Sunday 29 June 2014

Book talk on the Canada Day weekend...

On this hot, humid Sunday morning, I’m thinking about all the great authors we have in our country, and how different and varied are our choices when looking for books by Canadian writers.  We are very lucky indeed.

One of these awesome Canadian books is a novel I finished yesterday, one I mentioned in my post last week.  It took me two weeks to finish reading the 400+ page novel, Three Souls by Janie Chang, but not due to lack of interest.  I tried to find reading time whenever I could, but these past couple of weeks have just been so busy that whole days would go by with no chance to indulge in reading time.  Just a quick review of the plot… Set in China in the 1920s and 1930s, a young woman, Leiyin, is observing a funeral when she recognizes the name on the ancestral tablet as her own.  She realizes that she is dead, and wonders why she has not crossed over into the afterlife.  She sees three figures across from her, and recognizes them as her three souls, yin, yang and hun.  Together they must examine the details of Leiyin’s life and discover which choices and actions she must atone for in order for them all to leave the earth.  They begin when Leiyin is seventeen, when she wishes to continue her education and follow the young man whom she believes to be her true love rather than be married off to another wealthy family.  She dishonours her family but, rather than cast her out on the street, her father makes a hasty match for Leiyin to a young man from a well-respected family in a small village.  She does not realize her own good fortune, and when she meets her early demise, she must find ways to atone for some of the choices she made before she and her souls can ascend to the afterlife.  This novel is part ghost story, part political mystery, and part lesson in Chinese history during the civil war.  It is a novel that explores choices, consequences and atonement, a coming-of-age story in which the protagonist just happens to be a ghost.  I would highly recommend this titles to just about anyone… well, it may not appeal to male readers so much, but it paints a vivid picture of what life was like for young girls in China at a time when traditions where being challenged and history was changing, while also creating an atmosphere of suspense, with a dash of political intrigue.

I thought it would be interesting to end this post with a list of titles that I’ve read in the last few years that are favourites written by Canadian authors:

Bishop’s Man Linden MacIntyre
Lightning Field Heather Jessup
Before the Poison and Children of the Revolution Peter Robinson
Town that Drowned Riel Nason
Our Daily Bread Lauren Davis
Tell it to the Trees Anita Rau Badami
Headmaster’s Wager Vincent Lam
Poisoned Pawn Peggy Blair
Silent Wife ASA Harrison
Stranglehold Robert Rotenberg
Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World Janet Cameron
Colonial Hotel Jonathan Bennett
and last but certainly not least Fifth Business Robertson Davies

That’s all for today.  Happy Canada Day!

Bye for now...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for including The Beggar's Opera in your list! Cheers, Peggy