CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Timothy Findley

Toronto, HarperCollins, 1990. 325pp, cloth, $27.95
ISBN 0-00-215697-0. CIP

Grades 12 and up/Ages 17 and up
Reviewed by Val K. Lem.

Volume 19 Number 1
1991 January

Memory, Findley observes, "is other people - it is little of ourselves." Nevertheless, his emotive accounts of friends, colleagues, neighbours and family members presented in Inside Memory also reveal a great deal about his own life and work. For students and teachers, this collection of writings culled from Findley's journals and notebooks will be a valuable source of insight.

The selections, penned over three decades and for the most part previ­ously unpublished, are arranged thematically in chapters sequenced to chronicle the author's literary career. One pressing question remains unan­swered, however: what prompted Findley to finally abandon acting and pursue a career as a professional writer? Chapters devoted to each of his six novels recount significant aspects of their conception, research, writing or marketing. Many of his reminiscences focus on the people who inspired characters in the novels. The final chapter is largely a tribute to a few individuals whom he admired greatly: Glenn Gould, Marian Engel, Margaret Laurence, Gwendolyn MacEwen and Ken Adachi.

Inside Memory is a compelling though sombre work. The quality of the prose, with its blend of humour and human drama, propels the reader on, even when Findley’s preoccupation with human mortality becomes ponderous and almost depressing. He strives, with limited success, to offset the sense of loss caused by the passing of so many friends and colleagues by emphasizing the joy and personal growth experi­enced through his relationships with them.

Despite the solemn tone of many of the entries, this is an interesting and informative work that should appeal to general readers and more serious students of Canadian literature.

Val K. Lem, Toronto Board of Education, Toronto, Ont.
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