Friday, March 11, 2005

Literary Canada

I just finished The Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I know, I know, that is so last year, etc. But I just had never gotten around to it. A book about an Indian kid surviving on the high seas with a tiger? It just didn't grab me at first. But, as promised, it was good! Much more fun and funny and quirky than I expected. It is a much bigger book than you would think. Lots of stuff around religion and er, lifeboats and um, zoos and stuff. Gosh, it is hard to make this book sound good when I try and describe it after just finishing it last night, which is possibly why you have never read it either. Well, just believe me. That's all I can say.

In the book, Pi ends up in Canada, which is where Yann Martel is from. This made me ponder the state of literary Canada, as it seems like I have been reading a lot of fiction from up there lately. Maybe it's the winter weather.

For example, I also recently finished The Diviners by Margaret Laurence, which was a wonderful, darkish story. I guess she was one of those authors kids were forced to read in high school, but I'd never bumped into her before. I think she's a bigger deal in Canada, considering that my local (albeit tiny) library has exactly zero of her books. I'm kinda impressed by all these Canadian women authors and their finesse with words and the darker side of the human heart: Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, and Ann-Marie MacDonald, Carol Shields. It's probably stupid to lump them all together like being from or living in Canada makes you somehow a different writer than being from Florida, and these women would probably grumble upon seeing this here. But I have to say, every single one of these authors has consistently produced work that has moved me deeply, and I just don't have as big of a list like that from other countries, including my own. Odd. Coincidence? Something in the water up there? I just don't know. Any theories out there?

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