‘Reading this book is every bit as enjoyable as reading one of the hundreds of novels which Staines cites in this first comprehensive history of Canadian fiction in English from its beginnings to the present day. Atwood, Munro, and Ondaatje are global literary celebrities, but nothing comes out of the blue, and Staines provides an indispensable historical and cultural frame for understanding their significance in the evolution of the exceptionally diverse Canadian literary tradition. This book transforms our thinking about Canadian fiction.'
Coral Ann Howells - University of London
‘In this first sustained history of anglophone fiction in Canada, distinguished scholar David Staines follows the careers of scores of writers – among them Alice Munro, Mavis Gallant, Margaret Atwood, Stephen Leacock, Alistair MacLeod, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Thomas King, Yann Martel, and Madeleine Thien, all celebrated around the world. Staines further demonstrates the relevance of place and community to what they have written, and he deftly chronicles the important roles of teachers, editors, letter-writers, and agents in helping to shape this historical record. Spanning more than two hundred years, this book celebrates the emergence of a narrative tradition that voices the culture of Canada itself, that of a ‘nation beyond nationalism' in the 21st century.'
W. H. New - University of British Columbia
‘These days Canadians take for granted our world-class literature. Alice Munro wins a Nobel, Margaret Atwood another Booker, and a stunning young talent like Esi Edugyan emerges out of nowhere with a pair of international hits. Ho hum. But it wasn't always this good. For most of our history, writers in Canada identified more with English and American literary traditions than anything in their own land, not least because they could only get published in London or New York. It took a strange amalgam of individual talent, collective will, commercial enterprise, and public support to make CanLit happen, and David Staines has the whole story. Quite simply, this book is a masterpiece, an epic account of the long struggle and spectacular rise of one of the world's great literatures, and it is sure to be the definitive account for generations to come.'
Kenneth Whyte - Author of The Uncrowned King: The Sensational Rise of William Randolph Hearst and Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times'.