Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Vanity Fair Finds Toronto

Thanks to Bookninja for pointing this out. Like the portal in Being John Malkovich, it turns out McNally Robinson, in SoHo, is a conduit for Canadian literary figures to slip into the pscyhe. Go to Toronto, they murmur. But I can relate. Having read Toronto long before arriving there, one does, upon landing on those shores, see Ondaatje in the architecture, and in the steel vibrato of the street cars, one hears the hum that is Dionne Brand. Both authors in Open Field, of course, and on the shelves in many, many configurations.

Hear Brand read: she's a fabulous reader. A multi-talented writer, known as much for her political and documentary work as for her poetry, she is part of a dynamic, urban strand of Canadian women's writing, a strand I hope to trace a little in posts to come. No Language is Neutral is about as essential a Candian poem as anything written in the past two decades. As for Ondaatje, I don't think he needs an introduction, but if you don't know him, you should start with The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, and for a novel, In the Skin of a Lion.

As for Vanity Fair. As an undergraduate it was my exam prep tool of choice. Nothing made me ready for finals more effectively than a latte and the latest American gloss. Admittedly I haven't picked it up in the last decade, but I always did okay in finals...

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