Literary Review of Canada April 2021

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

Kelvin Browne converted to Catholicism in 2014, at Easter. Leah Allyce Canali Leah Allyce Canali is a singer, songwriter, and producer, often to be found in Toronto’s Village. Patrice Dutil is the magazine’s founding editor. He teaches politics at Ryerson University. Jamieson Findlay has published two novels, including The Summer of Permanent Wants. Graham Fraser wrote Playing for Keeps: The Making of the Prime Minister, 1988. Charlotte Gray is an award-winning biographer and the author of Murdered Midas. Nicholas Griffin lives and works in Toronto. Basil Guinane enjoys a happy retirement in Creemore, Ontario. Tom Jokinen is a frequent contributor to the magazine. He lives in Winnipeg. Chad Kohalyk currently lives in Ikijima, Japan, where he is working on a book. Aaron Kreuter recently received his doctorate in English literature from York University. David MacKenzie is a history professor at Ryerson…

4 min
the roundup

IN 1980, THE BEAT WRITER WILLIAM S. Burroughs gave a public reading at the Centennial Planetarium, in Calgary. Eight years later, another counterculture icon, the poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, attended a gala as part of the Olympic Writers Festival. In 2009, the humorist David Sedaris grabbed one of those famous milkshakes at Peters’ Drive-In. Spider-Man once attended the Stampede, as did Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters. And when he stopped in Calgary for “one lively half-hour” in 1907, Rudyard Kipling declared it “the wonder city of Canada.” These and other tenuous associations with Cowtown are captured in A Literary Map of Calgary, a new interactive exhibit curated by the local public library’s outgoing historian-inresidence, Shaun Hunter. To be sure, the online map, which seeks to capture “the extensive and surprising dimensions…

4 min

RE: A Pronounced Problem by Kyle Wyatt (March) I PICKED UP YOUR JOURNAL FOR THE FIRST TIME and thoroughly enjoyed it. And thank you for the instructive and timely editorial. I find myself annoyed and frustrated when listening to CBC Radio or when local news channels focus most of their airtime on U.S. news. I agree that we can’t ignore our southern neighbour, but there is something to be said for focusing on Canada, its politics, its cultures, its challenges and opportunities, and its vast and beautiful landscapes. It’s for this simple reason that I’ve subscribed to the Globe and Mail; it’s for this reason I told my friends that I would like to spend more time exploring our national parks. It’s not only a matter of U.S.-focused airtime and social media, but more…

13 min
not safe for work?

The Huawei Model: The Rise of China’s Technology Giant Yun Wen University of Illinois Press 256 pages, hardcover, softcover, and ebook Negotiating Our Economic Future: Trade, Technology, and Diplomacy Geoffrey Allen Pigman McGill-Queen’s University Press 224 pages, hardcover and softcover IT WAS ONCE TYPICAL OF COUNTERCUL TURE nonchalance to dream of a benign technological future full of easy rewards. “I like to think / (it has to be!) / of a cybernetic ecology / where we are free of our labors / and joined back to nature,” the American poet Richard Brautigan wrote, in 1967. “All watched over / by machines of loving grace.” While Brautigan’s glib vision is no longer just a fanciful prospect, the reality is anything but a blithe utopia. The domination of our daily lives by digital technologies, including those that watch and listen…

7 min
there shall be a sitting

The Canadian Federal Election of 2019 Edited by Jon H. Pammett and Christopher Dornan McGill-Queen’s University Press 368 pages, hardcover and softcover THE POPULAR ELECTION NARRATIVE was born with Theodore H. White’s The Making of the President 1960. The book, which won the Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction and dominated bestseller lists for months, “revolutionized the art of political reporting,” in the words of William F. Buckley. White’s compelling prose, his access to John F. Kennedy’s team, and the exciting nature of an election that saw JFK narrowly (and, perhaps, illegally) defeat Richard Nixon combined to produce something of an ur-text. Similar volumes emerged after every presidential race for the next several decades, some penned by White himself and others written by Jules Witcover, Jack Germond, and teams of Newsweek reporters. These books always set…

1 min
holy week

Tuesday I left my house and a whole lot of leaves from last fallsped ahead like they were running to catch up with something.It was all hurrying so fast. Wednesday my sister had a Seder and read the plagueswithout a hint of irony. I ate a frozen dinner at home. On Good Friday, it was reported nurses everywherehad the taste of death in their mouths. Monks wore long brown robes and face masksinto the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. On Saturday, a girl in the road was practising the names of days,changing their order with her mouth power. Tuesday is at the back!Why not? The days are as shapeless as sweatpants. I lie awake with millions of other insomniacs,marvelling at how it isthat midnight belongs to no one. Next week will also be holy. Ronna Bloom has…