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CanLit Challenge 1867-1913 > The Imperialist by Sara Jeannette Duncan, #45

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message 1: by Ibis3 (last edited May 19, 2011 11:44AM) (new)

Ibis3 | 322 comments Mod
The Imperialist by Sara Jeannette Duncan From the description this sounds like it's the same kind of book that Edith Wharton or perhaps Henry James would write, but with a distinctly Canadian twist.

Since I didn't get to The Stone Angel yet, I'll be reading them both together. Unless that gets too confusing...

Sara Jeannette Duncan


message 2: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 322 comments Mod
I've read about 20pp in and so far it looks promising, but as I feared, the setting is too close to that of The Stone Angel, so I'm putting it on hold until I finish that one. Hopefully, as soon as possible.


message 3: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 322 comments Mod
I had to put this one aside again since I had to finish an Interlibrary Loan book first. Now reading it steadfastly so I can move on...

As with the Glengarry books, religion and church play quite a role in the lives of the characters (I guess one could extrapolate that to encompass Ontario life at the end of the nineteenth century/beginning of the twentieth. The few pages outlining Dr. Drummond's theology was boring and offputing but wasn't nearly as tedious as the continual droning of Connor's books.

I find Duncan's writing to be similar to that of Elizabeth Gaskell or George Eliot (or perhaps a cross between the two), rather than Wharton.


message 4: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 322 comments Mod
I've moved the book to the 'read' shelf, though I haven't finished it myself, so as to make room for the next CanLit Challenge book, Woodsmen of the West.

The relationship of Canada to England is so central to Canadian life and politics (at least as seen through the eyes of Duncan) a century ago, but now, it's hardly a blip on the radar (except maybe when there is a Royal Wedding on the horizon).


message 5: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 322 comments Mod
The middle of the book is kind of a drag. Lots of political talk about a policy that is no longer relevant. A little discussion might be interesting (i.e. what was at issue back in the day, how might that compare to positions on issues today like free trade and globalisation), but this ongoing, detailed stuff is like watching obsolete, archived episodes of Power & Politics for hours. I think the fact that the factors involved would be unrecognisable to the original readers and author only a decade after the book's publication with the advent of WWI makes it seem even more pointless. I wish Duncan would spend a little more time talking about her characters apart from their political views on imperialism.


message 6: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 322 comments Mod
Believe it or not, I'm still struggling through this one. I'm finding it extremely heavy and draggy. There's mild interest in comparing Lorne's speech etc. with debates over NAFTA that I recall from my teens, but really I'm so disengaged. I just want it over with.


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