Friday, April 13, 2007

I Love the Canadians Too, and the Brits, and Maybe the Australians, if I Could Find Any Books by Them

Start with this post at Nonfiction Readers Anonymous, about how much she likes Canadian writers. When I read this, I had just returned from Canada (really!). And while in Canada, I went to a used bookstore and marveled at all the books by Canadians, many of which I'd already read and loved. In addition to the authors cited by Ms. NonAnon, I add Jill Kerr Conway (who immigrated to Canada from Australia) and Alice Munro.

Well I know it sounds stupid to have been stunned by the number of books I found by Canadians, when I was in Canada! It's just that I liked seeing all these books in one place. And to be accurate, you can find books by all these writers in American book stores also. It was just a good reminder of how much I enjoy all these women.

I never heard of Diane Schoemperlen, but I have just requested her book Our Lady of the Lost and Found from the library. Also The Beggar Maid, by Alice Munro. And I'm on the list for Jane Urquhart's new book, A Map of Glass. Oh dear. So it looks like next month will be Canada month. Meanwhile, I seem to be back on track with fiction in general. Right now I am reading Arthur and George by Julian Barnes and am really enjoying it.


Anonymous said...

I have been declaring for years that three of the world's best living fiction writers in English are Canadian:

Michael Ondaatje, Alice Munro, and Margaret Atwood.

Becky, I know you had problems with _The English Patient_, but check out _In the Skin of a Lion_. Ondaatje is a poet and his prose shows it: lyrical and lovely.

By the way, thanks to a rave from you, I bought Kate Atkinson's _Behind the Scenes at the Museum_ yesterday. In fact, I briefly gave in to book lust and also bought two others I've been wanting to read: Susanna Clarke's novel about the magicians (_Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell_) and Ivan Doig's _Dancing at the Rascal Fair_.

Now you've given me a couple of others to add to the list. Strangely, however, I do not really like Carol Shields. I read _Stone Diaries_ and was underwhelmed, and then I read and reviewed a collection of stories (I can't even remember the title, they were so unmemorable -- something with _Carnival_, perhaps?). Just no accounting for taste....

Anonymous said...

Beck, One of my favorites is by Wayson Choi called JADE PEONY. I believe it was a Trillium(?)winner several years ago. A Canadian man, heaven forbid, but a great story.

Becky Holmes said...

Susan, I had trouble with the MOVIE of the English Patient, but never tried the book. I wouldn't rule it out. Interestingly, the two Carol Shields books you name were my least favorites. I also found them underwhelming; I was surprised that The Stone Diaries was the one that won the award, when I felt like she had others that were stronger. If you ever feel like giving her another change, I think her two best books are Unless (her last) and an early book called The Republic of Love. There's another Ondaatje book that's been recommended to me before. I just can't remember the title.

Anonymous said...

I LOVED "Unless" by Carol Shields; also enjoyed her "The Box Garden" (or something like that). Couldn't get into her collected short stories, though, which surprised me.

Anonymous said...

How about Margaret Lawrence (or is is Laurence) - I haven't read her in decades, but a friend says she is her favorit authori.

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