Some writers are careful to map their stories onto specific geographical locations. Two Toronto writers do this with particular care: Margaret Atwood and Dionne Brand.
Margaret Atwood has depicted Toronto with careful detail in her fictions, especially in The Robber Bride (1993) and Life Before Man (1979). Toronto is not signposted quite so explicitly in her earliest novel, The Edible Woman (1969), but is setting for one memorably uncomfortable restaurant dinner shared by Marian and her fiancé, Peter, in this novel about the politics of consumer society more generally. It begins well enough, with Marian and Peter enjoying their steaks, rare. “Marian was so hungry she would have liked to devour the steak at one gulp” (274). But as the meal goes on, Marian starts to remember diagrams of the various cuts of meat then she looks again at her plate to see not steak but rather “a hunk of muscle. Blood red” and finally has to put down her knife and fork (Atwood 280). Peter notices something is amiss, but does not understand what. The reader and Marian both recognize this as the beginning of trouble for their relationship and for Marian, who is already subconsciously aligning herself with the cow being so expertly dissected by her fiancé. Continue reading →
In Sampling Toronto’s Storied Streets … one finds that Toronto’s literature paints a multilayered portrait of successive waves of immigration and their contributions to Canada’s largest urban metropolis. Its writers have peopled the city and Project Bookmark Canada, which provides informative plaques of places of literary interest, has already profiled parts of the city brought to literary life by Michael Ondaatje, Anne Michaels and poet Ken Babstock.
The Bloor Street Viaduct Photo Credit: Wikicommons Media
In The Book of Small, Emily Carr’s orchards and tin-lined apple room signal this fruit’s significance to Victoria’s literary pantry across the centuries. If inspired, you’ll want to pick up some B.C. apples at your local grocery store and try Dede Crane’s Kale Apple Soup featured this week on the Tableaux blog.
Introducing our new series of blog posts on Capital Meals. The first post in the series is called Entrées through Ottawa, and is set to come out on January 26, 2015. Follow our RSS Feed, or add us on Twitter @canlitfare, Like Us on Facebook, or Google+ to keep up to date with the Capital Meals: Sampling Canada Project.