Famous Last Words

Timothy Findley’s Famous Last Words was not, as I first thought it to be when saw it from among the other books in the second-hand bookstore, about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The novel opens with Hugh Selwyn Mauberley‘s childhood experience of witnessing his own father’s dive to the earth from a hotel roof in…

Defining Fifth Business

The epigraph to Robertson Davies’ Fifth Business is a definition of the highly praised novel’s title. It is according to a quotation from Tho. Overskou’s Den Danske Skueplads, “Those roles which, being neither those of Hero nor Heroine, Confidante no Villain, but which nonetheless essential to bring about the Recognition or denouement, were called the…

Solomon Gursky Was Here

After all his years on the rivers it finally struck him that he wasn’t the angler but the salmon. A teasing, gleeful Solomon casting the flies over his head, getting him to roll, rise, and dance his tail at will. P.533 In what is touted by critics as possibly Canadian author Mordecai Richler’s best novel,…

The Blind Assassin: Atwood’s Canadian Matryoshka

The best thing I remember about Margaret Atwood’s Booker Prize-winning novel The Blind Assassin, a book I recently read, is how its structure is likened to that of a set of Russian Matryoshkas in which dolls of decreasing sizes are hidden one inside the other. The entire novel is supposed to be the memoir of…