Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Trumpets and drums, please ...

... ‘The Ten best Canadian Books’.


  1. Anonymous2:22 PM

    Nothing by Robertson Davies? Jeez. I'm sure he'd have got a kick out of being shown up by "The Fur Trade in Canada" though. Just the kind of silliness he loved to skewer.

  2. Well, if I were going to pick a book by Northrop Frye, it be Fearful Symmetry. And yes, given that Fifth Business may well be the most perfectly plotted book ever, it certainly deserves to be there. Also, given that Davies is maybe Canada's best-known author, period, he should have been given some consideration. That said, I hear that once you put The Fur Trade in Canada down, you just can't pick it up again.

  3. Anonymous6:02 PM

    This list, not surprisingly, says very little about the variety and richness of writing available in Canada in 1972; but, the fact it made its début *in* '72 may explain the overslight since, the book wherein the list exists, Read Canadian, would have taken at least a year-plus to compile, collate, obtain rights / permissions, and actually publish (as we know).

    I do know one of Read Canadian's editors, Robert Fulford, worshipped the book and thought very highly of its author; so, it doesn't make sense it's not there unless the theory espoused above comes into play. Only explanation that makes sense to me; for, whatever else one might say or think about Davies, this novel simply stuns any reader worth their weight in withits containing, as it does, an unforgettable story beautifully rendered and vividly realised. It ought to be on *any* list, IMO.

    What I find shocking? No Hubert "révolutionnaire et suicidaire" Aquin (1929-1972) nor, for that matter, do *any* French-Canadian authors appear on the list, truly shocking (in retrospect, given the rich store of work issuing from Quebec by the time Read Canadian did make its way to in-store front racks). Egawds! (Comment fucking embarrassant!)

    Not only do Leonard Cohen and Irving Layton not make the cut, McLuhan's book that does feature on this shit-list, Gutenberg Galaxy, can't hold a bell, book, nor candle to what I believe to be his finest tome, Understanding Media (1964).

    And, that's just for starters; I do think Laurence's book ought to be on that list; but, far too many of the others have effectively proven their inclusion wrongly thought (and, sadly, that says far more about the editors than the books they've elected to elevate).

  4. Funny, in 2008 I read this list with a mixture of nods and gags. Would I have thought otherwise in 1972? At the age of 1 I probably wouldn't have thought much about the Intro to CDN Economic History even if it was by Harold Adam Innis.

    Looking at the list again in 30 odd years will my reaction still be a mixture of nods and gags? Maybe my tastes will mature, as they have done since 1972 and maybe, just maybe the list will expand. The good 'ol boys will remain, because face it, they earned the spot, yet we'll be introduced to worthy new comers. Let's hope.

    Kathleen Molloy, author - Dining with Death