Launch! Prince Arthur Hotel! September 5. 6:30. Cake and beverage. Meet the Authors.

Launch! Prince Arthur Hotel! September 5. 6:30. Cake and beverage. Meet the Authors.
Prize Winning Stories from NOWW

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What We are Reading - From Lady Chatterley to Michael Christie.


For some reason, I am reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover. When I was thirteen or so, I snuck into my parent’s bedroom to “borrow” a copy. My aim was to flip through and find the hot bits. Alas, I found nothing. I realize now I was skimming one of the censored copies published before the famous court case which allowed the novel to be isued with full descriptions of Lady Chat and the gamey gamekeeper gamboling in the greenery.

Now, as I read, I swing between admiration for D. H. Lawrence’s amazing writing and desolation for his stupid ideas about women. First the writing. He takes such chances it leaves me breathless. He breaks all contemporary writing rules. He tells rather than shows. He changes point of view in the middle of paragraphs. He natters and worries a subject. He tosses in rants, mainly about the evils of industrialization. No one writes like Lawrence any more now that Bellow is gone.

In the character of the game keeper, Lawrence is surly, rude and misogynistic. Lady Chatterley says little and no wonder. Lawrence believes his manliness is being stripped away by modern women who are strong willed. He wants to hold a silent woman in his arms.  He should have taken the night train to London and bought an inflatable doll.

I shelved Lady C to turn to an excellent mystery by the Polish writer Zygmunt Miloszewski. The book, Entanglement, features the usual burned-out detective who feels trapped in a fading marriage. Of course he is trying to quit smoking and of course, he must deal with an unsympathetic boss. While battling the dark forces of Warsaw, he finds a renewed interest in life, namely a lovely journalist. I also loved Miloszewski’s  A Grain of Truth, set in the infamous southern Polish city of Sandomierz.  

Zigmunt Miloszewski

In January, I read two excellent books. Benediction, by the incomparable Kent Haruf, is the story of a dying man in a small prairie town. The lives of his family and neighbours weave into the story. Haruf has a compassionate and loving tone which pervades the book. Each chapter mentions the natural setting and the weather, both so important to Great Plains people in summer.



This One Summer is a graphic novel by Canadians Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki who also created the well-received book, Skim. A young girl meets up with her summer friend at the cottage community but the two discover a secret. A coming of age, beautifully drawn.

Jillian Tamaki

Ottawa poet and Thunder Bay native, Margaret Rose Neil, wrote. “Dear Joan, I have just finished reading  Lisa Moore’s February. I thought it was a fantastic book. I am now reading Brooklyn by Colm Toibin. Not gripping but worthwhile.  It tells the story of a young girl going to America from Ireland because she can’t find decent work in Ireland.

Michael Sobota, local artistic elder, chatting on Facebook, recommends Michael Christie’s, If I Fall, If I Die, a novel which has garnered spectacular reviews. The New York Times has featured it twice although, unfortunately, it refers to Thunder Bay as a “declining city.” News to me. For his part Christie said in a CBC interview, "It's a dark book, but it's also a love poem to the city, I think. It's a city I love very much." The story deals with a boy who breaks out of a daunting home situation to take up skate boarding. 

I think Lady C and her gloomy consort can stay in the cupboard for a while. I am off to Chapters for If I Fall, If I Die by Thunder Bayer, Michael Christie.




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