Sunday, June 02, 2013

Michael Gnarowski, ed. Selected Stories of Raymond Knister (1972)

     Michael Gnarowski, ed. Selected Stories of Raymond Knister (1972) A text for Canadian studies, no doubt, and very much of its time. Gnarowski was clearly earning points by editing this book, and more power to him. His introduction is squarely aimed at undergrads, and he labours mightily to make Knister seem more significant than he is. The fiction is also very much of its time: written just before the Depression, it belongs to the Grim Realism school of American fiction (not Canadian, despite its occasional reference to Canadian locales.) Gloom, doom, and self-conscious use of portentous symbolism. Very few people made this style work, and Knister was at best merely a journeyman in it. I skimmed these tales, pausing occasionally to read a couple of pages closely, but the reward for my diligence was slight. * (2005)

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