Middlemarch

My two companions are deep in their Scandinavian noirs and so I resist the impulse to cackle out loud, thinking this is as deliciously funny as anything in Jane Austen, and with rather more human sympathy. For Celia already knows her sister intends to marry the appalling man. [Read more]

Preparation

We glimpse a gun. We know it will go off. Not now. Later. Two damaged and violent souls, Skinner and Jimmy, products respectively of American military and carceral systems, not by-products, not failed products, just products, predictable and necessary, like the gun. Likewise they will go off. Not now. Later. But surely. Fates walking to meet our reading with slow and inexorable measures. [Read more]

Memed, My Hawk

My one-dollar book arrived as promised. It had in fact not been mailed from anywhere in Ontario, but from something called World of Books Ltd., Mulberry House, Goring by Sea, in the UK, by Royal Mail. The copy—a Collins-Harvill reprint from 1990—was definitely used, with that soft, rubbed feeling inside and out one associates with lending libraries. [Read more]

Kierkegaard

The question arises, if we lay to rest the distortions and untruths of the Christian past, indeed of the whole Abrahamic inheritance, as unworthy of free and intelligent people, what bulwark will we have against the worst, who are full of passionate intensity? [Read more]

The Canadian Bush

An implicit frontier thesis, ironical, detached, elitist, so very different from the American one, for people who disliked and mistrusted the United States and were disliked and mistrusted in return. Perhaps not so much even a frontier thesis—the frontier in the American sense is a process of repeated renewal and self-invention—rather a wilderness thesis, a bush thesis, a narrative of clinging to the edges of forbidden zones. [Read more]