So you’re skulking around the corridors of your favourite neighbourhood bookshop amidst the usual slew of uninteresting, plain covers by American writers–white twenty-somethings ‘trying to find themselves’–when you experience a potential life-changer: the discovery of a new favourite novel. The cover is oh-so-shiny, the author’s name is plastered in bold print across the cover, and there is a enough pleasing commentary from respected authors on the back to silence any hypercritical book club. Elated by the warmth of this magical tome, you nearly overlook that damning detail and an awful thought strikes you: My God…is this….can it be…CAN-LIT? Well, the Yonge Street Portage is here to aid you, readers-in-peril. Below are 10 signs that you might be reading a Canadian author. Use them well, follows the clues, and prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again.
1. Is the novel in French? Those dastardly Quebecois are always trying to slip into our bookshelves and contaminate the readership. Separatist my ass.
2. Does the novel feature a moose? Self explanatory.
3. Has Margaret Atwood reviewed the novel? She’s always trying to sniff out the competition.
4. Skim through the pages. Are there any latent references to the “barrenness” or “emptiness” of the land? In Canada, there are as many miles of prairie soil as there are books about it.
5. Does the novel feature a motley cast of indigenous characters or newfound immigrants? Remember, Canada’s a cultural mosaic (and our texts are all melting pots).
6. Check for flippant namedropping of Canadian locales or cities. Nice try, Canadian author, there won’t be any Robert Langdon treasure hunts in St. John’s.
7. Is the novel set on a farm in the 1800s? Chances are this novel calls Regina home.
8. Seriously, check for moose. Beavers too.
9. Any references to hockey? The suspect is always mowing down on poutine at the Leaf’s game to create a syrup-slathered alibi.
10. Last but not least, have you even HEARD of this author? Perhaps it’s all the empty space, perhaps they’re always on the pond playing shinny, but Canadian authors are perpetually obscure. Avoid at all costs.
- Denied Nobel Prize Yet Again, Margaret Atwood Plots Post-Apocalyptic Revenge (newslo.com)
- Canada’s Alice Munro wins Nobel literature prize (sacbee.com)