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It was good to see Stanley Fogel's review of Linda Hutcheon's Irony's Edge (October). Books in Canada does not publish enough reviews of Canadian literary criticism. For example, Stan Dragland's book on Duncan Campbell Scott, Floating Voice, won the 1994 Gabrielle Roy Prize for criticism in Canadian literature and deserves more attention as a landmark re-evaluation of early Canadian poetry. This prize is offered every year by the Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures and is organized by Joseph Pivato of Athabasca University. Pivato has his own book, Echo: Essays on Other Literatures, a study of ethnic minority writing in Canada. The foreword for Echo is by Sneja Gunew, who has her own book, Framing Marginality: Multicultural Literary Studies. As he did in his earlier book, Contrasts: Comparative Essays on Italian-Canadian Writing, Pivato argues that this new writing should be better known and studied in schools and universities. Readers in general should be more aware of works by ethnic minority writers. "Ethnics", by Parizeau's own admission, beat the PQ in the referendum and saved Canada.

Maria R. Redi

Portage la Prairie, Manitoba

Irascible Wanderer

I was pleased to see Douglas Fetherling's generous appreciation of the late E. A. Lacey, "A Riveting Non-person" (October).

Edward Lacey was a Canadian original-a cultured, irascible wanderer whose friendships often survived Ed's capacity to exasperate everyone. After years abroad, he returned to Canada after a street accident left him with partial amnesia and some physical disabilities, though his thinking and speech were unimpaired. In the last conversation I had with him, at the Toronto boarding house where he was living, he told me he knew his real problems were "mental, not physical". The fact is, he did not care to be back in Canada, and when it seemed unlikely he would ever be able to return to his beloved Third World, he quietly died.

Perhaps there will be a Selected Poems some day. Perhaps (you never know!) it might even be published-and reviewed-in Canada.

Ian Young

Scarborough, Ontario

An Embarrassing Mistake

On opening the October issue of Books in Canada, I was very pleased to discover that you had published my letter to the editor ("A Marriage Proposal"), but that pleasure was short-lived. Either as the result of editing to make the two letters published in that issue fit the page (which they do admirably) or through oversight, ten words were omitted from the second paragraph in such a way that the final sentences of that paragraph make no sense whatsoever and are, furthermore, grammatically incongruous. I think that you will agree that this is particularly regrettable in a letter which deals with accurate use of the English language!

The mangled logic and grammar of the letter as published should have been caught by even the most perfunctory of proofreaders. As published, the penultimate sentence in the paragraph reads, "The sentence should read either `But that's not really why spelling matters.' " Good golly! Isn't "either" a strong enough signal that one should look for an "or"? If not, there is another signal at the beginning of the next sentence: "In the first amended version it is preferable.." "First" surely indicates that there are at least two!

What is going on here? Editing for space considerations ought at the very least to preserve the sense of the original document!

You have an obvious need for a proofreader/copy editor! I am available.

Edward S. Franchuk

Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec

[The full sentence was: "The sentence should read either `But that's not the real reason [that] spelling matters" or "But that's not really why spelling matters."-contritely, the managing editor]

Thornhill Not Stiff or Tame

When I opened my inaugural issue of the new (and very handsome) Books in Canada, I was delighted to see that the children's book review had been preserved, and that Jan Thornhill's Wild in the City was being covered in this very special issue. My excitement faded quickly, however.

I found Mr. Hall's laconic characterization of Jan Thornhill's art as "stiff and tame" to be quite unbelievable. She is the recipient of the UNICEF International Award for children's illustration (out of a field of children's book from twenty-six countries), her books have twice been finalists for the Governor General's Award for children's illustration, and are consistently honoured as Our Choice books by the Canadian Children's Book Centre.

Wild in the City has this year been named a Special (starred) Our Choice book by the Centre, and Jan has been selected to tour in British Columbia for Children's Book Week to share her vision and art with children, teachers, and librarians there.

The artwork from her books has been exhibited twice in Toronto, once at a Queen Street West art gallery, and then in the Mabel's Fables Bookstore art space, where Canada's top children's book artists are showcased in one of Canada's best children's book-stores.

On the international front, Jan's books have been published in the United States, England, and Australia, and are currently being translated into Swedish and Danish. Over the years, several of her books have been honoured as works of distinction by the UNESCO Children's Book Collection (headquartered in Munich). Wild in the City is slated for US publication in 1996.

I would also take issue with other aspects of this review, which generally displays a sad lack of professional knowledge in the field of children's literature. At the very least, if you are going to review a book, it should be placed in the context of its genre and/or the previous oeuvre of its author. No-one would deny Mr. Hall the right to his opinion about Jan Thornhill's talents, but readers deserve informed opinion: intellectual laziness is not excusable.

Children's books should be reviewed as seriously as any other genre, and by those equipped not only with opinions, but with the knowledge that gives them credibility.

Sheba Meland

Publishing director, Owl Books



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