Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Rudy Wiebe. The Angel of the Tar Sands and Other Stories (1982)

     Rudy Wiebe. The Angel of the Tar Sands and Other Stories (1982) Just what the title says. I didn’t read the title story, I didn’t read any story all the way through. Wiebe writes what once passed for realism; I thought of it as such, too, once. But now, it’s clearly just another style of writing fantasies, of rewriting the past so that one cuts a much better figure in it than one ever did in reality. Set in the prairies, or in the urban or academic middle classes, or in the time of armed conflicts with our aboriginal peoples, the stories present themselves as authentic accounts of what really happened. They belong to a period, the middle decades of the 20th century, when many people still took fiction seriously, when they expected fiction to be unrelentingly tough and uncompromisingly truthful. Too often, such fiction turns out to be merely gloomy and depressing. * (2005)

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