Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

She

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

She

Article excerpt

Claire Harris, She (New Brunswick: Goose Lane Press, 2000), 132pp. Paper. $16.95. ISBN 0-8649-2294-9.

Claire Harris's recent novel is published with the financial assistance of the Book Publishing Industry Development Program of Canada. Their website states a mission of promoting 'choice of and access to Canadian-authored books that reflect Canada's cultural diversity and linguistic duality in Canada and abroad'.

She is the story of an expatriate from Trinidad and Tobago, who has made her home in Calgary. The linguistic play Harris employs fulfils the aims of the Book Publishing Industry Development Program admirably. The voices of She evoke the sense of being both alienated and comfortably at home within Calgary, articulating the experience of a first-generation immigrant. The overarching structure of the novel in poetry is epistolary - the letters of an elder sister in Calgary to the younger, Jasmine, in Trinidad. The character can mourn the losses created by exile, 'here no aunts no stars / not a one' (p. 70) to tell stories to a child, yet she also sends the beauty of 'the bow / glimmers only where it bunches raw silk / flung carelessly through our city's centre' (p. 69) to represent her new country to the old.

The poetry and prose in the letters reflect the panoply of voices that comprise Penelope-Marie Lancet. …

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