Thursday, October 02, 2008

More from the Maritimes

Though authors hailing from the Canadian Maritime provinces are no slouches in the lining-up-for-awards department, it seems that 2008 -- particularly this latter half -- has produced some especially astonishing fiction.

We recently contemplated Kenneth J. Harvey’s Blackstrap Hawco: Said to Be About A Newfoundland Family (Knopf Canada) and though that book is wonderful -- and epic and masterful -- it’s also not alone. Other books with strong Maritime ties that have been wowing both readers and longlist compilers include Donna Morrissey’s What They Wanted (Penguin Canada), the story of yet another Newfoundland family, this one dealing with the effects of a shrinking local economy and the price that must be paid for working “away.”

Lesley Crewe’s Ava Comes Home (Vagrant Press) is a very different take on a similar theme, where a successful actress -- the title’s Ava -- returns to Glace Bay, Cape Breton and the changes she’s gone through as well as the secrets she left behind.

Though The Lost Highway (Doubleday Canada) was published in 2007, it’s longlisted status in the current Giller competition brings it again to mind, as does the fact that it’s difficult for many Canadians -- myself included -- to think about Maritime authors and not think about David Adams Richards. The Lost Highway might well be the very best work from one of Canada’s most celebrated living storytellers.

Earlier this year, Nova Scotia’s Anne Simpson told January Magazine that her latest novel, Falling (McLelland & Stewart), is about “how ordinary people rise to meet enormous challenges in their lives.” And it is -- it certainly is -- but it’s about so much more, as well.

It seems to us that when a celebrated children’s author has a novel published, it’s big news, indeed. Such was the case last summer when we saw the publication of Sheree Fitch’s first “big people” novel, Kiss the Joy as it Flies (Vagrant Press). If you’re not familiar with the Nova Scotian author’s work, you’re either not a Canadian kid or the parent of one: because they all know her work through books with such engaging titles as Mable Murple and There Were Monkeys in My Kitchen.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is great stuff! I'd love to see more regional round ups like this. I can't imagine I'd like any of them better than this one though. It made me prouder than ever to hail from Halifax.

Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 3:03:00 PM PDT  

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