A NUMBER OF THINGS: Stories of Canada

A NUMBER OF THINGS: Stories of Canada

JANE URQUHART    Book Number: 85888    Product format: Hardback

A literary cherry tree, a famous skull, an Innu tea doll, a Sikh RCMP turban, a Cree basket, a Massey-Harris tractor, a canoe, ferry. The power of objects to speak of cultures and civilisations has been demonstrated in several popular radio series, and here Canadian novelist Jane Urquhart adopts the formula to proclaim what it means to be Canadian. The exquisite scratchboard illustrations by leading graphic designer Scott McKowen bring an extra layer of significance: "Each object opens up like a fan to reveal a much larger picture". A beaver hat, concrete block or gas tank raise questions of conservation and the environment, while other objects raise the spirits just for what they are: a dance hall, spectacles, a Nobel Peace Medal. Canada's status as a multi-lingual country has sometimes deprived it of identity, but the author sees its endless state of revision as a strength. A Beothuk legging wrapped round a child's body for burial starts the collection, a sombre relic of a now-extinct native population. Major-General Brock's plumed hat arrived by ship after his death in battle in 1812, but most depictions of his heroic end show him wearing it. Agnes MacDonald, wife of Canada's first prime minister, travelled west with her husband by train and sat on the cowcatcher to get the best view of the scenery, prompting her husband to establish two national parks. McKowen's picture of the iconic cowcatcher, complete with titled lady, is one of the most striking in the book. A sampler worked by Nobel prizewinner Alice Munro's great-great grandmother is another cherished exhibit, and the collection also includes a Torah and a prayer mat. All life is here in stories. 227 roughcut pages, exquisite woodcut/linocut drawings. Remainder mark.
Published price: $32.99
Bibliophile price: £6.50

Additional product information

ISBN 9781443432061
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