Sunday, February 15, 2009

Howard O'Who's-that?

The Vancouver Courier ponders "The Curse of Canlit," looking at the work of native daughter June Skinner, who wrote as Rohan O'Grady.

"The closest parallel I can think of to June is Howard O'Hagan," says her son-in-law, chatting after the Courier's interview with June in an upstairs bedroom. "And he would not have survived at all into the Canadian canon if Michael Ondaatje had not found him and championed him."

Along the way the piece provides a glimpse at the story behind Dzyd Theo's Blvr. story about his obsession with O'Grady and Let's Kill Uncle.

Perhaps Schell-Lambert's article will be the spark needed to get Skinner's work back in print in her own country. If one of her books can affect readers the way it did him, she deserves at least a serious reappraisal.

"Apparently [Schell-Lambert] has old school friends as haunted by it as he was," says Mary. "I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I think of 25 years of 10-year-olds being exposed to that."


TRIVIA: What do Ondaatje, P.G. Wodehouse, and Raymond Chandler have in common?

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