Ania's Reviews > Canada for Gentlemen

Canada for Gentlemen by James Seaton Cockburn
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's review
Apr 30, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: canada, funny, under-100-readers, letters
Recommended to Ania by:
Recommended for: fans of "The Road to Wiggan Pier" by Orwell

4.5 stars
"Canada for Gentlemen" is a series of letters by the author, James Seaton Cockburn, to his family as he sets out in 1884 from Dawlish, England to Canada to seek his fortune. He struggles immensely to gain any employment. Although he's trained as an engineer, for a long time he cannot find even a simple post as a farm hand. Through perseverance he lands a job at a lawyer's firm in Ottawa as a draughtsman. Not long after that the story ends.

It was a real pleasure to have read these letters (non-fiction!). It painted a struggle of an immigrant in the 1880s probably better than any history book has done for me so far. The author is at times trying to spare the feelings of his mother and speaks of generalities so she won't worry, but in his letters to his brothers he's very jovial but also very honest about the cold hard truth... there's no jobs and there won't be, and yet he must persist to survive.

Only docked it 0.5 stars as near the end, having found a job, he rambles a bit before the story abruptly ends.
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