Friday, April 21, 2006

Happy Canadian Novels?

I recently finished reading The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields. I read it because i was looking for something interesting and well written that might sweep me up into a different world. Well, it did sweep me up into the life of Daisy Goodwill, orphan, whose tragic first marriage ends on the honeymoon, whose second marriage is to a man 20 years older than her who was sort of her uncle, and who ends her days realizing no one has ever told her that they love her. It was not a good time for me to read such a novel. I have felt achingly depressed and lonely all week, and it is in part because this novel was so well written and so sad.

This left me asking that age old question: Are there any happy Canadian novels out there? Was the first half of this century really THAT depressing? Did everyone, especially women, really live lives that were as terrible, depressing and soul killing as all that? I don't think I have ever read a happy novel written by a Canadian woman. Seriously. The Handmaid's Tale? No, I don't think so. Stone Angel? Apparently Hagar finds some redemption at the end, but happy is not a word I would use for it. Fugitive Pieces? The haulocaust was not a particularly happy subject, so no. Concubine's Children? Nope.

I suppose there are a few happy novels out there. Robinson Davies' satires are pretty funny. And there is this B.C. author . . . Jack Hodgins, whose book The Macken Charm was happy, but also had a suicide in it. And Will Fergeson's Happiness. But all of those books are written by MEN.

I am a Candian woman, and my life is not that bad. I have a sense of humour. Why don't the rest of the women living in Canada share this with me? Why are we all so busy feeling sorry for ourselves? Its like a bad hangover from the early feminist movement or something. That's it. I have decided that it is my patriotic duty to start writing a happy, uplifting novel about a woman in Canada. I'll let you know how its coming as soon as I get out of this funk and think of something happy to write about . . .


Kristen Springthorpe said...

Try Stuart McLean...okay, he's a storyteller, not a novelist, but so funny!

Jilly said...

But again, he's male. Where are all the non-angry women in canada?