Ibis3's Canadian Literature Challenge

Ibis3 delves into classic Canadian literature. Yes there is such a thing! First up: the entire McClelland & Stewart's New Canadian Library.

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Location: Clarington, Ontario, Canada

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Canadian Literature Challenge on BookCrossing

I'm creating this blog so I can set up a page for my BookCrossing Canadian Literature Project.

Here is the thread in which I was inspired to create this project:
Hey Canucks! I have a CanLit question...
"In a way, I feel like an exile from (or at least a stranger to) my own country, in a literary sense. I can probably count how many Canadian books I've read. That's pretty sad when I consider how many American novels I've read (not to mention British). I'm talking classics here not mass genre fiction (though I'm positive I could say the same for that too, but that doesn't really bother me). I'm patriotic, in a nice, polite, Canadian way. I have an interest in my national culture. I'm at a point where I'm trying to address some of the shortfalls in my reading list (I'm trying to read some of those kiddielit classics that I missed out on, for example). So the question I have is, where should I start? What classic CanLit book would you recommend I read? "

Here is the thread in which I announced this project:
Invitation to Canadian Lit 101
"I have a plan, inspired by suggestions given to me in my previous CanLit thread, to read through the entire New Canadian Library collection (though that might take a while!), along with any other Canadian books that come my way. If anyone else is interested in reading some Canadian classics, I'd appreciate the company. You're welcome to join me for one or for all. I'll announce 'em as I pick 'em."

Below is a list of books included in the project. I've decided to break up the entries on the books so it will be a little less unwieldy. On subsequent posts, you'll find links to all of the threads on the Book Talk forum relating to this project. I'm anticipating that months might go by and someone might choose to read an active book. Please feel free to resurrect the appropriate thread at that point.

Canadian Lit Project Books (in alphabetical order by title--reading order will be chosen somewhat haphazardly).

The Acrobats (1954) - Mordecai Richler
Across the Bridge (1993) - Mavis Gallant
The Afterlife of George Cartwright (1992) - John Steffler
The Alley Cat (1981) - Yves Beauchemin
Anne of Green Gables (1908) - L.M. Montgomery
Antoinette de Mirecourt (1864) - Rosanna Leprohon
Any Time At All and Other Stories (1993) - Joyce Marshall
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1959) - Mordecai Richler
Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich (1914) - Stephen Leacock
As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories (1986) - Alistair MacLeod [the stories of this collection have been published with those from The Lost Salt Gift of Blood in Island]
As For Me and My House (1941) - Sinclair Ross
The Backwoods of Canada (1836) - Catharine Parr Traill
Barometer Rising (1941) - Hugh MacLennan
Bear (1976)- Marian Engel
Beautiful Losers (1966) - Leonard Cohen
A Bird in the House (1970) - Margaret Laurence
The Blind Assassin (2000) - Margaret Atwood *
Blood Ties (1976) - David Adams Richards
The Blue Mountains of China (1970) - Rudy Wiebe
Canadian Poetry: From the Beginnings Through the First World War - Carole Gerson (ed.), and Gwendolyn Davies (ed.)
The Cashier (1954) - Gabrielle Roy
Children of My Heart (1977) - Gabrielle Roy *
A Choice of Enemies (1957) - Mordecai Richler
The Clockmaker: The Sayings and Doings of Samuel Slick of Slickville (1835-6) - Thomas Chandler Haliburton
Cocksure (1968) - Mordecai Richler
The Coming of Winter (1968) - David Adams Richards
Crackpot (1974) - Adele Wiseman
Deep Hollow Creek (1992) - Sheila Watson
Digging Up the Mountains (1985)- Neil Bissondath
The Diviners (1974) - Margaret Laurence
The Double Hook (1959) - Sheila Watson
Each Man's Son (1951) - Hugh MacLennan
The Edible Woman (1969) - Margaret Atwood
Emily Climbs (1925) - L.M. Montgomery
Emily of New Moon (1923) - L.M. Montgomery
Emily's Quest (1927) - L.M. Montgomery
The Equations of Love (1952) - Ethel Wilson
Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace (1990) - David Adams Richards
Execution (1958) - Colin McDougall
A Father's Kingdom (1938-1990) - Sheila Watson
The Favourite Game (1963) - Leonard Cohen
Fifth Business (1970) - Robertson Davies *
A Fine Balance (1995) - Rohinton Mistry
The Fire-Dwellers (1969) - Margaret Laurence
For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down (1993) - David Adams Richards
Fruits of the Earth (1933) - Frederick Philip Grove
Garden in the Wind (1975) - Gabrielle Roy
Glengarry School Days (1902) - Ralph Connor
Good Bones (1994) - Margaret Atwood
Grain (1926) - Robert Stead
Hetty Dorval (1947) - Ethel Wilson
The History of Emily Montague (1769) - Frances Brooke
The Imperialist (1904) - Sara Jeannette Duncan
In the Village of Viger (1896) - Duncan Campbell Scott
The Incomparable Atuk (1963) - Mordecai Richler
The Innocent Traveller (1949) - Ethel Wilson
The Invention of the World (1977) - Jack Hodgins
Island (2001) - Alistair MacLeod *
A Jest of God (1966) - Margaret Laurence
Joshua Then and Now (1980) - Mordecai Richler
The Kissing Man (1962) - George Elliott
The Lamp at Noon and Other Stories - Sinclair Ross
Last of the Curlews (1954) - Fred Bodsworth
Life in the Clearings versus the Bush (1853) - Susanna Moodie
Light Shining Out of Darkness and Other Stories - Hugh Hood
Literary Lapses (1910)- Stephen Leacock
Lives of Short Duration (1981) - David Adams Richards
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1955) - Brian Moore
The Lost Salt Gift of Blood (1976) - Alistair MacLeod [the stories of this collection have been published with those from As Birds Bring Forth the Sun in Island]
Love and Salt Water (1956) - Ethel Wilson
The Luck of Ginger Coffey (1960) - Brian Moore
The Lyre of Orpheus (1988) - Robertson Davies *
Mad Shadows (1959) - Marie-Claire Blais
Man Descending (1982) - Guy Vanderhaeghe
The Man from Glengarry (1901) - Ralph Connor
The Manitcore (1972) - Robertson Davies *
More Joy in Heaven (1937) - Morley Callaghan
The Moslem Wife and Other Stories - Mavis Gallant
The Mountain and the Valley (1952) - Ernest Buckler
Mrs. Golightly and Other Stories (1961) - Ethel Wilson
Murder in the Dark (1983) - Margaret Atwood
My Financial Career and Other Follies - Stephen Leacock
My Remarkable Uncle - Stephen Leacock
Next Episode (1965) - Hubert Aquin
Nights Below Station Street (1988) - David Adams Richards
No Great Mischief (1999) - Alistair MacLeod *
No Love Lost (2003) - Alice Munro
Over Prairie Trails (1922) - Frederick Philip Grove
Pandora (1972) - Sylvia Fraser
Perpetual Motion (1982) - Graeme Gibson
Poets Between the Wars - Milton Wilson (ed.)
Poets of Contemporary Canada 1960-1970 - Eli Mandel (ed.)
The Prophet's Camel Bell (1963) - Margaret Laurence
The Rebel Angels (1981) - Robertson Davies *
The Resurrection of Joseph Bourne (1979) - Jack Hodgins
The Road Past Altamont (1966) - Gabrielle Roy
Roughing It in the Bush (1852) - Susanna Moodie
Running in the Family (1982) - Michael Ondaatje
St. Urbain's Horseman (1971) - Mordecai Richler
Sarah Binks (1947) - Paul Hiebert
A Search for America (1927) - Frederick Philip Grove
A Season in the Life of Emmanuel (1965) - Marie-Claire Blais
The Second Scroll (1951) - A.M. Klein
Settlers of the Marsh (1925) - Frederick Philip Grove
Son of a Smaller Hero (1955) - Mordecai Richler
Spit Delaney's Island (1976) - Jack Hodgins
The Stone Angel (1971) - Margaret Laurence
The Street (1969) - Mordecai Richler
Street of Riches (1955) - Gabrielle Roy
Such a Long Journey (1991) - Rohinton Mistry
Such is My Beloved (1933)- Morley Callaghan
Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (1912) - Stephen Leacock
Surfacing (1972)- Margaret Atwood
Swamp Angel (1954) - Ethel Wilson
Tales from Firozsha Baag (1987) - Rohinton Mistry
Tay John (1939) - Howard O'Hagan
The Temptations of Big Bear (1973) - Rudy Wiebe
They Shall Inherit the Earth (1935) - Morley Callaghan
Thirty Acres (1938) - Ringuet
This Side Jordan (1960) - Margaret Laurence
The Tin Flute (1945) - Gabrielle Roy
The Tomorrow-Tamer (1963) - Margaret Laurence
Turvey (1949) - Earle Birney
Two Solitudes (1945) - Hugh MacLennan
Under the Ribs of Death (1957) - John Marlyn
Wacousta (1832) - John Richardson
What's Bred in the Bone (1985) - Robertson Davies *
Where Nests the Water Hen (1950) - Gabrielle Roy
The Whirlpool (1992) - Jane Urquhart
White Narcissus (1929) - Raymond Knister
Who Has Seen the Wind (1947) - W.O. Mitchell
Wild Animals I Have Known (1898) - Ernest Thompson Seton
Wild Geese (1925) - Martha Ostenso
Wilderness Tips (1991) - Margaret Atwood *
Windflower (1970) - Gabrielle Roy
Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada (1838) - Anna Brownell Jameson
Woodsmen of the West (1908) - M. Allerdale Grainger

Here's a link to McClelland & Stewart's New Canadian Library, the basis of my list.

Once we get going, I might entertain further additions to the list. I've already noticed some important omissions (e.g. there's no Robertson Davies).

ETA: I've been asked to add dates, so I'll do that bit by bit. I'm also adding a few titles that have come my way. They're marked with a * to denote that they're not currently part of the NCL imprint. You'll notice that R.D. is now included. I think some newer books by represented authors will be added in time (e.g. Urquhart, Munro, Shields, Mistry)


Blogger lesezeichen said...

Hi Ibis, welcome on blogspot ;-) And good luck with your project! The site looks great and I will keep up with it for sure. I might even join you in reading the odd book or two, but that will definitely be after we're through with Bleak House. Actually, I am German, but I spent a school year in Québec 20 years ago, that's why I know some of the francophone books on the list, most notably The Alleycat and The Tin Flute. Thanks to your project I hope to learn something about Canadian anglophone literature other than Atwood or Shields. By the way, the name *I* am missing on the list is Nancy Huston, but she's been living in France for so long now that maybe she's considered French.
That's it for now, good luck again and happy reading!

November 02, 2005 3:56 p.m.  
Blogger nanny60read said...

Im an old lady. I should live so long as to get through that list. But I'll cross off the ones I have read and I will re-read, barometer rising as a starter. Good luck

November 03, 2005 12:37 p.m.  
Blogger gnoe.gnoe said...

Hi Ibis3,

Great challenge! I would like to recommend one of my favourite authors: Barbara Gowdy. I especially loved Mr Sandman and The White Bone (which was just out when I visited Toronto), but also the more subtle The Romantic.

I just got myself a copy of her NEW book (hooray!) Helpless. So if you would like to read along...

BX-er Gnoe from The Netherlands

April 17, 2007 8:15 a.m.  
Blogger Kathleen Molloy said...

To get a taste of Quebec Francophone readers dip into any of the marvelous translations by Sheila Fischman.

I've started to read Volkswagen Blues by Jacques Poulin. Set in the Gaspésie region I'm heading east with Poulin, up and around the hilly roads, out toward to blue water. My memories of my only road trip to Gaspé are blue – the colour blue. Memory plays tricks on us but when I think of this beautiful region in Quebec I think of the colour blue and so many of our family photos feature the coastline villages with the water backdrop. With the except of a few pictures of us standing under wind turbines on wind farms, most of the pictures are of my little family posing at the vast shore. Blue.

I didn't get far in the book before I flipped it closed to consult the cover. I'm reading the translation by Sheila Fischman. I'm not sure why I picked up the English instead of the French original. Poulin's style is fluid and an Anglophone with a fair grasp at French can follow along swimmingly. I don't know if it is fair to describe his style as old fashion story telling but that is my impression - not too many confilicts, not to much word play, lots of imagery, lots of physical description, slow introduction to the characters who might turn out to be secondary to the facts in the story. The story has a lovely cadence.

Now I have to ask myself: is this because Poulin is a great storyteller or is it because Sheila Fischman is a great storyteller?

You'll remember Sheila Fischman as the translator that introduced much of Anglo Canada to the works of Roch Carrier, Michel Tremblay, and Anne Hébert. She has shared the voice of over 125 works by Canadian Francophones, in particular Quebecers... with the rest of Canada.

In May 2008 Fischman was presented with the Molson Prize recognizing her outstanding lifetime contributions to Canadian cultural. The $50,000 Molson prize will buy her A LOT of books.
I wonder what type of books Sheila Fischman takes to the cottage, curls up by the fire with, and piles beside her bed To Be Read later?

On the other hand, maybe Sheila Fischman doesn't read for pleasure at all. Maybe it feels too much like work.
Maybe she writes. When a translator gets paid to interprete and convey to words of others, are they ever tempted to put pen to paper to craft their own prose?

I'm going to ask my translator Gisèle Lamontagne and my copy editor Josée Prud'homme. While they adapted Dining with Death into La Mort au menu I never once in the entire process asked either of them what it was about their craft that drew them in, enabled them to polish the rough bits so that the diamond sparkled through of any given piece by any author.

How does someone develop the skill to make another artist look good, in a completely different language?

If you see Sheila Fischman at the next awards gala, ask her for me.

Kathleen Molloy, author - Dining with Death / La Mort au menu




June 17, 2008 8:37 a.m.  

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