Post Your Opinion
Great Musgrave
by Anne Denoon

DESPITE ITS rather coyly hyperbolic title, which is also the name of a deserted English hamlet, Great Musgrave (Prentice-Hall, 207 pages, $12.95 paper) offers the usual mix of pleasure and disappointment found in most collections of previously published prose. Susan Musgrave's journalistic style is punchy, and her predominant mood is attractively situated somewhere between irreverent and jaundiced. The columns themselves range from the quasi-Needhamesque (there's an abundance of quotations from the famous) to the neo-Bombeckian (we often find the sea witch emeritus in the shoals of domesticity) If we occasionally learn at once too much and too little about the author herself (as in "I Dropped My Knickers for Robert Fulford," which explains how, but not the promised why), that's probably because she combines ebullience with a reluctance to be pinned down. She professes herself unable to answer any of the plodding questions about her own poetry posed by a university "creative writing text," and although she's capable of casting a mighty beady eye on the unfair advantages enjoyed by a (male) writer with a devoted (female) helpmeet, she obviously recoils from the dread word "feminist," claiming to have been attacked by just such ideologues for such crimes as being "soft on men." Nevertheless, Musgrave is very entertaining on what is perhaps her favourite subject, the unenviable lot of the average Canadian writer, the un-movie-optioned kind who, after reading some of her famous eightdollar-apiece poems to an audience that really would have preferred a real writer like Stephen King, will "be expected ... to help stack the chairs" and must board her plane knowing that should it crash, "the newspaper headline will read: Margaret Atwood Not Among Those Dead."

Home First Novel Award Past Winners Subscription Back Issues Timescroll Advertizing Rates
Amazon.ca/Books in Canada Bestsellers List Books in Issue Books in Department About Us