Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Maple Leaf ♥ Part III: Words of Wisdom from a Mad Cow in Alberta

Movies from the land up there? Check!
Music artists that represent the great white north? Check!
Homegrown litterature to make us proud? Coming right up!

Words of Wisdom From a Mad Cow in Alberta

Life of Pi

File:Life of Pi cover.pngI could not possibly assemble a list of Canadian books without mentionning this awesome classic by Yann Martel. This story is very much one of hope in times of desperation. Don't be fooled by the critics you have heard, Life of Pi is of course endearing and a great novel but at the core, it's a human story and could happen to anyone. Piscine "Pi" Patel is an Indian boy on a journey with his parents across the ocean. They are joined with some of their zoo animals. Tragedy strikes and the ship goes down. But not all is lost, and Pi is determined to survive. You will cry reading this book. You being everyone.


Maïna Tome 1 : L'appel des loupsThis is a french canadian novel by famed author Dominique Demers, a franco ontarian who devoted her entire litterary career to french novels. I could have chosen any of her other titles and I wouldn't even hesitate. But let's focus on this gem. It tells the tale of a young native american girl residing on the banks of the great river (The fleuve saint-laurent) where adventure and danger comes more naturally to her then picking berries and weaving baskets. On the eve of her "change" (her periods), Maïna decides to flee her tribe and the man her father chose to marry her. But not all will be good for the no-longer-a-child-not-yet-a-woman protagonist. Adventure and danger is what she beckoned so that is what she will get. Here is an excerpt in french:

«Maïna voulait tuer. Planter sa lance et voir mourir avant qu'il fasse brun. Tuer, puis éventrer, éviscérer, écorcher et porter la bête encore chaude jusqu'au camp. Elle avançait à grands pas souples, mue par ce désir immense qui l'habitait tout entière. La veille, des hommes avaient ramené un caribou que l'hiver n'avait pas trop amaigri. Malgré sa grande faim, Maïna avait détourné son regard des entrailles fumantes. Le chef, Mishtenapeu, avait compris que sa fille renonçait à la nourriture afin d'amadouer les esprits avant d'accomplir un geste sacré. Maïna espérait qu'en échange le Manitou lui livrerait une bête.

Elle n'avait pas attendu que le soleil se lève en cherchant sa route dans le brouillard. Elle avait amorcé sa longue marche sous une lune blafarde. Les corbeaux volaient bas et les geais gris n'avaient pas crié. C'était bon signe.
Elle aurait pu chasser avec les hommes. Un passage de caribous avait été découvert dans la neige, des chasseurs épieraient la harde pour tendre une embuscade. Elle aurait pu poser des collets de racines ou attirer des porcs-épics en sifflant, mais Maïna avait laissé les esprits guider ses pas et ils l'avaient conduite ailleurs. La fille de Mishtenapeu avait atteint l'âge des grandes bêtes; toute la tribu savait qu'elle pouvait ramener des lièvres et des lagopèdes, il était temps de revenir avec une prise d'homme. Mais ce ne serait pas un castor, ni un caribou. Maïna suivait un loup.»


Flashforward (novel) Hardback cover.jpgThis is pure geeenius. Flashforward, by Ottawa's own Robert J. Sawyer, is a science-fiction mystery thriller novel set in the future. Note the book was written in 1999. Scientists (Those evil fuckers!) are doing experiments (there goes the neighbourhood!) and one of the side effects causes the entire human race to lose consciousness for roughly two minutes. Within that state, most of the people have a vision of their life in the future. It is pretty sad. I'm not even gonna deny it, this book has a lot of depth to it and makes you truly appreciate what you have. But then it has that very cheesy sci-fi feel to it which makes it a winner. And hey, NBC used the premise of the book for their own show FLASHFORWARD.

Barney's Version

I'm not usually a fan of autobiographys and memoirs and such. I like my fiction. But there was so much hype around this book when the movie came out that I succombed to pressure and bought the darn thing. I was quite surprised by how nutsy and fluid the writing was. And the ending explains soooo much about why the the story seems loopy and contrived. Barney is really funny in a dark, depressing way. He's just breezing through life. I still refuse to watch the movie even though I pictured Paul Giamatti when reading the book because he really does fit the description lol. And it's such a tribute to Canadian cities, you will recognize a lot of places in Montreal!

Oryx and Crake

Dystopian novels are my favourites. I love a story about a similar (or post-apocalyptic) Earth. This one, by famous author Margaret Atwood. It is an odd story about a young man named Snowman who befriends a group of odd creatures in a world that has been destroyed. The story is very dark and the flashbacks to Snowman's childhood is pretty disturbing. But that is what make dystopian novels so good; they don't shy away from the true nature of humans. We are animals.

No other books i've read that are from Canada spring to mind. But I did a quick search of Canadian authors and here are a few novels that seem awesome:

Room - Emma Donoghue
Through Black Spruce - Joseph Boyden
No Time for Goodbye - Linwood Barclay

Any great Canadian books to suggest?

Candles are out,
Eleven's Ink

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