Some shameless self-promotion

December 4, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

My review of Lawrence Hill’s 2009 Canada Reads winner, The Book of Negroes, is online at the Canadian Notes and Queries site, for anyone who’s interested. Here’s a taste:

When The Book of Negroes won the 2009 edition of Canada Reads, CBC Radio’s annual Survivor-like literary elimination contest, broadcaster Avi Lewis, who was championing the book, referred to author Lawrence Hill’s “titanic task” in taking on the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the eighteenth century and refracting it through the life of one woman, Aminata Diallo, an African girl who is kidnapped as a child and shipped to the Thirteen Colonies where she is sold into slavery. It is likely that Lewis didn’t intend the obvious pop cultural association that accrues to his particular choice of words in this instance, but in fact Hill’s book shares much in common with James Cameron’s Academy Award-winning film about the great twentieth-century nautical disaster. The Book of Negroes and Titanic both view historical events through a fictional lens, employing a panoramic background, and filtering their respective narratives through the personal journeys of specific, individual characters. But more importantly, both cleave to a populist sensibility, avoiding difficult moral questions in favour of stock figures and situations, and providing a fictional experience that, notwithstanding the tragic nature of their historical backdrops, is comfortably familiar to a mass audience.

Also, for anyone who’s interested, yr. humble correspondent is scheduled to appear on Mary Ito’s Fresh Air radio program on CBC Radio One tomorrow morning at 7:30 to talk about the year in books. Normally I wouldn’t be up at such a godforsaken hour on a Saturday morning, but they asked so nicely I couldn’t refuse.


One Response to “Some shameless self-promotion”
  1. patricia says:

    7:30 am is indeed a godforsaken time on a Saturday morning. Any chance that it will be posted somewhere online at a later date? Oh, and congrats, Mr. Media Star.