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UNDER EASTERN EYES: A CRITICAL READING OF MARITIME FICTION.

Keefer, Janice Kulyk.

Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1987. 295pp, paper, ISBN 0-8020-5747-0 (cloth) $30.00, 0-8020-6656-9 (paper) $14.95. CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Alan Thomas

Volume 16 Number 3
1988 May


This ambitious and highly intelligent book presents Maritime writing as a distinct body of literature produced from a unique society whose primary features are a strong sense of community and an open attitude to nature. Keefer, a poet and fiction writer as well as a university instructor in English, examines texts from the days of Thomas Chandler Haliburton to the contemporary world of David Adams Richards (and she includes the French texts of Antonine Maillet). The book re-examines, in a challenging manner, the reputations of Ernest Buckler and Hugh MacLennan as established representatives of the region in fiction, and brings to attention writers whom she regards as alternativesóCharles Bruce and Alistair Macleod. In addition, there is a separate chapter on two contemporary women writers of the region, Nancy Bauer and Susan Kerslake.

The book has a broad approach on different levels: the political question of regionalism in Canadian literature is raised in the introduction, while the artistic problems of mimetic realism are examined in an excellent chapter on the works of Maillet, Nowlan and Richards. There is much here of value not only for the high school and college teacher interested in presenting Maritime literature to a class, but also for senior students who can use the helpful index, bibliography and notes.


Alan Thomas, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont.
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