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A Canada We Recognize

Book Cover A Day in the Life of Canada

It's inevitable that the whole country goes batshit at election time, particularly when things seem a bit precarious for those desperate to hang onto their power, but in the last couple of weeks, the national conversation has taken a dangerous turn, becoming rife with hatred and anger. The result has been a Canada as weird and terrible as the Canada depicted in the photo to your right (which was brought to our attention via a tweet by the Orkney Library) but much less funny. 

And so in an attempt to balance the scales of sanity, we offer this list of books that give us a Canada we recognize.

 

A Canada that is a place of asylum

Book Cover Flight and Freedom

Flight and Freedom, by Ratna Omidvar and Dana Wagner

The global number of people currently displaced from their home country—more than 50 million—is higher than at any time since World War II. Yet in recent years Canada has deported, denied, and diverted countless refugees. Is Canada a safe haven for refugees or a closed door?

In Flight and Freedom, Ratna Omidvar and Dana Wagner present a collection of thirty astonishing interv …

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On the Insidious Absence of Stories, and Bridging Ethnic Solitudes: Guest Post by Eva Stachniak

Eva Stachniak

Eva Stachniak's debut novel, Necessary Lies, won the Amazon.com/Books in Canada First Novel Award in 2000. The Winter Palace, a novel of Catherine the Great will be published in January of 2012 in Canada, U.S., U.K., Holland, and Poland. She lives in Toronto where she is at work on her next novel about Catherine the Great.

I’m Canadian and I’m Polish. I have two internal voices in two languages that have become indelible parts of myself. I’m a North American and a European, for both cultural traditions have shaped me and both demand that I listen to their arguments. To complicate it further, I was born in Eastern or New Europe, as the lands from behind the former Iron Curtain are often called, in what Timothy Snyder, the Princeton historian of 20th century atrocities, calls the bloodlands.

I am also a writer.

Two decades ago I started writing about Polish immigrants to Canada who, like me, arrived here in the aftermath of the Solidarity crisis in search of a home. I wrote in English, not only because I was a graduate student of English at McGill, but also because English allowed me to tell these Polish stories to readers who did not share my ethnic background.

The characters of these early stories are forced to re-examine their heritage. Having left their hom …

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