Whether you love her or loathe her, there’s no denying that when many of us think of Canadian literature, we think of Margaret Atwood. And with a hit TV show — and the Trump administration in full (golf) swing — there’s no denying our Margaret’s work is enjoying a renaissance. If you’re planning to read #NVCLreadsMargaret this summer, you may look no further than The Handmaid’s Tale, or you may want to get your hands on Atwood’s Angel Catbird graphic novels, or her books for children. However, if you decide you’d like to branch out from Atwood, Canada has several awesome Margarets for you to choose from.
The next most obvious choice is Margaret Laurence, best-known for writing books you have been forced to read in high school (The Diviners, The Stone Angel) and loved anyway. Her earlier works, like This Side Jordan, are set in Ghana, where the Laurences lived for a few years.
Margaret Sweatman is yet another solid choice. She’s even won the Margaret Laurence Award for fiction (thus effectively doubling her Margaret-ness). We recommend Mr. Jones. “Set in a time of rampant paranoia, Mr. Jones peels back the veneer of Canadian politics to reveal a nation willing to sacrifice its own. It is a fearful time, a time of “peace” at the onset of the nuclear age.” (description from publisher)
If poetry (#NVCLreadsPoetry) is more your speed, try Margaret Avison’s Momentary Dark, “a celebration of the world, but not without edge and a quiet challenge to care for a damaged earth and all its citizens equally, including a veritable populace of city trees graciously and beautifully linking the earth and the sky” (description taken from the publisher).
And finally, if you like your Margarets with a healthy dose of non-fiction, you might want to check out Margaret Visser, Margaret Horsfield, or Margaret Macmillan. In her Massey Lecture, Beyond Fate, Visser “investigates what fate means to us, and where the propensity to believe in it and accept it comes from.” Horsfield meanwhile takes local history as her muse, writing extensively about Tofino and Clayoquot Sound. Like Horsfield, Macmillan is inspired by history. She focuses mainly on the late 19th and early 20th century, and is best known for her book 1919: Six Months That Changed the World.
Whatever your reading tastes, we’ll bet there’s a Canadian Margaret for you.
**For those of you just joining us for NVCL Reads: Canada 150 bingo, please download your bingo card from our website. Five lucky winners will each receive a $25 gift card to a local bookstore!