McGillis: Neglected story master Norman Levine gets his due in new collection

Why don’t more people know about Norman Levine? There are theories.

In 1958, Levine – Polish-born, Ottawa-raised, McGill University-educated, and long expatriated to England – came out with a book called Canada Made Me. A collection of impressions gathered on a zigzagging cross-country trip, it’s a vivid evocation of a country that had barely begun to construct a national mythology, even if the Canada Levine describes is hardly recognizable to us now.

“I felt the need to make a reconciliation,” Levine says in the introduction of his desire to write about a place he had left at age 26, in 1949. His general tenor can be gleaned with some randomly chosen snippets, from Ottawa (“I like the poorer streets not far from the river. They represent failure, and for me failure here has a strong appeal”) to Winnipeg (“…loose sand blowing and women with bad complexions and the wide streets…

Original published: 2017-10-27 13:49:15 Read the full Montreal News here

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