Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Precipice by Hugh MacLennan

The Precipice, the fiction winner of the Governor-General's Award in 1948 is a tremendous novel. The Precipice is an extremely dense novel with well-developed characters that discusses: relationships, marriage, Canada and the U.S., small town Ontario, religion, and war. MacLennan manages to fit all of this in organically and without becoming preachy.

The Precipice tells the story of Lucy Cameron, a thoughtful woman well on the way to becoming an old maid in small town Ontario with her older sister, until she encounters an American, Stephen Lassiter, who sees her as a desirable woman (in stark contrast to the townspeople). Before long, Lucy falls in love with Stephen, who eventually whisks her away to New York. while this may seem stereotypical, the plot becomes more complicated and the characters often comment on and work against the clich├ęs that they knowingly fall into.

As the story develops, the characters come to grips with the harshness of war as well as the consequences of modern capitalism.

A Brief Note on The Government of Canada by R. MacGregor Dawson

The Government of Canada by R. MacGregor Dawson, which won The Governor-General's Award in 1947 is exactly what one would expect: a solid explanation of the workings of the Canadian government with some historical context. There's not really much to elaborate on. The style is effective and the content is thorough. If you want to learn about the Canadian government in the 1940s, it's a good book.