Book Reviews in April 1988 Issue

The Life Of Emily Carr
by Paula Blanchard

Douglas & Mcintyre
336 pages $26.95
ISBN: 0888945809
Book Review
The Peaceable Wilderness
by Gerta Moray
ILY CARR is now the subject of a second major biography. Eight years ago, Maria Tippett placed Carr`s fife and career in a fascinatingly detailed historical reconstruction of period and place. Paula Blanchard moves into another dimension. Hers is a psychological biography, intent not so much on reconstructing Carr`s external circumstances as on her inner, subjective experience of these
Moscow Despatches Inside Cold War Russia
by John Watkins, Dean Beeby, William Kaplan,

pages TC
ISBN: 1550280287
Book Review
White Nights
by David Stafford
HN WATKINS arrived in Moscow in March 1954, a ,ear after Stalin`s death, as Canada`s first peacetime ambassador to the Soviet Union. Following the Gouzenko affair and the onset of the Cold War, Canada`s interests in the Soviet capital had been represented by a succession of charges d`affaires. Watkins himself had been one of them during the deepfreeze years between the Berlin blockade and the Korean war.
by Erin Moure,

General Distribution Services, Incorporated
101 pages TP
ISBN: 0887841570
Book Review
by Barbara Carey
HAVE TO CONFESS that the moment I heard this book was slated for release, I began haunting the poetry section of my local bookstore, convinced that a dose of new work by Erin Moure would chase away the winter doldrums. Chase is putting it mildly, and mild is something this book is not. Furious is Moure`s fourth fulllength collection, and true to form (and content), her new work sparks with passion, inventiveness, and more conceptual leaps than quantum physics.
The Vernacular Muse The Eye & Ear in Contemporary Literature
by Dennis Cooley,

pages TP
ISBN: 0888011245
Book Review
Dancing Feet
by Phil Hall
IS IS the best book of criticism I`ve read since Twentieth Century Pleasures by the poet/critic Robert Haas. I purposely mention an American tide because one of the reasons for my admiration of Cooley`s criticism is that it is not blinkered by nationalism`s petty, frayng harness. Though its focus is region based, it is not "regional" in the sense of being defiantly unworldly. Though some of the essays argue for a certain verbal prairieness, they are not "provincial" but eclectically sweeping.
Prospero`S Daughter
by Constance Beresford-Howe

224 pages $19.95
ISBN: 0771596448
Book Review
Tempest In Kent
by Janice Keefer
IS IS the kind of novel that makes you feel that Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, and D.H. Lawrence wrote in vain, and that modernism itself was no more than a flash in the literary pan.
The Time Of Their Lives
by Wayne Johnston

194 pages $14.95
ISBN: 0887506925
Book Review
Life With Father
by Douglas Glover
ANDFATHER DAD, patriarch of the Dunne family, strides through the pages of Wayne Johnston`s fine new novel, The Time of Their Lives, like a force of nature  cruel, intolerant, tyrannical, and selfish  scattering his loved ones like chaff in his wake. He humiliates his sons, calls his daughters sluts and whores, taunts a neighbour when illness forces him to go on welfare
The Bonfire of the Vanities
by Tom Wolfe,

552 pages TC
ISBN: 0374115346
Book Review
Bonefire Of Debt
by B.W. Powe
A writer at the centre of a superpower can no longer record the real goings-on. He is apt to be hypnotized by the hallucinations and shadows of his milieu . . . In Tom Wolfe`s The Bonfire of the Vanities wealth, Privilege, and influence are reduced to interior decoration A NEW subject of outrage in books and films is Wall Street: the financial world overrun by computer-speed.
Tommy Douglas: The Road To Jerusalem
by Thomas H Mcleod And Ian Mcleod

355 pages $24.95
ISBN: 0888303165
Book Review
Prairie Baptist
by I. M. Owen
E FORMATION of the CCF was something of an anomaly: an alliance between the Toronto and Montreal intellectuals of the League for Social Reconstruction, strongly influenced by English socialist thought, and the prairie teachers and preachers whose inspiration came from the social gospel that had replaced simple faith in the postDarwinian age. An enthusiastic observer at the CCF`s Regina convention in 1933 was the Rev. T.C.
Diary Of Desire
by Judith Fitzgerald

Black Moss
48 pages $12.95
ISBN: 0887531644
Book Review
Writing To You
by Phil Hall
E LOVER, the "you" of this long poem divided into monthly sections, probably finds here a wealth of private evocation based on shared experience. A lover being spoken of so often and intensely could forgive this book its arrogances and postures. Not me. To me this book with its sensualpromo cover photo spells Indulgence, capital "I": a toss and tumble attempt at Eros blaring.
Book Review
Stories And Hauntings
by M. T. Kelly
These remarks are excerpted from M. T. Kelly's speech of acceptance at the Governor General's Awards ceremony, in Calgary last February. His novel, A Dream Like Mine, won the award for fiction We put up at the foot of a great chain of mountains. . . all the snowy cliffs to the southward were bright with the beams of the sun, while the most northern were darkened by tempest . . . (When we reached the heights) our view was vast and unbounded...
Fortunate Exile
by Irving Layton,

McClelland & Stewart/Tundra Books
pages MM
ISBN: 0771049471
Book Review
In The Smithy Of His Soul
by Joe Rosenblatt
THE HEAVY METAL of Canadian poetry, Irving Layton`s oeuvre is weightier than that of any other ironworker serving the muse. Since 1945, with the publication of his first book, Here and Now, he has produced over 40 volumes, and in his 76th year, those spirited bellows are still feeding the fires that heat up the metals for the gods. A prolific output, while providing the fuel rods for inspirational energy, also dilutes the sublime by scattering its bonding valences and thus weakening the alloys.
If Only We Could Drive Like This Forever
by Elisabeth Harvor,

Viking Penguin
224 pages TP
ISBN: 014010383X
Book Review
On The Road
by Joel Yanofsky
WHEN ELISABETH HARVOR`S first collection of short stories, Women and Children, was published in 1973, the praise from reviewers was extravagant. Joyce Carol Oates called it I I one of the most accomplished first books of our time." Alice Munro described the writing as "some of the finest ever about marriage, kids, sex ... fife." Ten years later, though, Women and Children was on its way to being out of print and its author seemed destined to become a CanLit statistic -- another one-hit wonder
A Postcard from Rome
by David Helwig,

Viking Penguin
256 pages TP
ISBN: 0670821373
Book Review
Italian Journey
by Norman Sigurdson
VID HELWIG`S ninth novel is rather a melodramatic affair. That is not too surprising, since most of it revolves around the world of Italian opera, where melodrama is inhaled with the air. Unfortunately, A Postcard from Rome lacks any of the majestic sweep and largerthanlife grandeur of grand opera. More often than not, its brand of opera tends more towards the soap variety. The novel opens with a performance in Rome of Puccini`s romantic opera Tosca, the first night of a new production.
Book Review
The Anglo Connection
by Linda Leith
Often ignored as an invisible minority, Quebec's English?language writers are producing some of Canada's most innovative prose WHERE DO THE English writers of Quebec belong on the literary map of Canada? This is not a trick question, though it may seem Eke one. Before answering it, consider the collection of French fiction from Quebec that appeared recently in English translation, Intimate Strangers: New Stories from Quebec, edited by Matt Cohen and Wayne Grady.
Letters of Marshall McLuhan
by Corinne McLuhan, Matie Molinaro, William Toye,

576 pages TC
ISBN: 0195405943
Book Review
Village Scribe
by Brian Fawcett
TH THE PUBLICATION of this overdue collection of letters, it should be clear to anyone still not convinced that Marshall McLuhan is among the small company of intellectual geniuses Canada has thus far produced. Arguably, he has been our most exciting and original thinker, and the partial eclipse of his reputation in the past decade is an indictment of our national shortsightedness and mediocrity.
The Cost Of Living
by Kenneth Radu

The Muses` Company/La Compagnie Des Muses
134 pages $9.95
ISBN: 0191754163
Book Review
Plot Twists
by Wayne Johnston
ME OF THE 13 stories in Kenneth Radu`s collection, The Cost of Living, seem formulaic, or else they tackle stock "issues," or "problems." For instance, "The Prodigy Makers" is about a girl with normal, average, healthy interests who is forced by her parents to become a student of classical piano. Like all the stories here, it is well written, but niceties of style cannot save it.
Isle Of Joy
by Louise Maheux-Forcier

111 pages $12.95
ISBN: 0887506720
by Louise Maheux-Forcier

80 pages $12.95
ISBN: 0887506887
Death-Watch A Novel
by Jacques Brault, David Lobdell,

95 pages TP
ISBN: 0887841546
Book Review
Escape Artists
by Joyce Marshall
GRADUALLY, the fiction and poetry of Quebec are becoming available to the unilingual English reader, even if frequently somewhat scrappily and not in sequence. Though piecemeal and delayed translation is better than no translation at all, the reviewer must often comment upon books that foreshadow a writer`s later, more characteristic work or even try to suggest developments that have already come to pass.
by Robert J. Sawyer
'Most science fiction is just outrageous fairy tales for adults. But I've always thought the genre could produce literature. This may sound presumptuous, but I'd like to think I could help elevate it to that level" TERENCE M. GREEN'S first book, The Woman Who Is the Midnight Wind (Pottersfield Press, 1987), collected his angst?filled short stories from Aurora: New Canadian Writings, Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. St.
Letters to Editor
COLLECTOR'S ITEM MAY I COMMENT on I. M. Owen's review of my Beyond the Blue Mountains, not in complaint, since it is a fair and understanding treatment of the book, but in explanation of the absence of pages 268?9, which he rightly notes and speculates on. This was, alas, due to no attempt at suppression from any direction, which might have been interesting, but to one of those tedious accidents that sometimes befall a writer ?? a printer's error.
Author And Critic
by Matt Cohen
SCENE ONE: A blank page, anywhere, any time. "It's the damn whiteness," Hemingway is reported to have complained, but perhaps he only meant the snow during his stint at the Toronto Star. But the concept of the blank page fascinates. Where he has any, the prestige of the writer derives from the notion that ?? artistically, financially, culturally ?? he faces the abyss every time he sits down to compose.
The Indistinct Society
by I. M. Owen
It turned out it wasn't really Latin he wanted to know about. His instructor kept talking about things called nouns, verbs, adjectives' subjects, objects . . . in his 13 years in the Ontario school system, he had never heard of them MOST OF MY working hours ?? the ones not devoted to writing for Books in Canada ?? are spent in copy?editing.
First Novels
The Far Field
by Douglas Hill
Hawaii, Australia, and Northern Ontario are the settings for three new novels A problem with characterization also damages Linda Spalding's Daughters of Captain Cook (Lester & Orpen Dennys, 224 pages, $13.95 paper). The book centres on a sensitive young woman, Jesse Quill, and the breakdown of her marriage. Since the husband, Paul, is never made to seem worth Jess's attention in the first place, a reader has trouble with her agonies.
Field Notes
A Small Circle
by Mary Di Michele
"The invention of printing originally promoted mutual understanding. In the era of graphomania the writing of books has the opposite effect: everyone surrounds himself with his own writings as with a wall of mirrors cutting off all voices from without." ?? Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting MILAN KUNDERA coined and defined a contemporary malaise: graphomania, from the Greek words for writing and madness.
Children's Books
Doers And Seekers
by Welwyn Wilton Katz
CLAIRE MACKAY`S Pay Cheques & Picket Lines, illustrated by Eric Parker (Kids Can, $12.95 paper, $19.95 cloth), is an amusing, passionate account of how and why unions came about, what they do, and what is likely to happen to them in the future. In Mackay`s hands, union history is not a long fist of facts and figures, but real stories about real people.
First Novel Award
Stone In The Water
Marion Quednau's The Butterfly Chair, a deeply persuasive portrait of a family held together by love and hatred until murder and suicide break it apart, is the best first novel of 1987 THE W.H. SMITH/BOOKS IN CANADA First Novel Award for 1987 has been won by Marion Quednau for The Butterfly Chair, published by Random House. The novel tells the story of a marriage as seen through the eyes of a daughter, Else.
Great Authors
Brief Reviews
by Phil Surguy
FOR EIGHT YEARS, Bob Blackburn entertained and instructed us with his sometimes crotchety, always trenchant English, Our English columns, the last of which appeared in the March issue. But we can't let Bob go without giving his many fans and students a chance to show him how much they have been paying attention. Accordingly, we are asking readers to submit candidates for the Bob Blackburn Memorial Sentence.

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