NS tale slays Atwood giant in Canada Reads


slashgirl writes "'Rockbound, a 1928 novel by little-known author Frank Parker Day, has emerged victorious in CBC's annual Canada Reads book battle.'

'In a classic David-and-Goliath confrontation, Rockbound defeated Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake, a heavy-hitter that has been nominated for some of the world's most prestigious literary prizes over the past two years, including the Orange, Booker and Giller prizes. The dystopian novel is also currently competing for the 2005 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.'

Rest of the story here."


I have a couple of comments about Oryx and Crake and how it was presented in the panel discussion.

1) I'm a big reader of science fiction, which is what O&C is. Not "genre fiction" as Atwood kept referring to it in her talking-head shots, not "speculative fiction" as Bill Richardson, the host called it. SF. I have not read O&C, and I don't plan to. I read The Handmaid's Tale and thought it heavy-handed and that she copped out in the "afterword". Atwood is a good writer, but her ventures into SF generally seem to be not as good as her historical or "normal" books.

2) Olivia Chow, the sponsor of O&C, pushed it the wrong way. She spent most of her time talking about how great Atwood is, and how Canadians take our "world class" writers for granted, and not about how great the book is. Everybody else on the panel talked about their books, but not her. And she slammed Rockbound for being "regional", as if that meant that it would be irrelevant to anybody that didn't live in the region. I loved Roch Carrier's reaction to that: "All great literature is regional!" You know that when you're being slammed by the former National Librarian on a basic tenet of literary criticism like that, you're in trouble.

One notable thing about _Rockhound_ is that it's in the public domain in Canada. (The author died in 1950, and Canada is still a life+50 country.)

So is the book going online there? I didn't see an online copy on the CBC site, but perhaps they or some other enterprising Canadian could post it.

(I'd be very happpy to list it on The Online Books Page if it does go online there. I'm not sure at this point whether it'd be public domain in the US or not.)

John Mark Ockerbloom