A Short Sad Book
George Bowering’s most recent books include The Dad Dialogues (with Charles Demers, 2016), The Hockey Scribbler (2016), Ten Women (2015), Writing the Okanagan (2015), and The World, I Guess (2015).
Forty years ago, George Bowering saw a country struggling to find itself in its books and wrote A Short Sad Book about it. Originally published in 1977, A Short Sad Book has plenty of what you’d expect from any great Canadian novel: geography, loons crying in the wilderness, beavers. There’s a romance between Sir John A. and Evangeline; a Purdy good detective named Al hot on the trail of whoever killed Tom Thompson (yes, that one); terror in the form of white rabbits from the Black Mountain; Riel; Dumont; and postmodernism. Poet/translator Erin Mouré’s introduction provides context, while Bowering contributes an afterword. A teachable moment in Canadian literature if ever there was one.