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Gabrielle Roy

Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1989. 389pp, paper, $6.95
ISBN 0-7710-9860-X. CIP


Grades 8 and up/Ages 13 and up
Reviewed by David Chadwick.

Volume 18 Number 3
1990 May

This reprint of Roy's first novel remains a classic, which has lost none of its power and relevance to modern readers: the conditions of the poor in working-class Montreal at the beginning of World War II are comparable to many of the conditions faced today. The increase in the social services programs since then has failed to eliminate the gap between rich and poor but has put in a safety net for those in need. Unfortunately, the huge growth in food banks in the last five years is a sign that the disparities are increasing.

Roy paints a grim but highly realistic portrait of grinding poverty and wasted lives. Her book touched a nerve in 1945 and remains just as gripping and powerful today as it was then. The novel is still one of the best Canadian novels ever written and belongs in every general library collection.

McClelland & Stewart have redone their "New Canadian Library" series with new covers and introductions. The new look is more contemporary and will itself attract more attention.

Recommended even for libraries with copies of the novel in good condition.

David Chadwick, Winnipeg, Man.
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