Canadian Literature

As I live in a geographically-large, but otherwise quite small country, I've gained the same compulsion as the rest of my compatriots to always make note of other authors within our morbidly obese borders. The reasons for this strange compulsion is as much propagandistic as it is libidinal.

The unfortunate label of “CanLit” began from a necessary—though doomed—push of propaganda from the government to erect some basic defense against the waves of American culture which had flooded the country following the Second World War. While some few laureates did manage a degree of success under this old system back in the 01970's, the foreign acquisition of nearly all Canada's biggest publishers under the guise of neoliberal media monopolization has since relegated book publishing within Canada to a starkly limited hobby. For my luck the majority of Canadian authors I've encountered have been salaried professors within the post-secondary education system, but the larger whole have congealed into an “old boy's club” made up almost entirely of the idle rich, with all the chronic issues and unfortunate connotations that come with it. Even the better side of this equation meant the only writing the CanLit system could ever produce would come from a highly filtered, highly privileged, pre-selected few. All for books that average in the low triple figures of total readership, if even that much!

Yet it was growing up with the faint hopes of one day being a part of this failing system, perhaps even maybe entertaining the wild thought of saving it from its oft-predestined failure, that I still stubbornly cling to the idea of “CanLit!” ... despite all available evidence saying I shouldn't.

As a silver lining, this means that the few Canadian books I have that I still quite like are liable to be on the rare side. You're free to read most of these without any fear of being spoiled.




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