CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Edited by Paddy O'Rourke, et al.

Saskatoon, Thistledown Press, 1989. 336pp, paper, $14.95
ISBN 0-920633-64-l.CIP

Grades 9 and up/Ages 14 and up
Reviewed by Catherine R. Cox.

Volume 18 Number 1
1990 January

This excellent anthology contains forty-two items of short fiction written by western Canadian writers in the last fifty years. The writers range from the classic like Sinclair Ross and W.O. Mitchell to the modern like Guy Vanderhaeghe and Aritha van Herk.

I could have wished for a different selection from Mitchell and Ross. 'Two Kinds of Sinner" and "The Painted Door" are in lots of school anthologies and another story by those two great writers might have been more useful. The selection by W.P. Kinsella is "The Thrill of the Grass," one of his baseball stories.

Besides including stories by older as well as younger writers, the anthologists have chosen an ethnic mix of writers. There are no stories in translation and none by Gabrielle Roy (wasn't she from Manitoba?) or any other francophone writer. This is a gap in the anthology, although of course the editors do admit that their anthology is "neither compre­hensive nor definitive."

Nevertheless, they have tried to create a map of the western Canadian literary scene and for the most part they have succeeded. The stories portray rural as well as urban life, the affluent as well as the poor, the native and the immigrant, the English and the...well, Margaret Laurence's "The Loons" does have the Metis family in it.

There are short notes on each author in the back of the book, but there is no index or bibliography.

This would be a useful school text in any part of Canada, not just the west. If you think you don't like short stories, you probably will change your mind after reading these.


Catherine R. Cox, Moncton High School, Moncton, N.B.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works