Margaret Atwood (1939-) Marie-Claire Blais (1939-)

TLW's Canadian Novelist Historyscope

By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™

© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.

Original Pub. Date: Aug. 24, 2015. Last Update: July 1, 2018.

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What Is A Historyscope?

Westerners are not only known as history ignoramuses, but double dumbass history ignoramuses when it comes to Canadian novelist history. Since I'm the one-and-only Historyscoper (tm), let me quickly bring you up to speed before you dive into my Master Historyscope.

Marie-Claire Blais (1939-)

In 1959 Quebec city-born poet-novelist-playwright Mary-Claire Blais (1939-) pub. her first novel La Belle Bete (Bęte) (Mad Shadows), a Quebec hit about the Patrice family, who inhabit an amoral universe, launching a new era in Quebec fiction. In 1965 she pub. A Season in the Life of Emmanuel (Une Saison dans la Vie d'Emmanul) (Prix medicis); about a rural farm family in Quebec dominated by matriarch Antoinette, whose 16th child is Emmanuel; filmed in 1972 by Claude Weisz. She goes on to pub. 20+ novels.

Margaret Atwood (1939-)

In 1969 Ottawa, Ont.-born poet-novelist Margaret Eleanor Atwood (1969-) pub. her first novel The Edible Woman, written in 1965; Marian McAlpin of Toronto has an affair with English grad student Duncan, gets engaged to her roommate Ainsley Tewce's Peter Wollander, and becomes unable to eat as she rejects the traditional female role, finally making an edible pink woman cake to get over him; makes Atwood a hit with lez, er, feminists. In 1972 she pub. Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature, which objects to subordination of Canadian lit. to Britain and the U.S., making her a star in Canada. In 1972 she pub. Surfacing; a companion to her poem collection "Power Politics" (1971), about Canadian nat. identity, preservation, conservation, etc.; filmed in 1981. In 1975 she pub. Lady Oracle, a parody of Gothic romances and fairy tales; Romance novelist Joan Foster has an affair with a perforance artist named the Royal Pocupine to get away from her bipolar husband Arthur, and after her feminist poems become a hit she is blackmailed, causing her to fake her own death and flee to Italy. In 1979 she pub. Life Before Man; paleontologist Elizabeth (inspired by Atwood's partner Gareme Gibson's ex-wife Shirley Gibson), her husband Nate, and their lovers Lesje (pr. like Lashia) and Chris, who commits suicide. In 1981 she pub. Bodily Harm; journalist Rennie Wilford survives breast cancer then goes on vacation in St. Antoine Island in the Caribbean, hooks up with Paul, and ends up in a rev. survival struggle. In 1985 she pub. The Handmaid's Tale; title inspired by Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales"; dedicated to her Harvard U. mentor Perry Miller; about a right-wing monotheocracy in post-nuclear Boston, showing how subjugated women fight back. In 1988 she pub. Cat's Eye; painter Elaine Risley explores her childhood and teenie years to construct her identity. In 1993 she pub. The Robber Bride; Roz, Charis, and Tony meet monthly in a restaurant in Toronto. In 1996 she pub. Alias Grace; physician Simon Jordan researches the case of the the 1843 murders of Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery in Upper Canada by servants Grace Marks and James McDermott, and comes to believe in Marks' innocence; based on her CBC TV script "The Servant Girl". In 2000 she pub. The Blind Assassin (Booker Prize) (Hammett Prize); sisters Iris and Laura Chase of Southern Ont. and their sci-fi novelist friend Alex Thomas. In 2003 she pub. Oryx and Crake; Snowman lives in a post-apocalyptic world populated by the primitive humanoid genetically-engineered race of Crakers; when fans call the novel science-fiction, she reponds that it's "speculative fiction, not a science fiction proper. It contains no intergalactic space travel, no teleportation, no Martians", later adding "talking squids in outer space", pissing-off sci-fi fans. In 2005 she pub. The Penelopiad; Homer's Odyssey from the female POV, dissing the injustice of males. In 2009 she pub. The Year of the Flood; sequel to "Oryx and Crake" (2003); God's Gardeners, survivors of the Waterless Flood caused by the evil corporations. In 2013 she pub. MaddAddam (Aug.); sequel to "The Year of the Flood" (2009). In 2015 she pub. The Heart Goes Last.

In 1991 the annual Hammett Prize, named after Dashiell Hammett is established by the Internat. Assoc. of Crime Writers, North Am. Branch for the best crime novel in English by a Canadian or U.S. English author; the first award goes to Elmore Leonard for "Maximum Bob".

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