Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

Mavis Gallant’s “The Legacy” (1954)

Inheritance: a common literary theme. Here, Mrs. Boldescu has died, leaving behind four grown children and a family grocery shop on St. Eulalie Street in Montreal: “Rumania Fancy Groceries”.

Small shops in 1935, imagine “Rumania Family Groceries” on the signClick for source details

Carol and Georgie are the older brothers, and the youngest boy is Victor, who […]


Mavis Gallant’s “Wing’s Chips” (1954)

This feels like a quintessential Mavis Gallant story: expectations and disappointments swirling around a young girl’s form, as she begins to assemble a set of truths about the world.

The town in “Wing’s Chips” would never make it onto a postcard of Valley-living(Click for source details)

Although the setting appears to be so familiar as to […]


Mavis Gallant’s “Going Ashore” (1954)

For the first time, twelve-year-old Emma Ellinger feels truly connected to her mother. They are finally “doing something together, alone, with no man, no Uncle Anyone, to interfere”.

Tangier, Moracco 1887 Click for source data

It’s true that the cruise hasn’t gone entirely as planned; they have packed the wrong clothes (all summer dresses, […]


Margaret Millar’s Wives and Lovers (1954; 2016)

Readers familiar with Margaret Millar’s suspense novels, will immediately recognize her style and language in Wives and Lovers. (Just yesterday I discussed Vanish in an Instant, another volume in the Syndicate reprint series.)

“It was a shoebox of a room, with the ceiling pressed down on it like a lid, and Gordon and herself, two mis-mated […]


TGIF: In the workplace, on the page (4 of 4)

A new Friday fugue, concluding this week, considering the ways in which our working lives appear on the pages of novels and short stories. (Previous weeks can be viewed here, here and here, if you’re keen.)

Riverhead, 2013

Mohsin Hamid’s How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (2013) “Her […]


Sydney Taylor’s More All-of-a-Kind Family (1954)

Sydney Taylor’s More All-of-a-Kind Family (1954) Dell Publishing, 1967

The third volume in Sydney Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind Family series is everything that is promised in the title: More.

More years for the children, who now range in age as follows: Ella, 15; Henriette (Henny), 13; Sarah, 11; Charlotte, 9; Gertie, 7; and Charlie, 3.

More about Jewish culture: […]


Edward Eager’s Half Magic (1954)

Edward Eager’s Half Magic (1954) Illus. N.M. Bodecker Harcourt Brace & Company, 1985

Countless times, I borrowed the school library’s copy of this book but, to be honest, I don’t remember which, if any, of its sequels I read.

I do know that I borrowed some of them, too, when Half Magic was on loan […]


William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies (1954)

William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies (1954) This was the last of my four reads for Dewey’s Read-a-Thon, so if you are one of the many people who complain about having had to read The Lord of the Flies in school, just imagine reading it for the first time in the final wee hours of […]


Oprah Bookclub, 1954

If Oprah had had a bookclub in 1954, she would have chosen Ethel Wilson’s Swamp Angel.

And I say this because, despite the ongoing debate amongst booklovers about the significance of Oprah’s Bookclub, she has featured many of my favourite writers (e.g. Jane Hamilton, Ursula Hegi, Rohinton Mistry, Barbara Kingsolver, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Isabel Allende, Carson […]