Book Reviews in January 1987 Issue

Note from Editor
Why a magazine is not like any other product... and why that matters to you
Consider the magazine you are now holding. At one level, it is a product: ink applied to paper. Yet the reasons for which you value this magazine have nothing to do with either ink or paper. You're reading these pages for the images, the messages, the ideas. It is particularly important to you because, like you, it's Canadian.

Collected Poems 1956-1985
by Al Purdy

McClelland & Stewart
396 pages $29.95 cloth
ISBN: 0771072155
Book Review
Giant steps
by George Galt
Sweeping broadly across time and space, Al Purdy's collected poetry is less a monument to the poet than a beacon to others In less than two years Al Purdy will turn 70. He has published more than 30 books of poetry from which the work of this thick retrospective collection has been culled. The new volume is a rare accomplishment, because Purdy's poetry is unique, but also because few poets approaching old age exhibit his fresh imagination and still expanding insights.
Much Depends an Dinner
by Margaret Visser

McClelland & Stewart
350 pages $24.93 cloth
ISBN: 0771087497
Book Review
Food and drink
Absolutelly nothing is intrinsically boring, least of all the everyday ordinary thugs." Take corn on the cob, chicken, nee, lettuce, and ice cream, for example. Harmless enough, straightforward, even comforting, foods. But what a wealth of history and culture lurk on our plates.
The Orangeman The Life and Times of Ogle Gowan
by Don Akensen

James Lorimer
330 pages $24.95 cloth
ISBN: 008062963X
Book Review
The past
Ogle Gowan is remembered, if somewhat dimly, in Canadian history as the founder of the Canadian branch of the Orange Order. He was also the grandfather of one of Ontario's most successful premiers, George Howard Ferguson (1923-1930), and of the noted feminist Emily Govan Ferguson Murphy. Don Alcenson of Queen's University has had the intriguing idea of writing a fictionalized biography of him.
The Nevi Democrats 1951-19116
by Desmond Morton

Copp Clark Pittman
253 pages $14.93 paper
ISBN: 0773046106
Book Review
Politics and Politicos
by Mathew Behrens
One would not expect the NDP, a party that takes pride in its mass democratic base, to indulge in the glossy hype characteristic of older, more established political forces. Instead, the New Democrats rely on quieter publicity, such as this examination of the party's quarter century on the Canadian landscape. However, Desmond Morton is unlikely to inspire anyone with his history, which proves as dry and devoid of Mt as any sophomore political science text
Treaties on trial The Coninuing Controversy Over Northwest Indian Fishing Rights
by Pay G. Cohen

University of Washington Press
228 pages $9.95 paper
ISBN: 0795962682
Book Review
Politics and Politicos
by Mathew Behrens
The battle over Northwest Indian fishing rights, though it received international attention more than 20 years ago with the arrests of Dick Gregory and Marlon Brando at "fish-ins," remains a controversial issue whose eventual settlement could seta major precedent for scores of similar conflicts.
Sacred Trust? Brian Mulroney and the Conservative Party in Power
by David Bercusan, J. L. Granatstein, W. R. Young,

304 pages $22.95 cloth
ISBN: 0385250606
Book Review
Politics and Politicos
"The ability to hold on to power by governing wisely has not been the hallmark of the Conservative party in the twentieth century." From this supreme understatement, three able historians proceed to pull together the frayed strands of the Tory record is Ottawa since 1984
The Late Great Human Road Show
by Paulette Jiles

193 pages $9.95 paper
ISBN: 0889222398
Sitting in the club car drinking rum and karma-kola A manual of etiquette for ladies crossing Canada by train
by Paulette Jiles

Polestar Press
105 pages $9.95 paper
ISBN: 0919591132
Book Review
Starting over
by David Helwig
In two books by Paulette Jiles - one a post-holocaust fable, the other a fanciful 'bit of fluff' - new circumstances demand new, sometimes bizarre, responses In 1971, House of Anansi published a book: called Mindscapes, a substantial collection of material by four young poets. Susan Musgrave, Dale Zieroth, Tom Wayman, and Paulette Jiles. Of the four, Paulette Jiles was, in the following years, probably the least visible, but just recently she seems to have broken out in all directions
Cambodia A Book for People Who Find Television Too Slow
by Brian Fawcett

209 pages $9.95 paper
ISBN: 0889222371
Book Review
Down the tube
by Mary dl Michele
Brian Fawcett describes his new book as "an essay, a short story, a novella, a harangue, a poem, a rant." Unfortunately it's rather short of poetry or dramatic interest. The pages are divided into two parts: a main text and, below it, as with footnotes, a subtext. We learn through this book that Fawcett hates television, Twinkies, and the devouring franchise culture and politics of the United States.
Sam Hughes The Public Career of a Controversial Canadian, 1885-1916
by Ronald G. Haycock

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
383 pages $34.95 cloth
ISBN: 0889201773
Book Review
The past
by Cynthia M. Smith
Had "Controversial Canadian" been emblazoned on the cover in two-inch red caps, the subtitle would have captured the impression Sam Hughes left on his peers and on historians. Ronald Haycock's meticulous scholarly biography of one of Canada's most colourful soldier-politicians is absorbing. It is limited only by the author's inability to gain access to what few personal papers of Colonel Sam remain in his grandson's possession.
George Nowlan Maritime Conservative in National Politics
by Margaret Conrad

University of Toronto Press
357 pages $37.5 cloth
ISBN: 0802026001
Book Review
Politics and Politicos
by Jack MacLeod
This is one of the best political biographies of recent years. George Nowlan, a respected Conservative MP for Digby Annapolis-Icings between 1948 and 1965, president of the Progressive Conservative Party from 1950 to 1954, and minister of national revenue and of finance in the Diefenbaker government, is still a household word in the Maritimes, whose champion he was. Margaret Conrad's book will help Nowlan to be better known by Canadians in the rest of Canada, as he deserves to be.
Beyond Forget Rediscovering the Prairies
by Marls Abley

Douglas & McIntyre
260 pages $19.95 cloth
ISBN: 0888945205
Book Review
Lost horizons
by Boughs Glover
Between AG33S of six and 20 Mark Abley lived in Lethbridge and Saskatoon ("Home was a yellow bungalow with chokecherry trees and rhubarb bushes... a hundred yards from the South Saskatchewan"), before escaping east to seek his fortune (Oxford University and a career as a journalist in Toronto and Montreal). In Beyond Forget he returns to western Canada 10 years later to explore the land of his youth.
Sp/Elles Poetry by Canadian Women/Poesle de femmes canadiennes
by Judith Fitzgerald

Black Moss Press
119 pages $12.95 paper
ISBN: 0$57531512
Book Review
In the name of the Mother
by Barbara Casey
This collection of 13 women poets should probably be read behind closed doors - not because there's anything shameful about it, but rather because the majority of work represented cannot be fully appreciated unless read aloud. Though poetry was originally an oral, and thus very much a social, art form, in our culture it seems to have developed into a primarily private and individualistic pursuit
Out of Bounds Women, Sport, and Sexuality
by Helen Lenskyj

Women's Press
179 pages $12.95 paper
ISBN: 088961105X
Book Review
Sports and Leisure
This book's combination of historical information and feminist analysis makes it a useful text for students of sport history or physical education. It details some of the history of women's athletic participation and some of the sexist nonsense, from medical science as well as the popular press, that women athletes have had to endure.
Evening Games Chronicles of Parents and Children
by Alberto Manguel

861 pages $9.95 paper
ISBN: 0140077138
Intimate Strangers New Stories from Quebec
by Matt Cohen, Wayne Grady

219 pages $88.95 paper
ISBN: 0140079580
Book Review
Children of the world
by I.M. Owen
Alberto Manguel has apparently read everything, which gives him an unfair advantage over other anthologists. This latest book contains one story apiece from 16 writers, 10 of whom were completely unknown to me till now. Five of the 16 are American: two Canadian, two English, two Argentine, and one each Hungarian, Swedish, Danish, Italian, and Swiss. The theme of the anthology is the bond - or the lack of it - between parents and their children.
Book Review
Believing is seeing
by Mark Czamecki
I was listening to the title track from Paul Simon's Graceland the other night while reading David McFadden's new novel, Canadian Sunset. Just as Simon was singing "I'm going to Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee," I read McFadden's line, "I visited Graceland in Memphis late last night." Canadian Sunset is full of coincidences like that, and, like most coincidences, they're not there by chance.
Mafia Assassin The Inside Story of a Canadian Bitter, Minima, and Police Informer
by Cecil Kirby and Thomas C. Renner

277 pages $24.95 cloth
ISBN: 0458804401
Book Review
Crime and Punishment
In his foreward to Mesa Assassin, Thomas C. Renner tells us "there is nothing heroic" about Cecil Kirby, a former Mafia enforcer turned informer. "He has lived a violent, often brutal life and hurt a great many people. He has killed; he has lived off the proceeds of prostitution; he has blown up restaurants, intimidated contractors, plotted murders, and stalked his victims like a hunter tracks animals.
The Desolate City The Catholic Church In Ralas
by Anne Roche Muggeridge

MCleliand & Stewart
220 pages $22.9 cloth
ISBN: 077107686X
Book Review
Sacred and Secular
By introducing this book with a quotation from the Lamentations of Jeremiah, Anne Roche Muggeridge likens modern-day Catholicism to the ancient city of Jerusalem laid waste by Babylonian attacks. The Second Vatican Council and the furor over Pope Paul VI's 1968 encyclical forbidding Catholics to use artificial birth control, she says, triggered the "revolution" that has taken place within the Catholic Church.
The Garden of Eloice Loon
by Edna Afford

Oolichan Books
224 pages $516.95 cloth
ISBN: 0889820821
Book Review
Other voices
by Jason Sherman
Drawing on her experience in group psychiatry, in Edna Alfard's new book the voice of the character sometimes takes the story away from the author. Through the unclean window of the paint chipped cubbyhole of a rented room in downtown Toronto looms the grandeur of the Royal York Hotel. Some people, particularly the kind who perform cross-country book promotions, might see this as a royal slap in the face.
Sink the Rainbow! Ana Inquiry Into the "Greanpeace Affair"
by John Dyson

Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
192 pages $9.95 paper
ISBN: 0774701390
The Rainbow Warrior Affair
by Richard Shears, Isobelle Gidley

217 pages $7.95 paper
ISBN: 0777516081
Rainbow Warrior. The French Attempt to Sink Greenpeace
by Key Porter

342 pages $12.95 paper
ISBN: 0919493890
Book Review
The end of the Rainbow
by Matthew Behrens
At last spring's economic summit in Tokyo, world leaders issued a ringing statement about "international terrorism," prompting one journalist to ask Margaret Thatcher the difference between alleged Libyan involvement in a Berlin disco bombing and France's bombing of the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior. The British prime minister replied the two could not be compared and dismissed the subject without explaining why. That few journalists pursued the point is disturbing
Lions in Winter
by Chrys Goyens, Allan Turowetz

440 pages $19.95 cloth
ISBN: 013537457X
Book Review
Habs and have-nots
by Jack Batten
I remember when I was a Toronto Maple Leaf fan. Just barely. It was back in the years when Cone Smythe ran things at Maple Leaf Gardens, when the Gardens was is the exactly correct words of Peter Growski's 1964 description "kept just a trifle cleaner than St.
Tree Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories in English
by Margaret Atwood, Robert Weaver

436 pages $24.95 cloth
ISBN: 019540565X
Book Review
Sins of omission
by Allan Weiss
A SHORT STORY anthology is usually designed to fulfil a specific function: as a school textbook, a showcase for the works of a region or ethnic group, a sample of a literature's "bests," and so on. Occasionally, an anthology is published without any clearly defined function, or strives to serve so many different ones that it strains against restrictions an size. The Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories in English seems to belong to the latter category.
Selected Poems II Poem Selected and Near 1976-1986
by Margaret Atwood

176 pages $12.95 paper
ISBN: 0195405617
Second Nature
by Libby Scheier

Coach House Press
120 pages $8.5 paper
ISBN: 088910297X
Dogatones Selected and New Poems
by Anne Szumigalski

Fifth House
152 pages $22.95 cloth
ISBN: 0920079210
Book Review
Victims of a bleak universe.
by Bruce Whiteman
In "Coping with Bad Karma," a gently selfmocking poem about the injustice of unrewarded virtue, Libby Scheier remarks in passing on the source of some of her poetry. Against undeserved provocations she counters: "How I've learned to control both/my homicidal and suicidal tendencies,/rechanneling my violence/ into the creative act of writing poems.
Maureen Forrester Out of Character
by Maureen Forrester, Marry McDonald

McClelland & Stewart
326 pages $24.95 cloth
ISBN: 0771032277
Book Review
On Stage
by Janet Windeler
In Maureen Forrester's recurring dream she is figure-skating on a vast field of white, then suddenly finds herself airborne, floating free in the sky like a figure in a Chagall painting, soaring above whatever obstacles she finds in her way. This wonderful, inspiring image is consistent with how Forrester looks back on her life and the way she has lived it.
Back Flip
by Anne Denoon

Porcupine's Quill Press
323 pages $24.95 paper
ISBN: 0679311793
Writer's writers
by Alice Munro
Alice Munro sets the standard among her peers as Canadian literature progresses from regional yarn-spinning to internatlonal acclaim. What are you reading this winter? And what are your thoughts on the current state of Canadian literature? Books in Canada put these questions to 25 notable literary personalities in the first stage of a two-part survey (for the second stage, see the accompanying box), and received some interesting replies
Paulete Jiles
by Eleanor Wachtel
'For me a train Is a moment of suspended time be two points. It's like being cast away, only it's a lot more comfortable' Travel is an important theme for Paulette files. Trains figured in her 1973 book of poetry, Waterloo Express (House of Anansi), and one of her two new books, Sitting ha the Club Car Drinking Rum and Karma Kola (Polestar Press), is set on a train. Her other new book is The Late Great Human Road Show (Talonbooks), a first novel that she began to write 11 years ago.
Sound barriers
by Bob Blackburn
Confusibles may look alike, or appear to have the same root, when in fact they don't. What they have in common is that they are commonly confused. The confusion between flaunt and flout was mentioned here in the December issue, not for the first time, and, as you can see, not for the last. I was since told of someone on TV saying, "flaunt - flout - [shrug] whatever." At least he was aware that there is a difference, even if he didn't know what it is.
by Halen Weinzwelg
Alfred Mulgrave sits there through the night, a pile of folders on his right, another pile on his left, folders scattered on the floor. . . the detritus of ambition' Retrieve TM memory. In the dead of night. Mountains of paper. Reconstruct
Excerpts from the Real World
by Robert Kroetsch

Oolichan Books
80 pages $7.95 paper
ISBN: 0889820597
by Louise LONGO
Fans of Robert Kroetsch's poetry (of whom I am one) may find Excerpts from the Real Florid disappointing. Though it does contain some delightful whimsy and a fine sense of the playful side of the literary life, artfully mingled with the more sombre, its total effect doesn't quite add up to anything memorable. At times the tone is intentionally undermining and even mocking - of the poetic intent: 26/4/85 Everything recurs (more or leas). Consider, for Instance, spring.
Virgin Science
by Pier Giorgio Di Cicco

McClelland & Stewart
183 pages $9.95 paper
ISBN: 0771021038
by Brian Fawcett
Pier Giorgio di Cicco's Virgin Science it an ambitious, literate, and wen written volume of verse. It has everything that Canada's small fund of serious verse readers ask for - wit, erudition, and polished language. More than that, this book isn't just the usual downloading of a full curriculum vitae. Virgin Science is obviously the record of a profound spiritual rite of passage
Changes of state
by Gary Geddes

Coteau Books
67 pages $7 paper
ISBN: 0919926517
Changes of State
by Louise LONGO
A case could be made that the power of Gary Geddes's poetry lies in his ability to get at the essential, the childlike or radically simple. It's a difficult thing to risk (and handle well) but in Changes of State he scores a definite victory. For example, echoes of Robert Frost and Robert Bly pervade his quiet, lovely, halkulike lyric "Not Out of the Woods Yet": Somewhere there is a story a legend about to unfold. I can feel it it is gentle, antlered, and always in flight.
Field Notes
My trip to Iceland
'Steam rises on the horizon and I, coming front a world away, mistake it for smoke. It is only the first of many assumptions that will be wrong' It is still dark when the phone rings. I stumble to the study, pick up the receiver expecting the worst (I have survived my children's adolescence but not without scars) only to hear the operator say, "Hold the Line please. I have a call from Iceland." "Mr
Downfall People
by Jo Anne William Bennett

McClelland & Stewart
316 pages $22.95 cloth
ISBN: 0771011857
Brief Reviews
Literary contests always seem dubious affairs: money and renown sparkle in the foreground, while the writing, however competent may take years to prove a sustained interest. After the contest comes the real competition. Jo Anne Williams Bennett is the eighth recipient of the Seal Books first novel award, for her Downfall People (the name of a West African passenger lorry). Williams's protagonist, Likki Liddell.
A Hero Travels Light
by Lilly Barnes

Oberon Press
162 pages $23.95 cloth
ISBN: 0887506364
Brief Reviews
by Candace CARMAN
Lilly Barnes's first collection of short stories hinges on the universality of secrets. We all have them, and all suffer from their destructive effects. If we are found out we may be punished, and often when, we are not found out, we punish ourselves. Barnes's characters emerge from the lies and secrets that pervaded the Third Reich and its aftermath, in particular the theme of the impostor. Both hero and coward illustrate the fear of being exposed, demonstrated to be not "real
A Long Night of Death
by Alberto Balcarce

Mosaic Pros
182 pages $19.95 cloth
ISBN: 0889623430
Brief Reviews
by Barbara CAREY
In the early 1980, when Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay (collectively known as the Southern Cone) were all in the grip of military dictatorships, the Inter-Church Committee on Human Rights in Latin America published a report that described the region as "one gigantic prison." Argentinar returned to civilian rule in 1953.
The Queen's Secret
by Charles Templeton

McClelland & Stewart
336 pages $22.95 cloth
ISBN: 077108451X
Brief Reviews
Dallasification. That's how the London press describes the process by which the staid institution of British royalty has metamorphosed into a soap opera followed slavishly by millions. This vast market cannot have been far from Charles Templeton's mind when he began The Queen's Secret, but most royalists will be disappointed. Templeton has elected to set his novel in the near future, when the throne is occupied by a monarch named Mary III.
The Letter
by W. Gunther Plaut

McClelland & Stewart
333 pages $22.95 cloth
ISBN: 0771071647
Brief Reviews
by Douglas Hill
The latest phase in W. Gunther Plant's long and admired career has led him to fiction. There was a collection of short stories, Ranging Threads, in 1981; The Letter is his first novel. Plaut now is in his mid 70s, but his writing shows no signs of waning energy or enthusiasm. His novel is a well-organized and tightly plotted historical thriller that pits faith and hope against the Nazi horror.
Looking For the Last Big Tree
by Michael Doss

242 pages $18.95 cloth
ISBN: 0385250568
Brief Reviews
Michael Foss is a British writer with a number of non-fiction works and books for children to his credit. He has lived in North America, with time in British Columbia, the setting for this ambitious novel. It has a number of ingredients that could make for success - wit, learning, stylish prose, cynicism about man's endeavours and dreams - but the material simply does not come alive as fictional experience.
The Fencepost Chronicles
by W. P. Kinsella

Totem Press
190 pages $9.95 paper
ISBN: 0395446465
Brief Reviews
by Lenore Keeshig Tobias
This is W.P. Kinsella's fifth collection of "Indian stories" featuring the zany Cree trickster Frank Fencepost and master storyteller/writer Silas Ermineskin. From the local stomping ground of the home rez we trail these two coyotes as they crisscross the continent, sometimes venturing beyond.
The Whirlpool
by Jane Urquhart

McClelland & Sue
237 pages $12.95 paper
ISBN: 0771086555
Brief Reviews
by Sherie Posesorki
The person and poetics of Robert Browning cast a giant shadow over Jane Urquhart's ambitious first novel The Whirlpool. In her prologue Urquhart presents the elderly Browning in Venice, overwhelmed by his recollections of the poet Shelley and by portents of his death. This romantically morbid vignette introduces the major leitmotivs of her novel: dreams, obsessions, death, and their relationship to the production of art. Browning wrote, "Throughout life, 'tis death makes life live.

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