Monday, March 9, 2009


Canada has many great and wondrous writers comparable to any other English speaking country. It just seems that in the past two or three decades Canada has emerged as leading force in excellent literature. I'm only going to touch on a few who have thrilled and delighted me with their writing skills.

Guy Vanderhaeghe who resides in saskatoon has won numerous awards both here and abroad for his work. I really like him. Lately he has been writing about he old west in the style of McCarthy and McMurtry only with a much more interesting Canadian twist. THE LAST CROSSING is an amazing novel. The scope and detail of this brilliant, unforgettable book that traces a family's hardships and trials through three countries are quite powerful and secures Vanderhaeghe as a major Canadian storyteller. I loved it! By the way, I urges my daughter to read it, but she said there's too much testosterone in it. So there you go. A book like that is just not everybody's cup of tea(Didn't I say I hated that expression?)

Guy Vanderhaeghe also wrote THE ENGLISHMAN'S BOY, another Western style novel that was made into an absolutely wonderful TV miniseries a couple of years back. It's also an excellent book, despite what my daughter says. I'm really looking forward to Guy's next book. You know, I feel kind of sorry for successful writers because I would imagine there is a lot of pressure on them to bring out another masterpiece. But you can do it, Guy.

Joseph Boyden's THREE DAY ROAD which was published in 2005 marked a auspicious beginning for this Canadian writer. What an amazing novel this is! It's possibly the best war novel to ever be written in Canada---I think so anyway. The story of two Native boys fighting in the trenches of France during WW1 with flashbacks to their lives growing up in bush of Northern Ontario is absolutely compelling. Boyden's horrific scenes of Xavier and Elijah skulking around no-man's land at midnight sniping at the Germans in their trenches is quite powerful. This is a great book! This novel missed getting the top literary Canadian prizes which is just unbelievable in my opinion.(More about prizes for novels later).

Joseph Boyden's THROUGH BLACK SPRUCE which came out this year was an instant bestseller and won all the prizes, so it goes. THROUGH BLACK SPRUCE continues the story of the Bird family in their contemporary aboriginal life in present times. I really enjoyed this book also, but it does not match the intensity and beauty of THREE DAY ROAD, in my opinion.

Nino Ricci's THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES, which I just finished reading, is quite an enjoyable novel. It's still on the bestseller list, and the main character's(Alex) ill-fated trip around the Galapagos Islands on an old fishing boat with an irritable skipper and a mad scientist is worth the price of the book alone(it's that old sea theme again, always gets me).

Next: American female writers

No comments:

Post a Comment