The Magical Realism of Life of Pi

The Magical Realism of Life of Pi
Review by Margie Taylor

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Closer We Are

If you read Joe Fiorito's memoir, The Closer We Are to Dying, a book which I believe is the best memoir ever written about Thunder Bay, you may remember the story of the family pet, a dog called Trixie, a dog who could smile.  Joe's father sold Trixie to a travelling vaudeville dog act.  The loss  shocked and grieved little Joe.  It is a comic story but one with a deep underlay of sadness, sadness for the poverty of this family, for the loss of a pet.  But when the dog appears on the Ed Sullivan Show, some sort of acceptance is reached.

 All the best stories delve beneath the surface of human experience and Joe told a few such stories last night .
He talked about the old Westfort neighbourhood.  He said there were two Thunder Bays, the old Thunder Bay alive in the memories of the older residents and the new city which the young people inhabit.  He told stories about his dad telling stories to him.  Joe checked out his first library books at the former Mary J. Black and wanted more than the three books allowed.  He told us about Mary J, the long serving head librarian and gave us a brief sample of her visionary words about the power of reading.
Joan Baril/Joe Fiorito
Joe grew up in Westfort, but he now lives in Toronto, famous as a crusading columnist with the Toronto Star and, of course, the author of several books.  So Joe added a Toronto story to the mix and then, alas, stopped to sign books and answer questions.

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