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Has anyone seen where Canada went?




Am I the only one who wonders where Canada went?
A glance at the Books section in today’s Toronto Star prompts the question.
Here we find 12 reviews: five long (maybe 600 words), two short (maybe 300), and five micro (say 35). And not one of the 12 treats anything related to Canada.
Let’s not count the micros, which focus on science-based books. Fair enough.
But the “longs” treat works set in Wisconsin, San Francisco, New York, Paris, and California. The “shorts” look to Washington and New Hampshire. And of the seven authors, only one is Canadian.
What are we to conclude? Maybe most Canadian writers aren’t producing anything worth reading? Or maybe Canada is really, really boring: not worth writing about?
Hey, wait a minute. Haven’t we seen this movie before? 
Somehow, we’ve gone back to the future, only it looks like 1968.

Ken McGoogan
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2 comments:

Doris McCann said...

Is it that bad? I've been reading, Mary Lawson's Road Ends, 419 set in Canada and Africa and The Orenda. Also, seems to be a lot of mysteries written with Canadian locales many by Canadians. When Will Ferguson crosses the border with Happiness I think he is taking his Canadian stance with him. And besides, the reality for so many of us includes family, friends, work and holidays in other countries.

Howard said...

Right on, Ken. And put the blame where it belongs: on the media. Canada Reads and the Giller show that when Canadian books are given a bit of attention, Canadian readers flock to them. We are producing 10,000 Canadian-authored titles a year but if people can't find out about them, guess what happens?

Before turning mainly to books about arctic exploration and Canadian history, Ken McGoogan worked for two decades as a journalist at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal. He teaches creative nonfiction writing through the University of Toronto and in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, has written recently for Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, from Dawson City to Dartmouth, and in places as different as Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Hobart.