Author

Craig MacBride

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CanLit Canon Review #19: Leonard Cohen’s Beautiful Losers

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In an attempt to make himself a better Canadian, Craig MacBride is reading and reviewing the books that have shaped this country. Leonard Cohen’s second and final novel, Beautiful Losers, published in 1966, is experimental and difficult. It is also mesmerizing, though, because of its swoon-worthy writing and enthusiasm for filth. You get this: “Come on a new journey with me, a journey only...

CanLit Canon Review #18: George Grant’s Lament for a Nation: The Defeat of Canadian Nationalism

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There is a lot of great stuff jammed into the 100 pages of Lament for a Nation: it is a short history of conservatism, liberalism, and socialism; it is an analysis of Canada’s changing place in the world during the Cold War; and it’s an emotional tirade by a brilliant thinker who no longer recognizes the country he once loved. George Grant—philosopher, professor, and founder of McMaster...

CanLit Canon Review #17: Margaret Laurence’s The Stone Angel

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In an attempt to make himself a better Canadian, Craig MacBride is reading and reviewing the books that shaped this country. It’s the day after you finish it, when you’re tying your shoes and see it on the coffee table, that you realize The Stone Angel has done something to you, that it’s now a part of your life. You see the book, beaten up from your hours of reading, and you realize that Hagar...

CanLit Canon Review #16: Northrop Frye’s The Educated Imagination

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In an attempt to make himself a better Canadian, Craig MacBride is reading and reviewing the books that shaped this country. Northrop Frye’s The Educated Imagination is about literature—why we write it, why we read it, why we bother at all—but it’s also about who we vote for and what we buy; it’s about civilization and creating a better world. The book is the printed version of Frye’s 1962 CBC...

CanLit Canon Review #15: Mordecai Richler’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

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In an attempt to make himself a better Canadian, Craig MacBride is reading and reviewing the books that shaped this country. Mordecai Richler’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, published in 1959, is a hilarious and rambunctious novel that gives little space to scenery or introspection. It is the story of Duddy Kravitz, a smart-ass kid with ambition, a fast mouth, and little time for education...

CanLit Canon Review #14: Donald Creighton’s John A. Macdonald: The Young Politician

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In an attempt to make himself a better Canadian, Craig MacBride is reading and reviewing books that shed fascinating light on Canada’s history. Of all the books I’ve read as part of this project, John A. Macdonald: The Young Politician has most improved me as a Canadian. Published in 1952, this book explores Canada’s beginnings through the life of the man who directed its creation...

CanLit Canon Review #13: Farley Mowat’s People of the Deer

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In an attempt to make himself a better Canadian, Craig MacBride is reading and reviewing the books that shaped this country. People of the Deer, Farley Mowat’s first book, was published in 1952. At the time, the story was already old, but the way in which Mowat told it was new. It’s the story of white people disrupting and ruining Indigenous culture. What Mowat changed was the setting, the...

CanLit Canon Review #12: Harold Innis’s Empire and Communications

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In an attempt to make himself a better Canadian, Craig MacBride is reading and reviewing the books that shaped this country. What is most remarkable about Harold Innis is his consistency through the years. Whether it’s his first book, The Fur Trade in Canada or, 20 years later, his last book, Empire and Communications, Innis is always, without exception, unreadable. Unlike Fur Trade, Empire and...

CanLit Canon Review #11: W.O. Mitchell’s Who Has Seen the Wind

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In an attempt to make himself a better Canadian, Craig MacBride is reading and reviewing the books that shaped this country.
Published in 1947, W.O. Mitchell’s Who Has Seen the Wind arrived six years after As For Me and My House, Sinclair Ross’s Prairie-based depression trigger, and it has the same message as its predecessor: people die, you never find God, and crops always fail.

CanLit Canon Review #10: Gabrielle Roy’s The Tin Flute

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In an attempt to make himself a better Canadian, Craig MacBride is reading and reviewing the books that shaped this country. The Tin Flute, Gabrielle Roy’s debut novel, explores poverty, war, and Montreal, and it romanticizes none of them. The book centers on the 10-member Lacasse family, which is trapped by poverty in the suburban dystopia of St. Henri. It focuses on Florentine, the eldest of...

CanLit Canon Review #9: Hugh MacLennan’s Two Solitudes

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In an attempt to make himself a better Canadian, Craig MacBride is reading and reviewing the books that shaped this country. Two Solitudes, Hugh MacLennan’s 1945 masterpiece, sets out to do nothing less than explain Quebec to the rest of Canada and harmonize the dominion for future citizens. MacLennan attempts this with a generations-spanning soap opera featuring two families, one French and one...

CanLit Canon Review #8: Sinclair Ross’s As For Me and My House

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In an attempt to make himself a better Canadian, Craig MacBride is reading and reviewing the books that shaped this country. As For Me and My House, published in 1941, is a beautifully moody novel about weather and a terrible marriage. The book is written as a series of diary entries over 13 months during the Depression. Mrs. Bentley (her first name never appears in the book) is the writer of the...