Book Reviews in December 1999 Issue

True at First Light
by Ernest Hemingway,

Simon & Schuster Trade
pages TC
ISBN: 0684849216
Book Review
Deader Than The Lion, Perhaps...
by Ted Whittaker
If it’s Hemingway, there must be slaughter. He’s about that. And the heroes of his books must wallow in it. Women? Secondary, at best; no hope of equality, of domestic getting-along. Other people, especially those not blessed to be literate speakers of a European language? All right, he’ll allow them a moment beneath the sun—all men are brothers, under fire. But behind his egalitarian rhetoric, Papa was a colonial apologist and a great retailer of lies about himself and others, never forget.
Real Food for a Change
by MacRae Roberts,

pages TP
ISBN: 067930973X
Book Review
Snow Peas From Guatemala
by Lorraine Johnson
In early July, as fresh produce was beginning to appear in markets, I went to my local Loblaws superstore. Standing in front of the vegetable section, I was offered the choice of snow peas from Guatemala, sugar snap peas from Central America, and regular peas from the United States. (This just happened to be the same week that consumers were warned to wash all imported fruits and vegetables with soap and water, due to an outbreak of the parasite, cyclospora.) I went to find the produce manager
Talking To The Enemy
by Avner Mandelman

88 pages $13.95
ISBN: 0778011097
Book Review
Brief Reviews
by Olga Stein
Moral ambiguity marks Avner Mandelman’s collection of short stories, Talking to the Enemy (Oberon, 88 pages, $13.95 paper, ISBN: 0778011097). The principal characters are male, between the ages of twenty and forty-five, and fighters: secret agents staking out ex-Nazis, MOSAD recruits in training, or seasoned soldiers tracking down Arab terrorists. They are avengers whose mission is to exact retribution for crimes committed against their people.
Winter Dialogue
by Tomas Venclova, Diana Senechal,

Northwestern University Press
148 pages TC
ISBN: 0810114917
Book Review
Timeless Music Of Saved Generations
by Bogdan Czaykowski
Strolling over the Yorkshire moors, the ground rolling beneath my feet, the sky moving in swift, gray-blue clouds that have no time to rain, and that pass so low overhead that the horizon vanishes. Or reading Keats’ “Endymion” in a Nissen hut made of corrugated iron sheets, the refugee camp dead silent, no dog barking nor rooster alerting you to time.
Simone Weil: Thinking Poetically
by Joan Dargan

Suny Press
214 pages $17.95
ISBN: 0791442241
Simone Weil And The Intellect Of Grace
by Henry Leroy Finch

Mcclelland & Stewart
295 pages $38.99
ISBN: 0826411908
Book Review
The Workers’ Mystic
by Douglas Fetherling
Books about the life and thought of Simone Weil, the French philosopher and woman of action, continue to tumble from presses as they have for the past decade or more. These are signs that this intellectual maverick, so at odds with her time that she was little read in her own day, is edging closer and closer to the mainstream . The two latest works are Simone Weil: Thinking Poetically by Joan Dargan (SUNY Press, 214 pages, US $17.
Watching, from the Edge of Extinction
by Beverly P. Stearns, S. C. Stearns,

Yale University Press
pages TC
ISBN: 0300076061
Into The Dinosaurs’ Graveyard: Canadian Digs And Discoveries
by David Spalding

Doubleday Canada
305 pages $34.95
ISBN: 0385257627
Fragile Dominion: Complexity And The Commons
by Simon Levin

Perseus Boo
250 pages $40
ISBN: 0738201111
Book Review
Survival’S A Full-Time Job
by Tim Tokaryk
Illustrating, even understanding, the complexity of our environment is no easy matter. Previous attempts had considered life as a linear progression—from the simple to the complex—with each stage modestly independent of the other. The reality, and current conception, is that, rather than a chain or even a web, life is a Rubik’s cube, only a few faces of which are known.
More Canada Firsts
by Duff Conacher

Mcclelland & Stewart
192 pages $19.99
ISBN: 0771022441
The Top Ten Of Everything 2000
by Russell Ash

The Reader
288 pages $29.95
ISBN: 0888506805
The Great Canadian Book Of Lists
by Mark Kearny And Randy Ray

324 pages $19.99
ISBN: 0888822138
Book Review
List Books
by Tripp Belm
Iinvite you to think about something for a moment. How would Readers Digest handle condensing a list of the “Top Ten” of anything? Well, ten is ten, even for Readers Digest. Readers Digest, however, has shifted the model. The venerable publishing company that brought you the fifty-page condensed version of War and Peace has outdone itself by condensing 1,000 years of human development into The Top Ten of Everything 2000 (Russell Ash, The Readers Digest Association [Canada] Ltd., 288 pages, $29.
Aiko’S Flowers
by Rui Umezawa

Tundra Books
24 pages $16.99
ISBN: 0887764657
Popol Vuh, Or The Sacred Book Of The Maya
by Victor Montejo

96 pages $19.95
ISBN: 088899334X
Who Wants Rocks?
by Michael Arvaarluk

Annick Books
24 pages $17.95
ISBN: 1550375881
Book Review
Children’S Books
by Mariella Bertelli
Canadian children’s books are outstanding tools for crossing cultural boundaries and helping young readers explore the riches of our multicultural society. This fall, three new picture books explore the cultures of the Mayans, Canada’s North, and ancient Japan. Publishing Latin American stories is integral to Groundwood’s mission, and with Popol Vuh they share with us an ancient text created by the Mayans.
Globalization And Culture
by John Tomlinson

University Of C
238 pages $32.5
ISBN: 0226807681
From Plato to NATO
by David Gress,

624 pages TC
ISBN: 0684827891
Globalization & the Meaning of Canadian Life
by William Watson,

314 pages CT
ISBN: 0802042201
Book Review
Barbarians Of The New World Order
by Robert Sibley
One of the more significant legacies of the Enlightenment is the belief that a universal community of humankind is a goal with great moral purpose. This vision shaped the emancipatory impulses of both liberalism and Marxism, each of which has been committed in their unique ways to delivering a universal cosmopolitan order
Canoeing Book
by James Raffan,

pages TC
ISBN: 0002557304
Ancient Land, Ancient Sky
by P. Bor McFarlane,

pages TC
ISBN: 0676971474
The Canoe In Canadian Cultures
by John Jennings And Bruce W. Hodgin

Natural Heritage
300 pages $24.95
ISBN: 1896219489
Book Review
Canonizing Canada’S Canoe
by Brian Brett
Forget the maple leaf and the beaver. If any symbol binds this country, it’s the canoe. Common from coast to coast when the Europeans arrived, it knitted the threads of the nation’s rivers and lakes and straits together long before the railroad came along. Perhaps Bill Mason, the legendary canoeist, said it best: “It is as if God made the canoe and then set about creating a country in which it could flourish. That country was Canada.
The Richard Brautigan Ahhhhhhhhhhh
by Rob Mclennan

95 pages $13.95
ISBN: 0889224242
Manitoba Highway Map
by Rob Mclennan

Broken Jaw
88 pages $13.95
ISBN: 0921411898
Bury Me Deep In The Green Wood
by Rob Mclennan

75 pages $14.95
ISBN: 1550223798
Book Review
Stacking Books Like Dominoes
by Maxianne Berger
Last June, the Canadian Authors Association honoured rob mclennan with its Air Canada Award for most promising Canadian writer under thirty. In 1998, the Ottawa-based poet, book reviewer, editor, publisher, reading-series coordinator, poetry-festival organizer, and book-fair director counted among his publications a score-plus of chapbooks, Notes on Drowning (Broken Jaw Press), and Written in the Skin (Insomniac), an anthology which he edited.
Snow Day
by Werner Zi

North Winds
32 pages $18.99
ISBN: 0590124854
We Share Everything
by Robert Munsch

32 pages $6.99
ISBN: 0590514504
Mr. Dickens Hits Town
by Jan Mark

Tundra Books
64 pages $19.99
ISBN: 0887764681
The Great Poochini
by Gary Clement

32 pages $16.95
ISBN: 0888993315
The Low Life: Five Great Tales From Up And Down The River
by Brian Doyle

240 pages $24.95
ISBN: 0888993838
Woodland Nutcracker
by Avril Tyrrell

Key Porter
32 pages $18.95
ISBN: 1552631249
The Spirit Of Canada: Canada’S Story In Legends
by Barbara Hehner

Malcolm Lester
320 pages $45
ISBN: 1894121147
Book Review
Children’S Books
by Jeffrey Canton
There’s no better way to celebrate the spirit of the Christmas season than to give a child a book. There are plenty to choose from this winter. Here are some of my favourites. Young readers won’t even have to leave the house to enjoy a day of wintertime fun in Werner Zimmermann’s exuberant new picture book, Snow Day. When snow blankets the city and school is cancelled, it’s a Snow Day—time to go outside and play.
Hemingway The Final Years
by Michael Reynolds,

W. W.\Norton#& Company, Incorporated
352 pages TC
ISBN: 0393047482
Book Review
Fall From Eden
by Nicholas Slobo
From a vast array of lengthy interviews, personal letters, newspaper articles, historical information, and published memoirs, Michael Reynolds has created an accurate and honest portrait of the final twenty years of Ernest Hemingway’s life. In the last of his five-volume biography, Reynolds maintains a critical but sensitive perspective as he intertwines comprehensive details of Hemingway’s literary career with his contradictory personal and public lives.
Secret Worlds
by Stephen Dalto

Firefly Books
160 pages $35
ISBN: 1552093840
Book Review
Gift Books
by John Oughton
Gift books of nature photography usually offer the armchair naturalist two kinds of access: to species from places too remote to be visited, or to those too small to be seen easily. Secret Worlds (Firefly Books, 160 pages, $35 cloth, ISBN: 1552093840), however, opens the reader’s eyes in another way. English photographer Stephen Dalton has spent over thirty years finding ways to get sharp images of small beings that move too fast for standard techniques.
Book Review
Great Authors Of Our Time Julia Kristeva
Julia Kristeva is an internationally renowned psychoanalyst, linguist, and semiotician. Born in Bulgaria in 1941, she emigrated to Paris in 1965 to pursue her doctoral studies under Lucien Goldmann, Roland Barthes, and later Claude Lévi-Strauss at L’École Pratique des Hautes Études. She soon joined the Tel Quel Group and through it became active in French politics, including the upheavals of May 1968.
Being With Henry
by Martha Brooks

176 pages $9.95
ISBN: 0888993773
Book Review
Children’S Books
by Jeffrey Canton
Laker Wyatt is nearly seventeen and doesn’t have any place to go. His somewhat hapless and irresponsible mother, Audrey, has kicked him out after a particularly nasty altercation with his stepfather, Rick, has escalated from verbal cockfighting to physical violence. From Laker’s perspective, Rick the Prick has forced himself between mother and son, and Audrey has betrayed and abandoned him.
Book Review
Winner Take All
by John Metcalfe
In the foreword to Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story, Carlos Baker wrote: “He was one of the foremost writers that America has produced, an epoch-making stylist with a highly original talent who spawned imitators by the score and dealt, almost single-handed, a permanent blow against the affected, the namby-pamby, the pretentious, and the false. The writing of fiction was hard for him
by Timoth

Harper & Collins
486 pages $35
ISBN: 0002242583
Book Review
The Mad Are Not Mad, Merely Different... But Not Different Enough
by Lisa Salem-Wiseman
In his introduction to Dinner Along the Amazon, a collection of short stories published in 1984, Timothy Findley self-deprecatingly recalls the moment when he first recognized his work to be marked by the same repeated images, stylistic flourishes, and thematic concerns. “In fact,” he writes, “I began to wonder if I should file A CATALOGUE OF PERSONAL OBSESSIONS.” According to Findley, this catalogue would include “evening lamplight... letters written on blue-tinted note paper..
Canada & the 20th Century
by MacLean Magazine Staff,

pages CT
ISBN: 1550139932
Book Review
Gift Books
by Ian Allaby
For busy folks who missed the twentieth century, here’s the ultimate rehash. Canada’s Century (Carl Mollins, Key Porter Books, 352 pages, $55 cloth, ISBN: 1550139932) consists of selections from among the 2,500 issues published by Maclean’s magazine since its inception in 1905. It’s a fine book, with something for everybody, although, of course, it touts Maclean’s century as much as Canada’s.
Necrofiles Ii
by Donna Lypc

Insomniac P
221 pages $19.99
ISBN: 1895837537
Book Review
Pop Culture
by Dmitry Benia
“I solemnly swear that I am a hypocrite, will always be a hypocrite and will expect others to be responsible for my hypocrisy for the rest of my life.” Like too much of a good thing, Donna Lypchuk’s Necrofiles II (Insomniac Press, 221 pages, $19.99 paper, ISBN: 1895837537) can be tiresome: it satirizes Toronto culture relentlessly, jumping quickly from one situation to another, with little regard for the reader.
The Politics Of Visual Language: Deafness, Language Choice, And Political Socialization
by James Roots

Carleton University
106 pages $24.95
ISBN: 0886293510
Book Review
Signing Away Our Deaf
by Deirdre Baker
“Oralism versus Sign” is an issue that is very much alive for any deaf person in Canada—or, indeed, for any parent of a deaf child—with Sign, the visual language, being the more difficult option to pursue. At the Council of Milan in 1880, Deaf educators voted to suppress Sign entirely in deaf schools, a decision which has dominated attitudes towards deafness and deaf education up until the present day in North America, and particularly in Canada.
Book Review
Note From The Editor
by Diana Kuprel
...The cakes are sweet, but sweeter is the feeling That one is mixing with the literati; It warms the old, and melts the most congealing. Really, it is a most delightful party. (F.R. Scott’s “The Canadian Authors Meet”, 1935) The Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Awards, The Great Literary Dinner Party, the International Festival of Authors... The literary world has been in a whirl these last few weeks—celebrating, paying tribute, decking itself out grandly.
Chess Pieces
by David Solway,

pages TC
ISBN: 0773519017
Book Review
The Power Of The Pawn
by Carmine Starnino
David Solway, one of our few practicing Parnassians, has written a book of poems about chess. It would be hard to find a less populist subject for poetry; a game rooted in the combative grit of moments like “White plays Queen to Rook” doesn’t sound like an especially accessible resource for song. And like chess, Solway’s own poetry can be said to suffer a similar reputation for cerebral severity—a reputation that, for many, has chilled their affection for his work.
Always Give A Penny To A Blind Man
by Eric Wright

Key Porter
216 pages $29.95
ISBN: 1552630676
Book Review
by Cece Scott
Eric Wright is the well-known author of the popular Inspector Charlie Salter crime novels, among them, The Nights The Gods Smiled, A Question of Murder, A Fine Italian Hand, and his latest, Death On The Rocks. In Always Give a Penny to a Blind Man (Key Porter Books, 216 pages, $29.
The Girls' Guide to Hunting & Fishing
by Melissa Bank,

Viking Penguin
pages TC
ISBN: 067088300X
Book Review
by Jennifer
Comparisons between Melissa Banks’ The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing (Viking, 274 pages, $33.99 cloth, ISBN: 067088300X) and Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’ Diary are inevitable: both feature breezy, witty, single heroines haplessly negotiating family, careers, and romance. While The Girls’ Guide is less raucous and wryly hysterical than Diary, it is also more poignant as Banks lightly traces a painted fingernail around the wounds caused by jealousy, loss, illness, and death.
The Summer King
by O.R. Melling

192 pages $22
ISBN: 0670884634
Book Review
Children’S Books
by Katherine Matthe
The latest offering from O.R. Melling is not exactly a sequel to The Hunter’s Moon; rather, it is meant to explore the consequences of Finvarra, the High King of the Fairies, having become mortal. As Melling puts it in the author’s note: “Rather like a pebble dropped into a pool, the ripples will continue to affect both their world and ours.
by Ludmila Zeman,

pages TC
ISBN: 0887764606
Book Review
Children’S Books
by Mariella Bertelli
What better way to celebrate the millennium than by honouring the spirit of adventure and exploration in the classic stories? Ludmila Zeman’s Sindbad transports us back in time to a faraway land, a time when adventurers depended upon the power of the wind to explore the world by sea, and upon elephants and camels in their desert treks.
Canada: Our Century
by Mark Kingwell And C

Doubleday Canada
512 pages $50
ISBN: 0385258933
Book Review
Gift Books
by Sophia Sch
Yet another snapshot album of the last 100 years of our country’s history is Canada: Our Century (Doubleday Canada, 512 pages, $50 cloth, ISBN: 0385258933), by Mark Kingwell and Christopher Moore. You’d think we could get some original titling going here... Dividing up the twentieth century into decades, this tome is shaped from a montage of significant, and off-beat, events in the fields of culture, politics, sports, economics, the environment, society.
Motion Sickness: A Memoir
by David Layton

Macfarlane W
243 pages $29.95
ISBN: 1551990393
Book Review
Second Fiddle
by Doug Beardsl
Your father is a genius and such men should never have children. (Alla, Irving Layton’s longtime housekeeper) While much of the hype surrounding David Layton’s unseemly bitter memoir, Motion Sickness, has predictably concerned Layton the Younger’s relations with his illustrious father, it is his mother who suffers most from this invidious family portrait.
A Speaking Likeness
by Joseph Plaskett

Ronsdale Press
308 pages $37.95
ISBN: 0921870671
Book Review
by Ron Clancy
While BC-born painter Joseph Plaskett left Canada in the 1950s to live in Paris, his connections with his native country remained strong, as demonstrated by his well-written, richly illustrated autobiography, A Speaking Likeness (Ronsdale Press, 308 pages, $37.95, ISBN: 0921870671). The book reads like a who’s who of Canadian art and literature. The foreword was written by George Woodcock; it was one of the last pieces he wrote before his death.
Password: Murder
by Norah Mcclintock

208 pages $5.99
ISBN: 0590515055
Book Review
Children’S Books
by Katherine Matthe
To solve or not to solve—for seventeen-year-old Harley Dansker, there doesn’t seem to be much choice. Harley is haunted by the death of his father in a car accident in which Harley was behind the wheel. Just released from hospital after having suffered a breakdown, he is still coping with his feelings of guilt. And the world he has been released into is a substantially changed one, especially since his mother has married his father’s friend and business associate, C.J.
Second Scroll
by A. M. Klein,

pages CT
ISBN: 0802044786
Book Review
Sackcloth And Gladness
by Medrie Purdham
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness. (Thirtieth Psalm, quoted in A.M. Klein’s The Second Scroll) First published in 1951, A.M. Klein’s The Second Scroll is a slim novel with a wide compass: it is a study of how to make metaphysical sense of history in the aftermath of the Holocaust
Selected Poems
by Jorge Luis Borges, Alexander Coleman,

pages TC
ISBN: 0670849413
Book Review
Seeking The Minotaur In The Labyrinth Of Buenos Aires
by Jorge Luis Camacho
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986)—and publishers and conference organizers the world over have not wasted any time in getting into the centennial celebration spirit. In between the publication of Borges’ Collected Fictions in September of last year and his Selected Nonfiction this fall, Viking produced a beautiful, weighty, bilingual edition of his Selected Poems that will be pure pleasure to read and to hold.
by Sergio K.

Simon & Pierre
260 pages $18.99
ISBN: 0889242860
Book Review
Brief Reviews
by Dmitry Benia
Sergio Kokis’ Funhouse (Simon & Pierre, 260 pages, $18.99 paper, ISBN: 0889242860) seems at first glance to be a standard coming-of-age story with the usual clichés: falling in love, cheating on tests, discovering the family’s dirty secrets, questioning authority, searching for identity. What makes the book memorable is its ability to go beyond a predictable set of events and coded morality.
Over Canada: An Aerial Adventure
by Russ Heinl And Rosemary Neering

Beautiful British Columbia
192 pages $49.95
ISBN: 0920431879
Book Review
Gift Books
by John Oughton
Over Canada: An Aerial Adventure, by Russ Heinl, photographer, and Rosemary Neering and Bruce Obee, editors (Beautiful British Columbia, 192 pages, $49.95 cloth, ISBN: 0920431879) is the kind of gift book that inspires a good news/bad news review. The good news is that this is a large, handsomely-printed book whose best plates do convey a kind of millennial pride in the beauty and variety of Canada’s landscapes as seen from the air. The bad news is inspired by the overblown marketing.
The Enforcer: Johnny "Pops" Papalia: A Life and Death in the Mafia
by Adrian Humphreys

280 pages $29
ISBN: 0006384935
Book Review
by Hugh Gra
Railway Street, a one-block dead-end in Hamilton, Ontario, witnessed both the birth of Ontario Mafia boss Johnny Papalia seventy-five years ago, and his murder in November of last year. Today, the little enclave remains as obscure as ever, an oddly bucolic lane of Victorian houses covered in insulbrick, and, hidden near the end, the modern, factory-like office from which Papalia had directed his operations.

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