Showing posts from March, 2017

Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth

Drew Hayden Taylor. Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth. Talonbooks, 1998. 

Thanks to Elsie for loaning me this book. Only Drunks... , a sequel to Taylor's Someday, addresses the identity crises of adopted Indian children scooped from their families and communities and raised in White culture. The birth mother Anne, who Janice met for a few hours the previous year, has died and Janice's sister Barb comes to Toronto to retrieve her and bring her home again. This play again (as with Tomson Highway's Dry Lips...) struggles with an aboriginal writer's dilemma. Who is the audience? And how can he tell a story which will be viewed totally differently by people from the different cultures. Although he does not tell the "crabs in a bucket" story, the opening scenes evoked its memory in this reader. Speaking as an outsider, to me, Barb and her two sidekicks seem to be bullying Janice and seem oblivious to her conflicts and struggles. They also project a "holie…

Bent Box

Lee Maracle. Bent Box. Theytus, 2000.

March 22, 2017

I love the cover. I love the title, the idea of the bent box as a place to collect and store sacred objects. I love seeing the work of a prolific storyteller, editor, cultural worker, presented in another genre (poetry). I love the way she loves the English alphabet, words, language, and the uses to which it can be put. The way she has loved it ever since she was a child.

Literary Lineage

My first literary influence was Margaret Laurence. 

Laurence was born & went to school 50 miles from where I grew up in Manitoba. She wrote about places I knew and people exactly like the people I was related to, including an old woman with dementia lost in an abandoned BC cannery. I was about 14 when I read The Stone Angel. When I read The Diviners I felt that there was absolutely nothing left to say. But I recovered somewhat after a few years. I went to university 50 years ago in the age of raging Canadian nationalism, after the Centennial. For many years I read only Canadian writers. Then my influences in order of importance were Leonard Cohen, Dorothy Livesay, Carol Shields, and Alice Munro. I took a course from Dorothy and I met Carol through the writers' guild. Before I was bitten by the Canada bug, I was into D.H. Lawrence and John Fowles. A gaggle of romantics, for sure. I have always been more interested in content than in style. I guess I like male writers who talk ab…

Killing Floor

Lee Child. Killing Floor: The First Jack Reacher Novel. 1997.

Another lost weekend, starting and finishing a 500-page thriller. The first Jack Reacher novel, set in Georgia. Jack's brother has called him to Margrave in search of Blind Blake. Jack meets Roscoe, a local policewoman, and other residents of the mysteriously clean and well-kept town. Chaos ensues.

Two Pints

Roddy Doyle. Two Pints. Jonathan Cape/Random, 2012.

Hilarious. Two characters meet daily for a pint, two pints, in a Dublin pub and discuss the latest news, sports, family drama. Told completely in dialogue.