The Exile Book of Canadian Dog Stories brings together 28 exceptional short stories by many of Canada’s most prominent fiction writers. From work by our earliest story tellers, such as Ernest Thompson Seton, L.M. Montgomery and Stephen Leacock, to classic stories by Mavis Gallant Alistair MacLeod and Sheila Watson, to new writing by a younger generation, including Lynn Coady and Matt Shaw, this unique anthology explores the nature of the human/dog bond. As editor Richard Teleky explains in his introduction, “Most national literatures include some notable dog stories, and Canada is not the exception.” Adventure and drama, heartfelt encounters and nostalgia, sharp-edged satire and even fantasy, make up the stories in this memorable collection chosen by a critically acclaimed fiction writer who has kept an eye out for essential reading that will appeal to dog lovers of every persuasion. There are city pets, country dogs, childhood companions as well as a strange stone-dog statue, all ready to entertain and haunt readers, and remind them of their own beloved dogs, past and present. By way of Newfoundland to British Columbia (with a few stops in Europe, too), dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes inhabit these pages , showing what Canadians have sometimes made of their dogs, and what they’ve made of us in return. The Exile Book of Dog Stories is the ideal companion for dog lovers and story lovers alike.
The Exile Book of Canadian Dog Stories includes Richard Teleky’s translation of “Homage to Scheila” by Marie-Claire Blais, which was written especially for this anthology.
Praise for The Exile Book of Canadian Dog Stories
“Twenty-eight exceptional dog tales by some of Canada’s most notable fiction writers have been complied in this feast of short stories. As Teleky, the editor of the collection, states, it’s ‘not a collection of sentimental tales about noble dogs doing heroic deeds but rather stories that portray the rich and complex and mysterious bond between dogs and humans.’ The roles the dogs play in these stories, whether small or large, are those of an essential counterpoint to the human characters, revealing truths through the way the dogs are regarded. With works from earlier storytellers the likes of Ernest Thompson Seton (a founding pioneer of Boy Scouts of America) to contemporary writers such as Lynn Coady, the stories run the breadth of adventure, drama, satire and even fantasy, and will appeal to dog lovers on both sides of the border.”
“Richard Teleky’s thorough and surprising introduction to The Exile Book of Canadian Dog Stories provides and excellent contextualization for the anthology’s very existence in the first place. Teleky’s historical acumen pits Argos as the dog-of-significance of Western literature (a notion reconfirmed by Stan Dragland’s story ‘Penelope’s Dog’ more than 200 pages later), and points to the appearance of CanLit dogs in texts as early as Radisson’s journals and Moodie’s Roughing It in the Bush. This collection, it quickly becomes apparent, wrestles with and exults in the uncertainties and mutabilities that might be said to characterize CanLit as a field in the first place; identity/belonging, place/space, wilderness/nature, etc. So what is a Canadian dog story, then? ‘Simply put,’ Teleky insists, ‘it’s any story by a Canadian about the rich and complex and mysterious bond between dogs and humans.’ .. .Teleky takes pains to resist the pull of the romantic or the nostalgic in his selections … For every reliable four-legged companion in Dog Stories, there seems to exist and uncanny doppeldog that proves, Teleky himself notes, ‘as far removed from sentimental representation as anyone could imagine.’ … The twenty-eight stories here from some of CanLit’s most recognizable figures (Leacock! Montgomery! Gallant! MacLeod! Coady!) are not really about dogs, of course. Or at least they are not singly about dogs. They assume, instead, that our are “the background of our lives” in that they often become the markers of how we understand (and operate) in the world. Teleky makes the case for this anthology very simply, then: ‘In a very basic way, we reveal ourselves in the regard we have for our dogs, and good writers know this and show it.’ And the good writers here prove his point in kind.”
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