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John Moss.

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, c1981.
399pp, paper, $12.95.
ISBN 0-7710-6564-7.

Grades 12 and up.
Reviewed by Steven Wells.

Volume 10 Number 4.
1982 November.

This study of Canadian fiction between 1769 and 1980 is a valuable reference book by a professor at the University of Ottawa. It contains over two hundred essays that examine novels in English, Quebec novels in translation, and novels for young readers.

Moss's essays are models of literary criticism. He summarizes the plot of each novel; then, he offers succinct analysis of characters, structure, style, and theme. Most importantly, he assesses the contribution of each author to our literary tradition.

Familiar titles (The Stone Angel, Kamouraska, and Anne of Green Gables) appear here, but Moss includes lesser-known novels too. Grain by Stead, for example, is seen as "the sleeper of Canadian fiction."

Moss applauds and criticizes. He praises General Ludd by Metcalf as "the finest comic novel ever published in Canada." He also suggests that The Prairie Mother by Stringer should only be read "to experience possibly the worst example of a transsexual point of view in the history of literature."

There are two useful appendixes to this book. In them, Moss lists and classifies novels under various headings for the benefit of the reader. I am impressed by the scope of this critical study. It deserves a place on the reference shelf of everyone who either reads or wants to read Canadian fiction.

Steven Wells, Elliot Lake S. S., Elliot Lake, ON.
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