatenby, Governor General award-winning poet Stephanie Bolster, and writer-journalist Zsuzsi Gartner chat about their just released books.

Finally, we have reviews of the latest books by John Maddox, Wade Rowland, Annie Dillard, Eliza Clark, Dionne Brand... And for those intending to spend some leisure-time this summer puttering around the backyard, gardening-expert Liz Primeau offers some sage advice on a few of the best books to leaf through for some shocking inspiration.

We wish you all a summer holiday full of books...

Diana Kuprel


Our sincerest apologies to Pnina Granirer for consistently misspelling her name in the review, "A footprint, a dark forest, a mythical bird" (May 1999).

To Our Subscribers

We received several letters from our subscribers regarding the "missing" 9th issue for 1998. Due to an oversight in production, the double issue labelled Nov./Dec. 1998 was not numbered 8/9 as it should have been. Our apologies to our subscribers for the confusion.


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