Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Going Some Place

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Going Some Place

Article excerpt

Lynne Van Luven (ed.), Going Some Place (Regina: Coteau Books, 2000), ix + 283pp. Paperback. ISBN 1-5505-0137-2.

The diversity of modern Canada is reflected in the issues raised in this powerful prose anthology of creative non-fiction. What is immediately striking is that each piece variously entwines the private memories and world of the writer with the broader cultural space occupied by the contemporary Canadian subject. Indeed, it is at this intersection between private and public - between self and other - that Van Luven (perhaps anticipating readers' lack of familiarity with 'creative non-fiction') locates the genre. In so doing, she characterises creative non-fiction as 'a third reality' that 'brings the inner and outer worlds together in a piece of prose which illuminates a larger issue' (vii).

This interweaving of personal reflection with social reality and stylistic diversity marks the success of the anthology. The first section, 'A Honeycomb of Memory', emphasises the inextricability of the private and social realms. The first three narratives chronicle the private and public impact of music and art. The next four stories share the theme of journeying: one writer's divorce leads to relocation in London, prompting evocative mapping of the urban landscape; and the child of Canadian missionaries to Ethiopia reflects on the specificities of cultural belonging and alienation. A sojourn in Karen Blixen's former home stimulates a tribute to the writer's life and times, and Florence's past is characterised through a sensually rich exploration of its landmarks. …

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