Articles



Writing Jacob Two-Two
Abstract: W RITING ABOUT WRITING is something I find excrutiating, embarrassing, even dangerous, and so I usually beg off such an ...

Writing a Home for Prairie Blackness
Abstract: In the late s, the deteriorating log cabin of Alberta’s best-known black pioneer, the cowboy John Ware, was relocated from ...

Writing Dislocation: Transculturalism, Gender, Immigrant Families A Conversation with Ven Begamudré
Abstract: Ven Begamudré has published a novella, Sacrifices (The Porcupine’s Quill, 1986); a short story collection, A Planet ofEccentrics (Oolichan, 1990); ...

Writing Paintings and Thinking Physics: Anne Simpson’s Poetry
Abstract: Born in Toronto, raised in Burlington, Anne Simpson has lived in Nova Scotia for 15 years. Her first collection of ...

Writing Quebec City in Andrée Maillet’s Les Remparts de Québec and Nalini Warriar’s The Enemy Within
Abstract: Part of a larger project on literary representations of Québec’s secondary cities and exurban spaces, this article looks at mappings of Quebec City in Andrée Maillet’s Les Remparts de Québec (1965) and Nalini Warriar’s The Enemy Within (2005). Quebec City’s status as ‘founding city’ is a significant part of its importance within the francophone imaginary. It is key, too, to its touristic appeal, with traces of its architectural heritage attracting large crowds every year. As a provincial capital, the city might be expected to be somewhat conservative. This assumption is challenged, however, in cultural practices such as Robert Lepage’s high-tech performance company, Ex Machina, and strong graffiti and bande-dessinée cultures. Critics often highlight the dual nature of Quebec City. This piece explores the plays around appearance and reality in the selected novels to consider the ways in which these engage with questions around ethnic diversity and Québécois identity.

Writing the Canadian Pacific Northwest Ecocritically: The Dynamics of Local and Global in Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being
Abstract: While Ruth Ozeki’s earlier novels My Year of Meats (1998) and All Over Creation (2003) focus on environmental degradation and unethical practices in the food industry, A Tale for the Time Being(2013) embraces several broader political, cultural, and societal issues and connects them with ecological concerns. The nature of reality, the often blurred boundaries between fact and fiction, the relationship between time and space, the connection between colonization and environmental injustice, and the effects of “slow violence” (Nixon) are among the novel’s major topics. In its search for narrative solutions to environmental problems, it questions the assumptions of 20th-century proto-environmentalist BC texts in an attempt to draw attention to the complexities of the region’s local and global ecological and political interdependencies. By reworking relevant themes of the earlier texts and by affiliating herself with some contemporary ecocritical BC writers, Ozeki also explores her position as an American Canadian writer. The novel thus also raises questions about the status of Canadian ecocriticism.

Writing the Montreal Mountain: Below the Thresholds at which Visibility Begins
Abstract: A city, Michel de Certeau argues in his chapter “Walking in the City” from The Practice of Everyday Life, is ...

Writing the Pacific War in the Twenty-First Century: Dennis Bock, Rui Umezawa, and Kerri Sakamoto
Abstract: The Unwritten War The Pacific War began in 1931, with Japan’s invasion of Manchuria, and ended in August of 1945, ...

Writing the Tripple Whammy: Canadian-Jewish Québécois Identity, the Comedy of Self-Deprecation, and the Triumph of Duddy Kravitz
Abstract:

Mordecai Richler, as a Jewish-Quebecer-Canadian, was a member of a despised minority, living in a province alienated from and marginalized within the dominant national culture, in a country forever looking enviously, anxiously over its shoulder at its more illustrious, more powerful neighbour. As a writer and satirist, however, this triple whammy was a blessing rather than a curse. This article explores some of the ways in which Mordecai Richler’s status as a member of three different stigmatized groups provided material for the self-deprecating humour that characterizes his work. I argue that Richler’s trebly-displaced protagonists, exemplified by Jake Hersh, tend to turn their comedy inward, punishing themselves for their perceived inferiority both to ‘other interlopers’ and to the (non-Canadian) arbiters of culture. In contrast, I suggest that Duddy Kravitz is Richler’s greatest creation because he both embodies and transcends the comic stereotype of the Jew on the make, exploiting but finally rejecting the masochism and internalized anti-Semitism of his relatives and his peers.


Writing, History, and Music in Do Not Say We Have Nothing: A Conversation with Madeleine Thien
Abstract: This conversation focuses on, but is not limited to, Do Not Say We Have Nothing (2016). In the first section, Thien dwells on creative writing’s mediating role in historical representation; she also comments on her relationship with characters and readers. The second section discusses the inspiring role of music in the creation of the novel and probes the meaning of music, silence and mathematics in politics and for individual characters. In the third section, Thien deliberates on the motif of “the Book of Records” and the implications of taking “compiling” and “copying” as creative forms. In the last section, Thien turns to her approach to June Fourth by linking it to the history of the Cultural Revolution. She also compares her writing with Ma Jian’s Beijing Coma and discusses writing as a way to connect generations.