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Where do I begin?
on July 9, 2009
Startling. Provocative. Depressing. Stirring. Confounding. Rage-inducing. Bewildering. Inspiring.
All of these adjectives are befitting 'A Fair Country'. And more. (In its own bizarre way, it's a love letter to the nation.)
When I lived in the UK, I would often be called upon to answer the question 'So; Canadians and Americans... What's the difference?' Having been born and raised in Canada, having lived in the US, having half my family there as residents, I felt eminently qualified to provide a fairly cogent answer.
After reading Saul's book, I humbly confess that I'd been wrong.
Turns out I didn't really understand much at all about Canada, its history, what it means to be a Canadian...not even how it all relates to the U.S., to being 'not American'.
I won't belabour the point here by rehashing what's in the tome. My copy was dog-footed to the extreme, there were so many bits that I just had to go back to, or excerpt for friends. Suffice it to say that 'A Fair Country' is by far the most important book I've read this year, and as a Canadian, one the most important ever. It's unsettled me, forced me to look at elements of Life in Canada in entirely different ways, compelled me to re-examine my perspective. (As a screenwriter, it's even given me pause to consider Canadian history as source material, no mean feat.)
'A Fair Country' should be required reading for all Canadians. The resulting dialogue might get us up off our collective apathetic arses and into action, at long last creating the nation we're capable of realizing.