Culture & Conversation

Posts by Francine Diot-Layton

train station

Truth in exile

To immerse oneself in Haruki Murakami’s latest, Colorless Tsukuru Tamaki And His Years Of Pilgrimage, is to indulge in pure literary luxury. Not so colorless after all.

Wilderness Footprints Uncovered

The vast expanse of Canada’s wilderness fascinated 17th century explorers and missionaries. The explorer Pierre-Esprit Radisson tried to spread out as far as he could. A little-known 17th century Jesuit, Louis Nicolas, meticulously recorded wild animals, plants and aboriginal people during his leisure time. Bravo to McGill-Queen’s University Press for bringing out meticulously edited volumes based on records left by Radisson and Nicolas.

Blue Met Notes II

Bilingual cities do not exist, as the word implies equality, and languages are in constant movement. Example, Montreal, currently moving toward being more French. Multilingual is a more accurate label, applicable to Montreal at various times: Yiddish, Italian, Spanish etc.

Morning After

It was on a lazy summer morning that I started to read Marc Levy’s The First Day, looking forward to “the most-read French author in the world,” according to Wikipedia, whose “combined worldwide sales of his ten novels, translated in 42 languages, have achieved the 23 million copy mark.”

Suffer the Children

Elsewhere, expansive imagery pulls the reader in: “Orthodox Jews, they always travelled in packs. In fact, if you stood before their dwelling places and narrowed your eyes just the right way, you could almost make out the flapping tents and, nearby, the camels, squinting into the sun…” Notice the impeccable use of the second person. I caught myself squinting.