Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Journeyman to Grief

A delightful Victoria Day weekend was had in these parts - sunny and warm, hot even. Saturday was an incredible 29°C and sunny! But is was unseasonably coolish in the east, with Toronto only hitting 19°C on Saturday. Perhaps this explains the mildly grumpy column by Jeffrey Simpson in the Globe and Mail on the weekend: "Why this Victoria Day should be our last." It begins:
Let's all enjoy the Victoria Day weekend - and resolve that it will be the last. Not the holiday, of course, but the name: Victoria Day. Let's grow up, Canada, and take pride in what is Canadian, rather than glorifying an English monarch who died in 1901 after an admittedly stellar reign of almost 64 years.
I heartily disagree. I like having a link to Canada's monarchical, colonial and British past. It is a reminder that this country was a creature of the British Empire, and was born as a nation state during Victoria's watch. And perhaps it is especially useful to remember the Grand Old Dame here in a in a province named after her daughter (Alberta), with a lovely place like Lake Louise (also her daughter, Princess Louise Caroline Alberta), where every second person is from Regina (named after her Latin title, Regina) or Prince Albert (her husband Prince Albert), and everyone retires to Victoria (yes, her!), British Columbia (name chosen by Victoria over New Caledonia)!
Besides, it gives librarians an opportunity to haul out all those great old Victorian tomes for displays. Here's some suggestions of neo-Victorian reads this year:

A Journeyman to Grief by Maureen Jennings.
The latest (7th) in the entertaining Detective Murdoch mystery series, which poke holes in the reputation of “Toronto the Good.” The Detective Murdoch character is the basis for the TV series that airs on CITY-TV locally. The latest novel is set in grimy, violent 1858 Toronto, and is a tale of slavery, addiction, violence and revenge. The Library has the entire series:
6. Vices of My Blood (2006)
5. Night's Child (2005)
4. Let Loose the Dogs (2003)
3. Poor Tom is Cold (2000)
2. Under the Dragon's Tale (1998)
1. Except the Dying (1997)
Another fictional look at the Upper Canada of the 19th century is Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. This is one of Atwood’s very best novels - winner of the Giller, nominee for the Booker. A brilliant imagining of the real story of an infamous Victorian-era murder in 1843 Upper Canada. Atwood tells the intriguing story of Grace Marks, barely 16 when she was charged with the murder of her employer, Thomas Kinnear.


Blogger jasmine.celion said...

that's really interesting stuff i've read it

jasmine celion

2:12 a.m.  

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