Oct 22, 2007 in Books
Writer Stephen Marche wrote this essay in the Toronto Star yesterday talking about how CanLit effectively elbows younger writers out of the way
. Case in point, the Giller shortlist, which this year, like every year is filled with grey hairs (Alissa York
might be the exception here).
Kangaroo Jack dvdrip Marche compares Toronto’s literature scene (like “an old folks’ home”) to Brooklyn’s playground of youthful writers:
The major writers in Brooklyn are young, or if they’re not young they pretend to be (thus the spectacle of 50-year-olds in skeleton hoodies hunched over their MacBooks). A recent article in The American Scholar download Breathless movie download Half Baked movie dismissed the whole Brooklyn scene for its cult of youth, particularly its obsession with traumatized children: Oskar Schell in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close recovering from his father’s death on Sept. 11; Alma Singer in Nicole Krauss’s The History of Love, whose father also has died; and, most famously and most originally, the orphaned brothers of Dave Eggers’s A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
with their rudimentary understanding of hygiene and nutrition. At one point in Heartbreaking Work, Eggers paints a picture of the Wolverine on his brother’s bedroom wall to comfort and protect him, which could serve as a metaphor for the entire Brooklyn writing ethos.
I can hear the complaints now. What about the writers working in Montreal, or Halifax or Vancouver? That’s a subject for another essay. They’re there but the economics of Canadian literature mean that the publishers, the agents and the powermakers are here, in Toronto. A lot of the problems that affect Toronto literature simply spill out into CanLit as a whole.
Make no mistake, this dominance of Canadian literature by the old is a dangerous thing. “The danger is that the Giller, like the CBC, will become just another institution for boomer self-congratulation.” You know what that’ll mean as Boomers get older, retire and die off we’ll start seeing the slow, death of Canadian literature.
And what about the young writers who should be right there, to continue a literary legacy that’s included one-time literary rebels Richler and Davies, Atwood and Ondaatje? Ignored fo so long, we just might find that they’ve all walked away from their Macbooks. Their stories left unwritten.