Thanks for Listening: Stories and Short Fictions

Thanks for Listening: Stories and Short Fictions

Thanks for Listening: Stories and Short Fictions

Thanks for Listening: Stories and Short Fictions


A treasure chest of exceptional stories by one of Canadas classic authorsall now available in one volume.

Ernest Buckler, best known as the author of the Canadian classic, The Mountain and the Valley, never achieved the lasting fame he deserved. His first story was published in Esquire, a significant American literary magazine known for publishing leading writers such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Sinclair Lewis. Over the years, nearly forty more of Buckler's short stories were published in several popular magazines, including Maclean's where his story "The Quarrel" won first prize for fiction.

In Thanks for Listening: Stories and Short Fictions by Ernest Buckler, Marta Dvorák gathers together many of those stories as well as some previously unpublished pieces. At times she has chosen to include the fuller, original versions, and has reinstated some of the lost passages that were cut from stories to fit popular magazine requirements.

Ernest Buckler's writing is rooted in the magic of the ordinary. He celebrates the land and its community, and sensuously recreates a paradise - almost a Garden of Eden. Buckler's American editors were right in believing that no one evoked the lost world of North Americas agrarian past better than Ernest Buckler.


Ernest Buckler is best known for his brilliant first novel The Mountain and the Valley, published the same year as Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, and to as much acclaim on both sides of the border. But just like Sinclair Ross and W.O. Mitchell, he also wrote dozens of short stories that began appearing in Canadian and American magazines in the 1940s. His first stories came out in Esquire, one of the central literary magazines that published leading American writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, Sinclair Lewis, and Dorothy Parker. Other stories appeared in the better popular magazines like Saturday Night, Collier’s, Atlantic Advocate, Reader’s Digest, or Chatelaine. Still others appeared in Maclean’s: the first one, “Penny in the Dust,” became a favourite in countless anthologies, and the second, “The Quarrel,” won the magazine’s fiction contest. Along with his other productions targeting the new mass media—the radio and television scripts, essays, and newspaper columns—these family magazine pieces often blurred the borders between high art and popular culture. Certainly not the gentleman farmer that a rural writer like Faulkner claimed to be, Buckler grew up in a bookless society, but went on to earn a graduate degree in philosophy in Toronto before going back to the low-income region of Nova Scotia to farm by day and write by night. He set his stories in the farming communities of the Annapolis Valley, at a time when electric lights, a car, or a radio were miraculous things to have.

Like Ross (also born in 1908) and Mitchell, Buckler focused on the home and family when male writers rarely concerned themselves with the domestic sphere. Seeing saucepans and kitchens as objects worthy of artistic notice was more in line with the iconoclastic manifestos of fellow modernist—but female—writer Virginia Woolf. And while Ross’s portrayals of misery and despair tend to be bleak, Buckler, more like . . .

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