Literary Review of Canada October 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
our contributors

Katherine Ashenburg will publish Her Turn, a novel, next year. Sheima Benembarek is a recent graduate of the King’s College master of fine arts program. Kelvin Browne is the executive director of the Gardiner Museum, in Toronto. David Cayley is the author of the forthcoming Ivan Illich: An Intellectual Journey. Keith Garebian just published Mini Musings: Miniature Thoughts on Theatre and Poetry. J. L. Granatstein writes on Canadian political and military history. Scott Griffin is the founder of the annual Griffin Poetry Prize. Ron Hikel has worked with political parties in the United States, England, and Canada. Alex Himelfarb was Canada’s ambassador to Italy from 2006 to 2009. Tom Jokinen is a frequent contributor to the magazine. He lives in Winnipeg. Kevin Keystone reads and writes in Toronto. Chad Kohalyk is working on a book in Japan. Sarah Wylie Krotz is a…

4 min
a divided nation

I WAS IN IQALUIT THE LAST TIME I WATCHED a movie on VHS. It was mid-December 2014, and while I was a whiz at downloading and streaming content back in Toronto, Nunavummiut didn’t have access to broadband internet service. What they did have was the local Northmart and a bin of used videotapes. My hosts were on a Kevin Costner kick at the time, and after a day of dogsledding in Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park, we picked up a copy of Dances with Wolves for $1. In tech time, six years is about as long as Dances with Wolves is in movie time — an eternity. But even that hasn’t been long enough to make a material difference when it comes to internet service for much of rural and northern Canada.…

10 min

RE: False Notions by Mark Nkalubo Nabeta (July/August) THANK YOU FOR PUBLISHING MARK NKALUBO Nabeta’s excellent essay. And thank you, Mark Nkalubo Nabeta, for writing it. Your words have inspired me to educate myself and to take action against racism. Once again, I thank you both. Barry CookWhitby, Ontario RE: A Northern Light by Sarah Rogers (July/August) HAVING ENJOYED THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK with Inuit at hockey schools in the mid-2000s, I think about them from time to time. This article put me back in Iqaluit and Kuujjuaq. Sarah Rogers writes so well, I feel like I am there again. Tom CallaghanNewmarket, Ontario RE: Labyrinth by Sheree Fitch (July/August) I READ SHEREE FITCH’S BOOKS TO MY OWN CHILDREN and to my primary students, as a teacher for thirty-five years. Delightful! Fun! Tongue twisters! I never imagined I’d be reading a…

15 min
this story is mine

This, I think, is the cost of telling, even in the guise of fiction. Once you do, it’s the only thing about you anyone will ever care about. It defines you whether you want it to or not. — Kate Elizabeth Russell Who would have thought something that happened that long ago could have such power? — Alice Sebold IN JUNE 1964, A FEW WEEKS BEFORE MY thirteenth birthday, I was raped by a man old enough to be my father. As shocking as that sentence is, its construction is flawed. As a writer, I try to avoid using the passive voice, because, say William Strunk and E. B. White in The Elements of Style, “the active voice is usually more direct and vigorous than the passive.” That is the kind of writer and…

1 min

“You want my advice?History’s a vise.(My thought’s gold — not tripe.)Africa got minedFor Black merchandise.Cleopatra’s Nile —Napoleon’s milesOf mud, his red strides —Enmity’s empires —The ethnic quagmires —Countless genocides —Rights nixed by blood-rites —Peoples gone haywire —Chronicles that rileAnd urge homicides(Recall Hitler’s hire;Next, Jews — deuced — got diced)….I can be precise.The Truth must suffice:History’s blood-rife.This, I’ve versified.” George Elliott Clarke is the author of Portia White: A Portrait in Words and other books, and is a former Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate. “Walcott” comes from the larger sequence “Nine Scribes’ Lives.”…

24 min
the prognosis

IT IS STRIKING HOW OFTEN HISTORICAL events arrive with their meanings plainly legible. When Napoleon clattered by Hegel’s window in Jena, in October 1806, the philosopher famously perceived in the emperor’s appearance “the soul of the world … seated on a horse.” The thought that fit the moment was ready for its occasion. In summer 1914, when Europe went to war “like a sleepwalker,” as the economic historian Karl Polanyi later recalled, it enacted a fate it was already dreaming. In our time, 9/11 declared its significance almost the instant it happened, as if everyone had just been waiting. With the ruins of the World Trade Center still smoking, the patent meaning of the towers’ collapse was easily parsed in the next morning’s papers: it was the end of every…