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Edited by Elaine Crocker, Eric Norman and Michael Nowlan

St. John's (Nfld.), Breakwater, 1990. 285pp, cloth, $19.95
ISBN 1-55081-020-0. CIP

Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up
Reviewed by Sharon A. McLennan McCue.

Volume 19 Number 3
1991 May

For any reader wishing to become more familiar with our Atlantic writers, this is the finest primer I have ever come across. Its editors have sought out many of the finest Maritime writers of today but never to the neglect of the region's writing pioneers. Thomas Haliburton and L.M. Montgomery share space with David Adams Richards and Joan Clark; the poetry of E.J. Pratt, Milton Acorn and Alden Nowlan grace the pages along with "Farewell to Nova Scotia" and Rita McNeil's "Working Man." Nor have the editors forgotten those fine writers who give us neither poetry nor fiction - witness Harry Bruce's "Blessed Are the Cheeky" or Harold Horwood's "The Pond."

Reading this collection, one is constantly reminded of the profound and extraordinary ways in which the land imposes itself on its people as interpreted by its writers. Joan Clark's poignant "God's Country" recounts the story of a bright, sensitive young man with a clear tenor voice who is beaten by circumstances and the grinding poverty of a faceless little mining town in Cape Breton. I promise that you will not easily forget its closing sentence.

A brief biographical note accompa­nies each writer's initial selection. In a collection as extensive as this one, this is an excellent idea, from which even those well versed in Canadian writing are bound to benefit. If the book has any fault it is the addition of interpretive notes and activities at the end of each selection. Such additions give the book a textbook feel and may very well be off-putting for adults who are simply looking for a good book. Don't let this be the case. Overlook these end-notes. This is a fine anthology which should be in every Canadian literature collection in the country.

Sharon A. McLennan McCue, Ottawa, Ont.
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1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


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