Literary Review of Canada

Culture & Literature
Literary Review of Canada

Literary Review of Canada

November 2020

Where the country’s best writers, thinkers, and artists come to take a stand on the topics that matter most. An unrivalled source of long-form reviews and commentary.

Literary Review of Canada
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10 Issues

in this issue

4 min.

RE: The Prognosis by David Cayley (October) PLEASE ACCEPT AND PASS ON TO DAVID CAYLEY MY admiration for “The Prognosis.” The point isn’t whether we should agree or disagree with some or all of the piece. It is to express satisfaction on finding a brave and reasonable and unfortunately rare commentary that offers a dissenting perspective on what has become, in many ways, a hysterical discourse. Linden MacIntyre Toronto RE: Thank You, Next by Joe Martin (October) JOE MARTIN’S ANGER IS PALPABLE. YET IT IS PROFOUNDLY misplaced. A peculiar history lesson on Conservative (and Liberal) prime ministers, ending in a bizarre jab at the late Pierre Trudeau, Martin’s argument that we must stick by leaders who do not deliver the instant gratification of winning has multiple flaws, most of which can be addressed by the rise…

15 min.
there may yet be hope

Commanding Hope: The Power We Have to Renew a World in Peril Thomas Homer-Dixon Knopf Canada 464 pages, hardcover, ebook, and audiobook ON SEPTEMBER 12, 1961, A THIRTY-four-year-old activist from Connecticut named Stephanie May travelled to New York and began a hunger strike outside the Soviet mission on East Sixty-Seventh Street. Two police officers threatened to arrest her for vagrancy the moment she arrived; they agreed to let her stay only after she promised not to spend the night. For the next six days, May occupied the sidewalk from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., living on water and broth and feeling, as she later wrote, “absolutely invisible, except to little children instructed not to look, and to teenagers in parochial school uniforms who stole furtive glances and then giggled.” The resolute…

1 min.
catacomb saint

did I mention it was raining when we left — the roof was battered, under siege,soaked, whipped, hammered — my shoes were wrecked into hash, my skindreadful to touch — did I tell you about the storm at all, did I admit I was,I am, afraid first the priest went by, holding a church, and then his brother, his nephew,his friend — the cycle of life and dead as a crumpled gold handkerchief—if I could paint, I would be a bit like that it was a day of rest, and the dog was charming — we were beautiful animalsthat day in the sun, blankets over our knees while our friends met onthe rooftop we had taken the night train — the old and dirty gods were packed intrunks — for hours you were…

19 min.
a wretched motley crew

The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775–1777 Rick Atkinson Henry Holt and Company 800 pages, softcover, ebook, and audiobook La noblesse canadienne: Regards d’histoire sur deux continents Yves Drolet and Robert Larin Éditions de la Sarracénie 221 pages, ebook FOR SIX OR SEVEN UNPRECEDENTED decades, Canada and its allies shared three powerful assumptions: that democracies would multiply, trade would grow, and borders would stay open. NAFTA and an enlarging European Union were poster children for these megatrends. Sadly, in the age of Trump, Brexit, and COVID‑19, all three comforting nostrums — signs of history’s seeming drift toward better times — have hit the buffers. According to Freedom House, an independent watchdog based in Washington, the world has seen fourteen consecutive years of democratic decline since 2006. The…

4 min.
wrap party

Book of Donair: Everything You Wanted to Know about the Halifax Food That Became Canada’s Favourite Kebab Lindsay Wickstrom MacIntyre Purcell Publishing 192 pages, softcover FIRST, A CONFESSION: I AM A DONAIR heretic here in Halifax. My fondest (albeit fuzziest) memories of this town’s iconic meat ’n’ pita mess-fest were actually made in Fredericton, circa 1995, and involved the highly dubious donair submarine sandwiches peddled by the equally dubious campus character known as Rog the Sub Guy. I also believe that lettuce absolutely does belong on donairs. And because I’ve been a vegetarian for over a decade now, properly spiced seitan passes for meat in my books. Finally, I confess that my eyes nearly got stuck in the back of my head from rolling so hard when the donair was declared…

9 min.
operative words

Inside the Campaign: Managing Elections in Canada Edited by Alex Marland and Thierry Giasson UBC Press 252 pages, softcover and ebook ROGER STONE HAS A NETFLIX documentary about him. David Axelrod’s memoir is a New York Times bestseller. While American political operatives have long been the subject of media interest and lore, their Canadian counterparts tend to work in the shadows and live in relative anonymity. Condensed election cycles, more stringent spending limits, and third parties have created quieter, less visible campaign leadership north of the border. Yet the strategies, policy deliberations, and communications tactics used while stumping leave lasting and often foundational impacts on the governments we elect. Canadians are due for a thorough and serious look at campaigns and the decision-makers who shape them. With Inside the Campaign: Managing Elections in…