THE PENGUIN BOOK OF MODERN CANADIAN SHORT STORIES
Edited by Wayne Grady.
Volume 10 Number 4.
This volume updates the existing anthologies of Canadian short stories and therefore runs an obvious risk: many of the selections have not had to stand the test of time, indeed, four of them have not appeared in print before (the editor's translations of Bessette and Ferron, the Valgardson story, and one of Levine's). There are stories ranging in date from 1957 to 1982, by twenty authors (four French-Canadians), of whom two of the best are only marginally Canadian—Malcolm Lowry and Elizabeth Spencer. The editor has allotted four established authors two stories each (Gallant, Levine, Roy, and Munro), giving single examples of the rest. Reading the whole collection leaves the impression of a plain with a few mountain peaks: Gallant's two stories stand out, as do the Ferron and Hebert pieces and the Lowry story, which is almost pure autobiography (like several others in this book). "I, Maureen" by Elizabeth Spencer has just appeared in a collection published by Doubleday (The Stories of Elizabeth Spencer*) and may have been included for its Montreal setting. The stories often treat the theme of alienation (exile, immigration, madness, suicide) and would be useful in discussions of North American literature and society. We surmise, however, that enough are available for more than one such anthology, and we depend on the editor to exclude the second-best and reduce the size and cost of the volume.
*Reviewed vol. IX/4 1981 p.272.
Philip K. Harber, Toronto Board of Education, Toronto, ON.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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