I’ve been spending a lot of time in Canada recently. Entirely in my head of course. Which is possibly the best place to explore a country, or a city as Calvino showed us in his invisible mindscapes.
I’ve arrived at my incorporate destination by following a trail of quite amazing debut short story collections: Laura Boudreau, Alexander Macleod, Anne Perdue, D.W. Wilson. They’re fantastic debuts, but they’ve also been extremely useful for helping me build the psychic space of O Canada in my head.
I didn’t realise how much I needed an O Canada until I started to constitute it. My OC has a partially similar function to God Defend New Zealand (GDNZ) in that it serves as an unfathomed antumbra of a complacently fathomed mental representation (Australia in the case of GDNZ, America for OC).
In OC I can have all the tropes and rhythms, all the late-Capitalist botheration and goose bumps that I dearly love in American fiction, but with some sort of shimmery, destabilising overlay which I haven’t fully understood yet.
It’s almost Lynchian, but not necessarily dark and twisted, even if it does have the feel of a literary deepweb or darkweb space hidden under the surface of www.allthestuffyouknow.com.
Perhaps it can more crudely deconstructed as a pseuds-corner need to be one or two steps ahead of the pack: “Well yes, dahling, there’s some splendid work coming out of the 20 under 40 crew, but what have you read from Canada recently? Oh nothing? Well…”
Well, here’s a good place to start.
And what a boon to have this breathing-thinking-writing Canadian in the shape of Laura Boudreau who actually lives (+ breathes, thinks, writes) in my city, happy to read me one of her equally commendable contemporaries (Rebecca Rosenblum) and talk with a Canadian accent into my digital recorder.
Needless to say, I have yet to be able to distinguish an OC accent from any other North American variety, but I’m working on it O Canada, forgive me.
BTW: If you’re in London in September, you’ll be pleased to know that Laura is attending our Canadian Debuts Bookclub/Salon at Camden Arts Centre. She may even sign the odd copy or two if you ask her nicely.
[Intro tune: Latché Swing]