Jburlinson Charles Foran, Mordecai Richler was a person of notable contradictions: a Jew accused of being anti-Semitic; an ‘un-Canadian’ Canadian; a dutiful son who hated his mother. How do you think this kind of ‘definition by opposition’ played out in relation to Montreal, the city in which he grew up? His ardor for Montreal was, […]

Writing about sex is never easy, but if authors pay attention to the darker side of desire they’re in with a chance Freud called the human tendency to inflict and receive pain during sex “the most common and important of all perversions”. We all harbour conflicting urges, he argued, both passive and aggressive drives – […]

Assuming the format of an Everyman’s dictionary of writers, Robert Bolaño’s novel Nazi Literature in the Americas, consists of a series of short profiles, thirty brief fictitious lives of pan American fascist novelists and poets, depicted with such straightforward urbanity and good humor that one almost misses the sick joke behind the pretense. I’m reminded […]

Most of us, through a combination of personal experience, education and advice from others, cultivate and try to follow as best we can, a set of values, ‘final narratives,’ beliefs, or central convictions about politics, love, sex, money, religion beauty, justice…in order to live a life we deem worth living. Great works of literature, when […]