The Smallest Objective

A lantern slide, a faded recipe book, a postcard from Mexico, a nugget of fool's gold — such are the clues available to the narrator of The Smallest Objective as she excavates for buried treasure in her family home.

Together, these objects belonging to several Jewish personalities afford an intriguing vantage point on 20th‐century Montreal — from a Runyonesque character well-known by the city's gossip columnists to a Lithuanian botanist versed in the fossil record to a young woman whose newfound opportunities mirror the promise and ambiguities of the city itself. As the narrator struggles with her mother's failing memory and final decline, unexpected secrets are revealed and expired truths exposed.

Writing and Reading

In the course of a writing life that has spanned more than five decades and encompasses almost eighty books of fiction, poetry, history, and criticism he's written and another thirty that he's played an editorial role in, George Bowering has learned a thing or two about the craft.

Writing and Reading features thirty recent essays, ranging from a single paragraph to 12,000 words, spanning the range of the author's curiosity, which includes collecting, difficulty, film, painting, photography, music, and Vancouver's poets from Apollinaire and Blaise Cendrars to the present day. Bowering writes perceptively about his encounters with texts, and writers, including David Bromige, Judith Fitzgerald, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Robert Kroetsch, Michael Ondaatje, Joe Rosenblatt, and every book he read in 1967, Canada's centennial year.

Running through Writing and Reading is the theme of reading — and paying attention — and its centrality to any writing practice.