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If This Is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories?: Finding Common Ground
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If This Is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories?: Finding Common Ground

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  38 ratings  ·  6 reviews
“We need to understand our stories because our lives depend upon it.” -- Ted Chamberlin

The stories we tell each other reflect and shape our deepest feelings. Stories help us live our lives -- and are at the heart of our current conflicts. We love and hate because of them; we make homes for ourselves and drive others out on the basis of ancient tales. As Ted Chamberlin vivi
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Published May 28th 2010 by Vintage Canada (first published August 5th 2003)
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When I first read this book, I wrote this as a caption in Instagram: “One of the best books I've read on quite some time. At once eclectic, elegant, and spirited, it charts the hold stories have on us, and articulates everything I love about the field of literature. If you're looking for a book to read this summer, this one comes very highly recommended.”

Having now read it many times over, my love for this book has only deepened – we’re talking if-I-could-only-read-one-book-for-the-rest-of-my-li
Every now and then I read a book that thoroughly impresses me with the author's learning, its erudition, its sheer elegance, and with the power of its argument (in 1990 it was a marvellous book called Black Sheep and Kissing Cousins: How Family Stories Shape Us). This is one of those. By way of a discussion of the question of indigenous claims to land, Chamberlin explores the ways that stories work, the ways they blend the real and the imaginary, the ways different communities, cultures and occu ...more
Bill Brydon
J. Edward Chamberlin, takes his title from the indigenous challenge issued to British settler/colonials who claimed this land by over-riding the claims of its original inhabitants, Chamberlin stresses the world-making power of stories this way. He writes: “In many ways, home is an image for the power of stories. With both, we need to live in them if they are to take hold, and we need to stand back from them if we are to understand their power”
I just finished reading this book today and feel like I need to go back to the beginning and start reading it again. The subtitle of my edition is 'finding common ground' which I think is a better subtitle. It's about ideas of story, ownership of land, truth and history and it made me see all of those things in a new way.
This is an important book without seeming like an "important book" -- highly readable and entertaining, as a story should be. It provides insight into what common ground and inter-cultural understanding is all about.
There was a lot to think about in this book. I enjoyed it, but I don't know if it was the best choice for holiday reading - I might try reading it again sometime when I'm less distracted.
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