Book Reviews & Essays on Literature

Welcome Home – Travels in Small-town Canada, by Stuart McLean

Leave a comment published 1992, 10th anniversary edition 2002 republished in 2010) Stuart McLean steps outside his alter-ego of “Dave” of the Vinyl Cafe stories and here writes as himself, an author searching for genuine small towns in Canada. These towns had to have bus-stops, no cash machines, perhaps a ten-pin bowling alley with an actual human pin-setter. They had to be small, run by the people who live there, dominated by whatever resource or source of income the place naturally has, and perhaps have an ice-hockey rink. He was looking for the heart of Canada. In writing about these places, McLean has produced something of a potted history of the nation. It is really, really charming. It is engrossing – every single page of its whopping 633-page bulk. McLean writes in his usual spare, yet eloquent style, with carefully chosen words. He is a master of the final one-liner and he does drop them frequently here with excellent effect. (Continue reading…)

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