Literary Review of Canada May 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

1 min
new books from ecw press

MISCONDUCT OF THE HEART CORDELIA STRUBE “Strube has an absolute gift for humour. Stevie is smart, funny, and sensitive … a remarkably engaging character.” Quill & Quire, starred review With her usual flair for wry humour, dark storylines, and empathetically-drawn characters, Cordelia Strube’s latest novel delves into the raucous world of Chappy’s, a small chain restaurant, and the eccentrics who work there. Two books asking readers to find the common thread that bonds us all Both books available in ebook and audiobook formats MOMENTS OF GLAD GRACE ALISON WEARING “This is a wise, funny, and tender book. Beautifully written and perfectly executed from first to last sentence … Moments of Glad Grace is a travelogue of the heart. It’s a road you’ll want to travel.” — Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi A moving and witty memoir of…

1 min
our contributors

Carol Bishop-Gwyn wrote Art and Rivalry: The Marriage of Mary and Christopher Pratt Andrew Benjamin Bricker teaches English literature at Ghent University. Kimberley Brown is a freelance journalist based in Latin America. Jeff Costen was a communications adviser and press secretary for three cabinet ministers in the Ontario Liberal government. Kelli Deeth teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto. Viviane Fairbank is a freelance writer and editor in Montreal. Keith Garebian wrote Colours to the Chameleon: Canadian Actors on Shakespeare. Rose Hendrie is an assistant editor for the magazine. She’s just completed a novel. Eric Johnson is a corporate communications strategist in Toronto. Mark Kingwell has written numerous books, including Wish I Were Here: Boredom and the Interface. Jeannie Marshall was previously a feature writer for the National Post. She lives in Rome. Geoff Martin is a contributing editor at…

3 min
mapping what ails us

DICTATORIAL SWAY OVER the press so alarmed Carl W. Ackerman, the first dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, that he set out to map it. From his office in Morningside Heights, Ackerman observed a “world-wide epidemic of governmental domination” radiating out of China and the Soviet Union and spreading throughout Asia, Europe, and parts of Africa. By the time he finished, in late 1937, pockets of North and South America, including Quebec and Alberta, had already been infected with “varying degrees of control, censorship and intimidation.” The New York Times ran Ackerman’s map on January 3, 1938, and was followed by hundreds of other papers — from the Globe and Mail to the Lincoln Evening Journal, from the Oakland Tribune to the Orlando Sentinel — that either reprinted or described…

5 min

RE: Character Studyby Ruth Panofsky (March) OFTEN I HAVE HEARD INDIVIDUALS CLAIM TO HAVE been the real-life model for this or that literary character, and, almost categorically, I am skeptical. (It’s a well kept secret, but I was the fella who inspired Jason Bourne.) Not so in Ruth Panofsky’s beautifully written and evocative memoir of her late father, Marvin Panofsky, and his Baron Byng pal “Mordy,” who was mine. I am convinced. And moved. I never met Marvin, nor have I met Ruth, though perhaps one day I shall. Certainly we’ll have lots to discuss. I feel, now, as if I have discovered a cousin I knew nothing about. I thank the Literary Review of Canada for this piece. Noah RichlerToronto RE: Taking Stockby Brad Dunne (April) IN HIS REVIEW OF MY BOOK, COD COLLAPSE,…

15 min
quarantine diaries

MARCH 1. THE FIRST CASE of COVID-19 appeared in Belgium on February 4, in Brussels. I live in Ghent, about fifty kilometres away. The pandemic begins today, however, when a bunch of Belgians return home from a skiing vacation in northern Italy. I think of Daniel Defoe, writing in 1722: “It matter’d not, from whence it come; but all agreed, [the plague] was come into Holland again.” There are now two known cases. I learn from a friend’s article in the New York Times that “quarantine” comes from the Venetian word for forty days, the period of isolation imposed on ships during times of plague. Thirty-nine days to go, I guess. March 2. My wife and I return home from Barcelona after a blithely ignorant weekend away, built largely around seafood,…

1 min
of course you do find spicy bits

Today is for an archive.It is religious and therefore lavish and habitually cleaned. I’ve heardthat private libraries and repeat days underground are the process of book writingso it’s assumed I am poet a boy propped over century-old table in the history beneath a Montreal summer.The archivist interrupts by fingering a mini-canoe reliquaryupon table between us. They don’t get many visitors.It is a gift from France. A boat ferrying brass box no bigger than fistholds phalanges of Canada’s saints and the finger of Brébeuf angles toward me.I ignore the angel’s gesture, a cliché vestige and work to wrench opena rez school record book. The Jesuits have been so kind to me.They’ve kept meticulous statistics since day one. There is a purityin their honesty that is cleansing or erotic. Makes me, nearlyenter the house of solidarity. Instead I steal knuckles.It is difficult to write with the…