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The Antigonish Review - Autumn 2004

  • Issue Number: Number 139
  • Published Date: Autumn 2004

The question of national literature is never without debate, and in Canada there’s always plenty of discussion going on about what it means to be truly Canadian. While the debate doesn’t end with The Antigonish Review, it’s a very good place to begin it. I find much of the literature here to be decidedly traditional: it belongs to the outdoors, to fishing and heron spotting and crafting driftwood into spirit masks. Like Anita Lahey’s “Cape Breton Relative,” these works paint a colorful but sometimes sobering portrait of a rural landscape distinctly belonging to Canada (or at least Nova Scotia and, on occasion, Vancouver Island). But this is “Canada’s Eclectic Review,” and there are also many fine turns and surprises. In “Impaired,” Devin Krukoff hits an emotional chord by viewing the world through the eyes of suffering: “The moon is split clear through the center, / a severed tongue on the plate of my window, / while across the world the sun climbs over Africa, / a continent shaped like a spear.” Kevin McPherson’s story “On Stilts” finds a man on the edge of his sanity after his wife’s death in a car crash, using long, run-on fragments to convey grief and vengeance: “My legs threaten to betray me they want to go AWOL head for the fence but I force them back in line.” And Thomas Trofimuk’s “unfolding” is a passionate and strange tale of a poetic one-night stand whose nervous rush still makes it hard for me to let go. As it turns out, there’s a worthwhile reading venture to be had here. [] — Christopher Mote

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Review Posted on April 30, 2005

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