The relentless unforeseen

The relentless unforeseen

Philip Roth’s altered image of America’s past in The Plot Against America is a stroke of genius, says Blake Morrison
The Plot Against America by Philip roth

 

When the hubristic, newly elected US president boasts of America’s invulnerability to foreign attack, the sense of imminent calamity is overwhelming. The title invokes 9/11, but the novel is set 60 years ago. The plot against America isn’t Islamic but homegrown (with a little assistance from Germany). And instead of reconstructing real historical events, as David Hare does in Stuff Happens, Philip Roth offers something bolder: a reconstruction of imagined events, a “what if…?” that reads like a “what really happened”.

Just suppose…that the air hero Charles Lindbergh, the man who made the first solo transatlantic flight in 1927, who earned huge sympathy when his baby son was kidnapped and murdered five years later, who called Hitler “a great man” and was decorated by order of the Führer for his services to the Reich, just suppose that he’d taken up Republican invitations to run for president in November 1940, and milked the isolationist sentiment that undoubtedly existed then (No more war! Never again will young Americans die on foreign soil!), and that instead of Roosevelt being elected for an unprecedented third term and taking America into Europe to fight the Nazis, Lindbergh won a landslide victory. And then he signed non-aggression treaties with Germany and Japan, and set about realising his vision of America as a land of the brave and blond, and introduced a set of anti-semitic measures which, if not on the scale of Hitler’s pogroms, were a betrayal of the rights and liberties enshrined in the constitution and yet, such was the young president’s charisma, they were accepted by the mass of ordinary citizens and even by some prominent Jews.

Just suppose…that the princes in the Tower hadn’t been murdered, that Britain had remained a republic after Cromwell, that America had turned fascist in 1940. In most hands, “just suppose” is a parlour game, a high-table diversion, whimsical and ultimately trivial. Not with Roth. His stroke of genius – and, given the extraordinary late blooming of an already illustrious career with American Pastoral, I Married a Communist and The Human Stain, the word genius doesn’t seem excessive – is to bed his little fantasy in the rich soil of his own childhood in Newark, New Jersey, and watch it grow. The narrator is Philip Roth, aged seven, and the family at the book’s centre are his family – father Herman, mother Bess and brother Sandy. The Roths understand the threat posed by Lindbergh, as do their Jewish neighbours, but each member of the family responds differently. Early on, there’s a trip to see the sights of Washington, where the Roths find their pre-booked hotel room has become mysteriously unavailable. A blatant case of anti-semitism, Herman shouts, and a violation of the Gettysburg principle that “All men are created equal”. But his loudmouth protests embarrass Bess and silence their voluble tour-guide. Already there’s a pressure to pretend not to see what’s going on. Further frictions arise when, under the auspices of a scheme called “Just Folks”, Sandy disappears for the summer for an “apprenticeship” with a Kentucky tobacco farmer. A talented young artist, he returns with a portfolio of animal sketches – and a sudden enthusiasm for Waspish, heartland values. Worse, he’s co-opted by the OAA (the Office of American Absorption) to encourage other Jewish city boys to follow his example – and does it so well that through his aunt, Bess’s sister Evelyn (whose boyfriend, Rabbi Bengelsdorf, is a passionate supporter of Lindbergh), he’s invited to a reception at the White House. A fierce row ensues, with Herman refusing Sandy permission to attend and Evelyn and the rabbi defending Lindbergh as a freely elected democrat “who has exhibited not a single inclination towards authoritarian rule”.

In noisily denouncing Lindbergh, Herman is made to feel like a “frightened, paranoid ghetto Jew”. Paranoia is a common issue with Roth’s narrators, who’re frequently told they’re imagining or exaggerating things – there’s a memorable scene in The Counterlife, when a woman in a London restaurant complains to the waiter of the terrible smell in the place and the hero, Nathan Zuckerman, tells his disbelieving gentile wife “I am that stink”.

The thesis of The Plot Against America is paranoid, too – a fascistic US government suspending civil liberties and persecuting minorities deemed a threat to security. Paranoid and yet (even without any allusion to America post-9/11) utterly plausible. To make alternative history credible, you have to register the incredulity of those it’s happening to. “We knew things were bad,” Herman tells friends after his hotel experience in Washington, “but not like this. You had to be there to see what it looked like.” Later, after Von Ribbentrop is warmly greeted at the White House, Herman says: “If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I’d think I was having a hallucination.” Or later still:”It can’t happen here? My friends, it is happening here.”

What unfolds requires some tweaking of the historical record – the postponement of Pearl Harbor by a year, for instance. But so inevitable is the march of events that this is all it seems, a tweak. It helps that we see things through the eyes of a child. The man the child became can look back at what was lost (“that huge endowment of personal security I had taken for granted as an American child of American parents in an American school in an American city in an America at peace with the world”), but the child, in medias res, is preoccupied by matters other than politics: his stamp collection, for instance; or how his Aunt Evelyn, holed up in the cellar, will get through the night without access to a toilet; or what to make of his repellently fascinating cousin Alvin, who has come home from the war in Europe minus a leg. But even those postage stamps lose their innocence. Philip dreams of their national park icons being covered by swastikas, and when the collection is eventually lost, anti-semitism is directly to blame: under the new Homestead 42 scheme, the Roths have been “selected” for relocation to Kentucky, and it’s while running away in the middle of the night to avoid exile that Philip mislays his most treasured possession.

As it turns out, the Roths avoid the ultimate catastrophe. But Philip’s worst-best friend Seldon is less fortunate. There’s a hauntingly familiar moment when Seldon, at home alone in Kentucky when his mother Selma fails to return from work, is given painstaking instructions by Philip’s mother over the phone from Newark on how to make himself toast for supper. Seldon fears the worst (“Now both my parents are dead”) and he’s right to. By this point, two years into Lindy’s presidency, killings and riots have begun and many Jews are fleeing over the border into Canada. The nadir is the assassination of the Jewish journalist and broadcaster Walter Winchell, a prominent critic of government policy. In truth, as we learn from Roth’s postscript, Winchell lived on for 30 more years. But the alternative history which Roth imagines for him, including a detailed account of his vast funeral in 1942, seems more realistic than the reality of Winchell becoming a McCarthyite in the 50s and dying in obscurity.

The postscript, with its short biographies and list of sources, gives us the facts – the ground on which Roth has built his house of fiction. It’s instructive yet also redundant. What matters isn’t the reality that underpins the novel, but the reality it creates for itself. And The Plot Against America creates its reality magisterially, in long, fluid sentences that carry you beyond scepticism and with a quotidian attentiveness to sights and sounds, tastes and smells, surnames and nicknames and brandnames – an accumulation of des petits faits vrais – that dissolves any residual disbelief.

Young Philip’s greatest epiphany is to recognise the difference between history as taught in school – harmless and inevitable – and history as it’s lived through, “the relentless unforeseen”. His novel is a different kind of history again, an imagined past which, if we learn from it, might save us from a calamitous future. It’s not Roth’s funniest novel (and there’s hardly any sex). But in its sweep and chutzpah, it ranks with his great trilogy of the late-90s. Isn’t it time they gave him the Nobel?

 

What is Pushing Mongo

What is Pushing Mongo? Should skateboarding be used?

Currently skateboarding is becoming a good sport for health and many participants. You want to play the skateboard to learn the necessary skills. Players must comply with the skills to play well. Currently there are many errors when many people suffer from skateboarding. One of them is Pushing Mongo. So what is Pushing Mongo?

Find out about information related to Pushing Mango         

What is Pushing Mongo?

Push Mongo just like Skateboard Mongo. These terms are only ways that players have wrong skateboarding. Meaning you use the front leg to move the board forward. At the same time, you put the following legs in the wrong position between the chessboard. Meanwhile using the push board moves forward properly to use the rear leg.

This way of playing only those who are new to skateboarding, do not have much experience encountered. If you are a newcomer with this subject, pay attention. Otherwise it will form a bad habit and not a professional skateboard.

Pushing Mango is a posture not to do                   

How is Pushing right in skateboarding?

Even if you are a beginner, don’t push Mongo. But refer to the right ways to form good habits. After that only regular practice will become professional.

How to push many people who apply are the front legs to near the wheels of the front and back skis are pushed. Foot-legged legs are like many other ordinary people. As you use the left leg to bring it up to the front, it’s a goofy posture.

Why do professional skateboards don’t like Mongo posture?

In fact, people do not show the prohibition of pushing Mongo. However, it was judged by the submerged community and provided regulations to comply with. Pushing Mongo is wrong, people will condemn and mock themselves.

So why are people so prejudiced? Skateboarding does not have any binding. Every posture can be creative in its own style. Young skateboarding athletes have continuous innovations in how to play. They always want to create new and eye-catching steps. But if you push Mongo, those styles will be pushed back. In fact, pushing Mongo is extremely bad.

In recent times, the skating athletes have condemned Mango. They offered criticism and mockery with that action when skating.

                   

Why push Mongo into a bad posture?

It’s not natural that people hate this posture. But it has a lot of drawbacks that professional skateboarding athletes do not like. Some specific reasons:

  • Pushing Mongo is not the same as other poses that look strange.
  • If you use a suitable posture, it will take very little time. On the contrary, pushing Mongo takes a lot of time because the foot needs more impact.
  • You will not be rested but must constantly need the following legs. After that the skateboard tail will not be able to move quickly.
  • The skateboarder will be very difficult to go to the cracks with Mongo push posture. Only when placing the right posture, can you lift the nose and jump over the crack.
  • Pushing Mongo also slows down the movement speed. With flip-flip tips, it’s really impossible.

Through sharing information, surely you already know what is pushing mongo? East you also understand more that should not make that posture. However in some cases people can still use it.

But it is best not to use this posture when starting. Because it will make you form bad habits. When they were accustomed to Pushing Mongo, it was difficult to play the right posture. Having become a professional skateboarding athlete is impossible. Please note what is pushing mongo and limit its use.

best books of the 21st century part 3

The 100 best books of the 21st century – part 3

71. Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth

by Chris Ware (2000)

At the time when Ware won the Guardian first book award, no graphic novel had previously won a generalist literary prize. Emotional and artistic complexity are perfectly poised in this account of a listless 36-year-old office dogsbody who is thrown into an existential crisis by an encounter with his estranged dad.

72. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

by Shoshana Zuboff (2019)

An agenda-setting book that is devastating about the extent to which big tech sets out to manipulate us for profit. Not simply another expression of the “techlash”, Zuboff’s ambitious study identifies a new form of capitalism, one involving the monitoring and shaping of our behaviour, often without our knowledge, with profound implications for democracy. “Once we searched Google, but now Google searches us.”

73. Nothing to Envy

by Barbara Demick (2009)

Los Angeles Times journalist Barbara Demick interviewed around 100 North Korean defectors for this propulsive work of narrative non-fiction, but she focuses on just six, all from the north-eastern city of Chongjin – closed to foreigners and less media-ready than Pyongyang. North Korea is revealed to be rife with poverty, corruption and violence but populated by resilient people with a remarkable ability to see past the propaganda all around them.

74. Days Without End

by Sebastian Barry (2016)

In this savagely beautiful novel set during the Indian wars and American civil war, a young Irish boy flees famine-struck Sligo for Missouri. There he finds lifelong companionship with another emigrant, and they join the army on its brutal journey west, laying waste to Indian settlements. Viscerally focused and intense, yet imbued with the grandeur of the landscape, the book explores love, gender and survival with a rare, luminous power.

75. Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

by Olga Tokarczuk (2009), translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (2018)

In this existential eco-thriller, a William Blake-obsessed eccentric investigates the murders of men and animals in a remote Polish village. More accessible and focused than Flights, the novel that won Tokarczuk the Man International Booker prize, it is no less profound in its examination of how atavistic male impulses, emboldened by the new rightwing politics of Europe, are endangering people, communities and nature itself.

76. Thinking, Fast and Slow

by Daniel Kahneman (2011)

The Nobel laureate’s unexpected bestseller, on the minutiae of decision-making, divides the brain into two. System One makes judgments quickly, intuitively and automatically, as when a batsman decides whether to cut or pull. System Two is slow, calculated and deliberate, like long division. But psychologist Kahneman argues that, although System Two thinks it is in control, many of our decisions are really made by System One.

77. Signs Preceding the End of the World

by Yuri Herrera (2009), translated by Lisa Dillman (2015)

Makina sets off from her village in Mexico with a package from a local gangster and a message for her brother, who has been gone for three years. The story of her crossing to the US examines the blurring of boundaries, the commingling of languages and the blending of identities that complicate the idea of an eventual return.

78. The Fifth Season

by NK Jemisin (2015)

Jemisin became the first African American author to win the best novel category at the Hugo awards for her first book in the Broken Earth trilogy. In her intricate and richly imagined far future universe, the world is ending, ripped apart by relentless earthquakes and volcanoes. Against this apocalyptic backdrop she explores urgent questions of power and enslavement through the eyes of three women. “As this genre finally acknowledges that the dreams of the marginalised matter and that all of us have a future,” she said in her acceptance speech, “so will go the world. (Soon, I hope.)”

79. The Spirit Level

by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (2009)

An eye-opening study, based on overwhelming evidence, which revealed
that among rich countries, the “more equal societies almost always do
better” for all. Growth matters less than inequality, the authors
argued: whether the issue is life expectancy, infant mortality, crime
rates, obesity, literacy or recycling, the Scandinavian countries,
say, will always win out over, say, the UK.

80. Stories of Your Life and Others

by Ted Chiang (2002)

Melancholic and transcendent, Chiang’s eight, high-concept sci-fi stories exploring the nature of language, maths, religion and physics racked up numerous awards and a wider audience when ‘Story of Your Life’ was adapted into the 2016 film Arrival.

81. Harvest

by Jim Crace (2013)

Crace is fascinated by the moment when one era gives way to another. Here, it is the enclosure of the commons, a fulcrum of English history, that drives his story of dispossession and displacement. Set in a village without a name, the narrative dramatises what it’s like to see the world you know come to an end, in a severance of the connection between people and land that has deep relevance for our time of climate crisis and forced migration.

82. Coraline

by Neil Gaiman (2002)

From the Sandman comics to his fantasy epic American Gods to Twitter, Gaiman towers over the world of books. But this perfectly achieved children’s novella, in which a plucky young girl enters a parallel world where her “Other Mother” is a spooky copy of her real-life mum, with buttons for eyes, might be his finest hour: a properly scary modern myth which cuts right to the heart of childhood fears and desires.

83. Tell Me How It Ends

by Valeria Luiselli (2016), translated by Luiselli with Lizzie Davis (2017)

As the hysteria over immigration to the US began to build in 2015, the Mexican novelist volunteered to work as an interpreter in New York’s federal immigration court. In this powerful series of essays she tells the poignant stories of the children she met, situating them in the wider context of the troubled relationship between the Americas.

84. The Cost of Living

by Deborah Levy (2018)

Dazzling memoir … Deborah Levy.

“Chaos is supposed to be what we most fear but I have come to believe it might be what we most want … ” The second part of Levy’s “living memoir”, in which she leaves her marriage, is a fascinating companion piece to her deep yet playful novels. Feminism, mythology and the daily grind come together for a book that combines emotion and intellect to dazzling effect.

85. The God Delusion

by Richard Dawkins (2006)

A key text in the days when the “New Atheism” was much talked about, The God Delusion is a hard-hitting attack on religion, full of Dawkins’s confidence that faith produces fanatics and all arguments for God are ridiculous. What the evolutionary biologist lacks in philosophical sophistication, he makes up for in passion, and the book sold in huge numbers.

86. Adults in the Room

by Yanis Varoufakis (2017)

This memoir by the leather-jacketed economist of the six months he spent as Greece’s finance minister in 2015 at a time of economic and political crisis has been described as “one of the best political memoirs ever written”. He comes up against the IMF, the European institutions, Wall Street, billionaires and media owners and is told how the system works – as a result, his book is a telling description of modern power.

87. Priestdaddy

by Patricia Lockwood (2017)

This may not be the only account of living in a religious household in the American midwest (in her youth, the author joined a group called God’s Gang, where they spoke in tongues), but it is surely the funniest. The author started out as the “poet laureate of Twitter”; her language is brilliant, and she has a completely original mind.

88. Noughts & Crosses

by Malorie Blackman (2001)

Set in an alternative Britain, this groundbreaking piece of young adult fiction sees black people, called the Crosses, hold all the power and influence, while the noughts – white people – are marginalised and segregated. The former children’s laureate’s series is a crucial work for explaining racism to young readers.

89. Bad Blood

by Lorna Sage (2000)

A Whitbread prizewinning memoir, full of perfectly chosen phrases,
that is one of the best accounts of family dysfunction ever written.
Sage grew up with her grandparents, who hated each other: he was a drunken philandering vicar; his wife, having found his diaries,
blackmailed him and lived in another part of the house. The
author gets unwittingly pregnant at 16, yet the story has a happy
ending.

90. Visitation

by Jenny Erpenbeck (2008), translated by Susan Bernofsky (2010)

A grand house by a lake in the east of Germany is both the setting and main character of Erpenbeck’s third novel. The turbulent waves of 20th-century history crash over it as the house is sold by a Jewish family fleeing the Third Reich, requisitioned by the Russian army, reclaimed by exiles returning from Siberia, and sold again.

91. Light

by M John Harrison (2002)

One of the most underrated prose writers demonstrates the literary firepower of science fiction at its best. Three narrative strands – spanning far-future space opera, contemporary unease and virtual-reality pastiche – are braided together for a breathtaking metaphysical voyage in pursuit of the mystery at the heart of reality.

92. The Siege

by Helen Dunmore (2001)

The Levin family battle against starvation in this novel set during the German siege of Leningrad. Anna digs tank traps and dodges patrols as she scavenges for wood, but the hand of history is hard to escape.

93. darkmans

by Nicola Barker (2007)

British fiction’s most anarchic author is as prolific as she is playful, but this freewheeling, visionary epic set around the Thames Gateway is her magnum opus. Barker brings her customary linguistic invention and wild humour to a tale about history’s hold on the present, as contemporary Ashford is haunted by the spirit of a medieval jester.

94. The Tipping Point

by Malcolm Gladwell (2000)

The New Yorker staff writer examines phenomena from shoe sales to crime rates through the lens of epidemiology, reaching his own tipping point, when he became a rock-star intellectual and unleashed a wave of quirky studies of contemporary society. Two decades on, Gladwell is often accused of oversimplification and cherry picking, but his idiosyncratic bestsellers have helped shape 21st-century culture.

95. Chronicles: Volume One

by Bob Dylan (2004)

Dylan’s reticence about his personal life is a central part of the singer-songwriter’s brand, so the gaps and omissions in this memoir come as no surprise. The result is both sharp and dreamy, sliding in and out of different phases of Dylan’s career but rooted in his earliest days as a Woody Guthrie wannabe in New York City. Fans are still waiting for volume two.

96. A Little Life

by Only Yanagihara (2015)

This operatically harrowing American gay melodrama became an unlikely bestseller, and one of the most divisive novels of the century so far. One man’s life is blighted by abuse and its aftermath, but also illuminated by love and friendship. Some readers wept all night, some condemned it as titillating and exploitative, but no one could deny its power.

97. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

by JK Rowling (2000)

A generation grew up on Rowling’s all-conquering magical fantasies, but countless adults have also been enthralled by her immersive world. Book four, the first of the doorstoppers, marks the point where the series really takes off. The Triwizard Tournament provides pace and tension, and Rowling makes her boy wizard look death in the eye for the first time.

98. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

by Stieg Larsson (2005), translated by Steven T Murray (2008)

Radical journalist Mikael Blomkvist forms an unlikely alliance with troubled young hacker Lisbeth Salander as they follow a trail of murder and malfeasance connected with one of Sweden’s most powerful families in the first novel of the bestselling Millennium trilogy. The high-level intrigue beguiled millions of readers, brought “Scandi noir” to prominence and inspired innumerable copycats.

99. Broken Glass

by Alain Mabanckou (2005), translated by Helen Stevenson (2009)

The Congolese writer says he was “trying to break the French language” with Broken Glass – a black comedy told by a disgraced teacher without much in the way of full stops or paragraph breaks. As Mabanckou’s unreliable narrator munches his “bicycle chicken” and drinks his red wine, it becomes clear he has the history of Congo-Brazzaville and the whole of French literature in his sights.

100. I Feel Bad About My Neck

by Nora Ephron (2006)

Perhaps better known for her screenwriting (SilkwoodWhen Harry Met SallyHeartburn), Ephron’s brand of smart theatrical humour is on best display in her essays. Confiding and self-deprecating, she has a way of always managing to sound like your best friend – even when writing about her apartment on New York’s Upper West Side. This wildly enjoyable collection includes her droll observations about ageing, vanity – and a scorching appraisal of Bill Clinton.

 

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Sourcebest books of the 21st century

best books of the 21st century part 2

The 100 best books of the 21st century – part 2

 

36. Experience

by Martin Amis (2000)

Known for the firecracker phrases and broad satires of his fiction, Amis presented a much warmer face in his memoir. His life is haunted by the disappearance of his cousin Lucy, who is revealed 20 years later to have been murdered by Fred West. But Amis also has much fun recollecting his “velvet-suited, snakeskin-booted” youth, and paints a moving portrait of his father’s comic gusto as old age reduces him to a kind of “anti-Kingsley”.

37. The Green Road

by Anne Enright (2015)

A reunion dominates the Irish novelist’s family drama, but the individual stories of the five members of the Madigan clan – the matriarch, Rosaleen, and her children, Dan, Emmet, Constance and Hanna, who escape and are bound to return – are beautifully held in balance. When the Madigans do finally come together halfway through the book, Enright masterfully reminds us of the weight of history and family.

38. The Line of Beauty

by Alan Hollinghurst (2004)

Oxford graduate Nick Guest has the questionable good fortune of moving into the grand west London home of a rising Tory MP. Thatcher-era degeneracy is lavishly displayed as Nick falls in love with the son of a supermarket magnate, and the novel records how Aids began to poison gay life in London. In peerless prose, Hollinghurst captures something close to the spirit of an age.

39. White Teeth

by Zadie Smith (2000)

Set around the unlikely bond between two wartime friends, Smith’s debut brilliantly captures Britain’s multicultural spirit, and offers a compelling insight into immigrant family life.

40. The Year of Magical Thinking

by Joan Didion (2005)

With cold, clear, precise prose, Didion gives an account of the year her husband, the writer John Gregory Dunne, collapsed from a fatal heart attack in their home. Her devastating examination of grief and widowhood changed the nature of writing about bereavement.

41. Atonement

by Ian McEwan (2001)

There are echoes of DH Lawrence and EM Forster in McEwan’s finely tuned dissection of memory and guilt. The fates of three young people are altered by a young girl’s lie at the close of a sweltering day on a country estate in 1935. Lifelong remorse, the horror of war and devastating twists are to follow in an elegant, deeply felt meditation on the power of love and art.

42. Moneyball

by Michael Lewis (2010)

The author of The Big Short has made a career out of rendering the most opaque subject matter entertaining and comprehensible: Moneyball tells the story of how geeks outsmarted jocks to revolutionise baseball using maths. But you do not need to know or care about the sport, because – as with all Lewis’s best writing – it’s all about how the story is told.

43. Citizen: An American Lyric

by Claudia Rankine (2014)

From the slow emergency response in the black suburbs destroyed by hurricane Katrina to a mother trying to move her daughter away from a black passenger on a plane, the poet’s award-winning prose work confronts the history of racism in the US and asks: regardless of their actual status, who truly gets to be a citizen?

44. Hope in the Dark

by Rebecca Solnit (2004)

Writing against “the tremendous despair at the height of the Bush administration’s powers and the outset of the war in Iraq”, the US thinker finds optimism in political activism and its ability to change the world. The book ranges widely from the fall of the Berlin wall to the Zapatista uprising in Mexico, to the invention of Viagra.

45. Levels of Life

by Julian Barnes (2013)

The British novelist combines fiction and non-fiction to form a searing essay on grief and love for his late wife, the literary agent Pat Kavanagh. Barnes divides the book into three parts with disparate themes – 19th-century ballooning, photography and marriage. Their convergence is wonderfully achieved.

46. Human Chain

by Seamus Heaney (2010)

The Nobel laureate tends to the fragments of memory and loss with moving precision in his final poetry collection. A book of elegies and echoes, these poems are infused with a haunting sense of pathos, with a line often left hanging to suspend the reader in longing and regret.

47. Persepolis

by Marjane Satrapi (2000-2003), translated by Mattias Ripa (2003-2004)

Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel follows her coming-of-age in the lead up to and during the Iranian revolution. In this riotous memoir, Satrapi focuses on one young life to reveal a hidden history.

48. Night Watch

by Terry Pratchett (2002)

Pratchett’s mighty Discworld series is a high point in modern fiction: a parody of fantasy literature that deepened and darkened over the decades to create incisive satires of our own world. The 29th book, focusing on unlikely heroes, displays all his fierce intelligence, anger and wild humour, in a story that’s moral, humane – and hilarious.

49. Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

by Jeanette Winterson (2011)

The title is the question Winterson’s adoptive mother asked as she threw her daughter out, aged 16, for having a girlfriend. The autobiographical story behind Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, and the trials of Winterson’s later life, is urgent, wise and moving.

50. Oryx and Crake

by Margaret Atwood (2003)

In the first book in her dystopian MaddAddam trilogy, the Booker winner speculates about the havoc science can wreak on the world. The big warning here – don’t trust corporations to run the planet – is blaring louder and louder as the century progresses.

51. Brooklyn

by Colm Tóibín (2009)

Tóibín’s sixth novel is set in the 1950s, when more than 400,000 people left Ireland, and considers the emotional and existential impact of emigration on one young woman. Eilis makes a life for herself in New York, but is drawn back by the possibilities of the life she has lost at home. A universal story of love, endurance and missed chances, made radiant through Tóibín’s measured prose and tender understatement.

52. Small Island

by Andrea Levy (2004)

Pitted against a backdrop of prejudice, this London-set novel is told by four protagonists – Hortense and Gilbert, Jamaican migrants, and a stereotypically English couple, Queenie and Bernard. These varied perspectives, illuminated by love and loyalty, combine to create a thoughtful mosaic depicting the complex beginnings of Britain’s multicultural society.

53. True History of the Kelly Gang

by Peter Carey (2000)

Carey’s second Booker winner is an irresistible tour de force of literary ventriloquism: the supposed autobiography of 19th-century Australian outlaw and “wild colonial boy” Ned Kelly, inspired by a fragment of Kelly’s own prose and written as a glorious rush of semi-punctuated vernacular storytelling. Mythic and tender by turns, these are tall tales from a lost frontier.

54. Women & Power

by Mary Beard (2017)

Based on Beard’s lectures on women’s voices and how they have been silenced, Women and Power was an enormous publishing success in the “#MeToo”’ year 2017. An exploration of misogyny, the origins of “gendered speech” in the classical era and the problems the male world has with strong women, this slim manifesto became an instant feminist classic.

55. The Omnivore’s Dilemma

by Michael Pollan (2006)

An entertaining and highly influential book from the writer best known for his advice: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” The author follows four meals on their journey from field to plate – including one from McDonald’s and a locally sourced organic feast. Pollan is a skilled, amusing storyteller and The Omnivore’s Dilemma changed both food writing and the way we see food.

56. Wonderland

by Robert Macfarlane (2019)

A beautifully written and profound book, which takes the form of a
series of (often hair-raising and claustrophobic) voyages underground
– from the fjords of the Arctic to the Parisian catacombs. Trips below
the surface inspire reflections on “deep” geological time and raise
urgent questions about the human impact on planet Earth.

57. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

by Michael Chabon (2000)

A love story to the golden age of comics in New York, Chabon’s Pulitzer-winner features two Jewish cousins, one smuggled out of occupied Prague, who create an anti-fascist comic book superhero called The Escapist. Their own adventures are as exciting and highly coloured as the ones they write and draw in this generous, open-hearted, deeply lovable rollercoaster of a book.

58. Postwar

by Tony Judt (2005)

This grand survey of Europe since 1945 begins with the devastation left behind by the second world war and offers a panoramic narrative of the cold war from its beginnings to the collapse of the Soviet bloc – a part of which Judt witnessed firsthand in Czechoslovakia’s velvet revolution. A very complex story is told with page-turning urgency and what may now be read as nostalgic faith in “the European idea”.

59. The Beauty of the Husband

by Anne Carson (2002)

One of Canada’s most celebrated poets examines love and desire in a collection that describes itself as “a fictional essay in 39 tangos”. Carson charts the course of a doomed marriage in loose-limbed lines that follow the switchbacks of thought and feeling from first meeting through multiple infidelities to arrive at eventual divorce.

60. Dart

by Alice Oswald (2002)

This book-length poem is a mesmerising tapestry of “the river’s mutterings”, based on three years of recording conversations with people who live and work on the River Dart in Devon. From swimmers to sewage workers, boatbuilders to bailiffs, salmon fishers to ferryman, the voices are varied and vividly brought to life.

61. This House of Grief

by Helen Garner (2014)

A man drives his three sons into a deep pond and swims out, leaving them to drown. But was it an accident? This 2005 tragedy caught the attention of one of Australia’s greatest living writers. Garner puts herself centre stage in an account of Robert Farquharson’s trial that combines forensic detail and rich humanity.

62. Mother’s Milk

by Edward St Aubyn (2006)

The fourth of the autobiographical Patrick Melrose novels finds the wealthy protagonist – whose flight from atrocious memories of child abuse into drug abuse was the focus of the first books – beginning to grope after redemption. Elegant wit and subtle psychology lift grim subject matter into seductive brilliance.

63. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

by Rebecca Skloot (2010)

Henrietta Lacks was a black American who died in agony of cancer in a “coloured” hospital ward in 1951. Her cells, taken without her knowledge during a biopsy, went on to change medical history, being used around the world to develop countless drugs. Skloot skilfully tells the extraordinary scientific story, but in this book the voices of the Lacks children are crucial – they have struggled desperately even as billions have been made from their mother’s “HeLa” cells.

64. On Writing

by Stephen King (2000)

Written after a near-fatal accident, this combination of memoir and masterclass by fiction’s most successful modern storyteller showcases the blunt, casual brilliance of King at his best. As well as being genuinely useful, it’s a fascinating chronicle of literary persistence, and of a lifelong love affair with language and narrative.

65. Gone Girl

by Gillian Flynn (2012)

The deliciously dark US crime thriller that launched a thousand imitators and took the concept of the unreliable narrator to new heights. A woman disappears: we think we know whodunit, but we’re wrong. Flynn’s stylishly written portrait of a toxic marriage set against a backdrop of social and economic insecurity combines psychological depth with sheer unputdownable flair.

66. Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

by Carlo Rovelli (2014)

A theoretical physicist opens a window on to the great questions of the universe with this 96-page overview of modern physics. Rovelli’s keen insight and striking metaphors make this the best introduction to subjects including relativity, quantum mechanics, cosmology, elementary particles and entropy outside of a course in advanced physics.

67. The Silence of the Girls

by Pat Barker (2018)

If the western literary canon is founded on Homer, then it is founded on women’s silence. Barker’s extraordinary intervention, in which she replays the events of the Iliad from the point of view of the enslaved Trojan women, chimed with both the #MeToo movement and a wider drive to foreground suppressed voices. In a world still at war, it has chilling contemporary resonance.

68. The Constant Gardener

by John le Carré (2001)

The master of the cold war thriller turned his attention to the new world order in this chilling investigation into the corruption powering big pharma in Africa. Based on the case of a rogue antibiotics trial that killed and maimed children in Nigeria in the 1990s, it has all the dash and authority of his earlier novels while precisely and presciently anatomising the dangers of a rampant neo-imperialist capitalism.

69. The Infatuations

by Javier Marías (2011), translated by Margaret Jull Costa (2013)

The Spanish master examines chance, love and death in the story of an apparently random killing that gradually reveals hidden depths. Marías constructs an elegant murder mystery from his trademark labyrinthine sentences, but this investigation is in pursuit of much meatier questions than whodunnit.

70. Notes on a Scandal

by Zoë Heller (2003)

Sheba, a middle-aged teacher at a London comprehensive, begins an affair with her 15-year-old student – but we hear about it from a fellow teacher, the needy Barbara, whose obsessive nature drives the narrative. With shades of Patricia Highsmith, this teasing investigation into sex, class and loneliness is a dark marvel.

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Sourcebest books of the 21st century

best books of the 21st century part 1

The 100 best books of the 21st century – part 1

First. Wolf Hall

by Hilary Mantel (2009)

Mantel had been publishing for a quarter century before the project that made her a phenomenon, set to be concluded with the third part of the trilogy, The Mirror and the Light, next March. To read her story of the rise of Thomas Cromwell at the Tudor court, detailing the making of a new England and the self-creation of a new kind of man, is to step into the stream of her irresistibly authoritative present tense and find oneself looking out from behind her hero’s eyes. The surface details are sensuously, vividly immediate, the language as fresh as new paint; but her exploration of power, fate and fortune is also deeply considered and constantly in dialogue with our own era, as we are shaped and created by the past. In this book we have, as she intended, “a sense of history listening and talking to itself”.

2. Gilead

by Marilynne Robinson (2004)

Robinson’s meditative, deeply philosophical novel is told through letters written by elderly preacher John Ames in the 1950s to his young son who, when he finally reaches an adulthood his father won’t see, will at least have this posthumous one-sided conversation: “While you read this, I am imperishable, somehow more alive than I have ever been.” This is a book about legacy, a record of a pocket of America that will never return, a reminder of the heartbreaking, ephemeral beauty that can be found in everyday life. As Ames concludes, to his son and himself: “There are a thousand thousand reasons to live this life, every one of them sufficient.”

3. Secondhand Time

by Svetlana Alexievich (2013), translated by Bela Shayevich (2016)

The Belarusian Nobel laureate recorded thousands of hours of testimony from ordinary people to create this oral history of the Soviet Union and its end. Writers, waiters, doctors, soldiers, former Kremlin apparatchiks, gulag survivors: all are given space to tell their stories, share their anger and betrayal, and voice their worries about the transition to capitalism. An unforgettable book, which is both an act of catharsis and a profound demonstration of empathy.

4. Never Let Me Go

by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005)

From his 1989 Booker winner The Remains of the Day to 2015’s The Buried Giant, Nobel laureate Ishiguro writes profound, puzzling allegories about history, nationalism and the individual’s place in a world that is always beyond our understanding. His sixth novel, a love triangle set among human clones in an alternative 1990s England, brings exquisite understatement to its exploration of mortality, loss and what it means to be human.

5. Austerlitz

by WG Sebald (2001), translated by Anthea Bell (2001)

Sebald died in a car crash in 2001, but his genre-defying mix of fact and fiction, keen sense of the moral weight of history and interleaving of inner and outer journeys have had a huge influence on the contemporary literary landscape. His final work, the typically allusive life story of one man, charts the Jewish disapora and lost 20th century with heartbreaking power.

6. The Amber Spyglass

by Philip Pullman (2000)

Children’s fiction came of age when the final part of Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy became the first book for younger readers to win the Whitbread book of the year award. Pullman has brought imaginative fire and storytelling bravado to the weightiest of subjects: religion, free will, totalitarian structures and the human drive to learn, rebel and grow. Here Asriel’s struggle against the Authority reaches its climax, Lyra and Will journey to the Land of the Dead, and Mary investigates the mysterious elementary particles that lend their name to his current trilogy: The Book of Dust. The Hollywood-fuelled commercial success achieved by JK Rowling may have eluded Pullman so far, but his sophisticated reworking of Paradise Lost helped adult readers throw off any embarrassment at enjoying fiction written for children – and publishing has never looked back.

7. Between the World and Me

by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015)

Coates’s impassioned meditation on what it means to be a black American today made him one of the country’s most important intellectuals and writers. Having grown up the son of a former Black Panther on the violent streets of Baltimore, he has a voice that is challenging but also poetic. Between the World and Me takes the form of a letter to his teenage son, and ranges from the daily reality of racial injustice and police violence to the history of slavery and the civil war: white people, he writes, will never remember “the scale of theft that enriched them”.

8. Autumn

by Ali Smith (2016)

Smith began writing her Seasonal Quartet, a still-ongoing experiment in quickfire publishing, against the background of the EU referendum. The resulting “first Brexit novel” isn’t just a snapshot of a newly divided Britain, but a dazzling exploration into love and art, time and dreams, life and death, all done with her customary invention and wit.

9. Cloud Atlas

David Mitchell (2004)

The epic that made Mitchell’s name is a Russian doll of a book, nesting stories within stories and spanning centuries and genres with aplomb. From a 19th-century seafarer to a tale from beyond the end of civilisation, via 1970s nuclear intrigue and the testimony of a future clone, these dizzying narratives are delicately interlinked, highlighting the echoes and recurrences of the vast human symphony.

10. Half of a Yellow Sun

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2006)

When Nigerian author Adichie was growing up, the Biafran war “hovered over everything”. Her sweeping, evocative novel, which won the Orange prize, charts the political and personal struggles of those caught up in the conflict and explores the brutal legacy of colonialism in Africa.

11. My Brilliant Friend

by Elena Ferrante (2011), translated by Ann Goldstein (2012)

Powerfully intimate and unashamedly domestic, the first in Ferrante’s Neapolitan series established her as a literary sensation. This and the three novels that followed documented the ways misogyny and violence could determine lives, as well as the history of Italy in the late 20th century.

12. The Plot Against America

by Philip Roth (2004)

What if aviator Charles Lindbergh, who once called Hitler “a great man”, had won the US presidency in a landslide victory and signed a treaty with Nazi Germany? Paranoid yet plausible, Roth’s alternative-world novel is only more relevant in the age of Trump.

13. Nickel and Dimed

by Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)

In this modern classic of reportage, Ehrenreich chronicled her attempts to live on the minimum wage in three American states. Working first as a waitress, then a cleaner and a nursing home aide, she still struggled to survive, and the stories of her co-workers are shocking. The US economy as she experienced it is full of routine humiliation, with demands as high as the rewards are low. Two decades on, this still reads like urgent news.

14. Fingersmith

by Sarah Waters (2002)

Moving from the underworld dens of Victorian London to the boudoirs of country house gothic, and hingeing on the seduction of an heiress, Waters’s third novel is a drippingly atmospheric thriller, a smart study of innocence and experience, and a sensuous lesbian love story – with a plot twist to make the reader gasp.

15. The Sixth Extinction

by Elizabeth Kolbert (2014)

The science journalist examines with clarity and memorable detail the current crisis of plant and animal loss caused by human civilisation (over the past half billion years, there have been five mass extinctions on Earth; we are causing another). Kolbert considers both ecosystems – the Great Barrier Reef, the Amazon rainforest – and the lives of some extinct and soon-to-be extinct creatures including the Sumatran rhino and “the most beautiful bird in the world”, the black-faced honeycreeper of Maui.

16. The Corrections

by Jonathan Franzen (2001)

The members of one ordinarily unhappy American family struggle to adjust to the shifting axes of their worlds over the final decades of the 20th century. Franzen’s move into realism reaped huge literary rewards: exploring both domestic and national conflict, this family saga is clever, funny and outrageously readable.

17. The Road

by Cormac McCarthy (2006)

A father and his young son, “each the other’s world entire”, trawl across the ruins of post-apocalyptic America in this terrifying but tender story told with biblical conviction. The slide into savagery as civilisation collapses is harrowing material, but McCarthy’s metaphysical efforts to imagine a cold dark universe where the light of humanity is winking out are what make the novel such a powerful ecological warning.

18. The Shock Doctrine

by Naomi Klein (2007)

In this urgent examination of free-market fundamentalism, Klein argues – with accompanying reportage – that the social breakdowns witnessed during decades of neoliberal economic policies are not accidental, but in fact integral to the functioning of the free market, which relies on disaster and human suffering to function.

19. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night‑Time

by Mark Haddon (2003)

Fifteen-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone becomes absorbed in the mystery of a dog’s demise, meticulously investigating through diagrams, timetables, maps and maths problems. Haddon’s fascinating portrayal of an unconventional mind was a crossover hit with both adults and children and was adapted into a very successful stage play.

20. Life After Life

by Kate Atkinson (2013)

Atkinson examines family, history and the power of fiction as she tells the story of a woman born in 1910 – and then tells it again, and again, and again. Ursula Todd’s multiple lives see her strangled at birth, drowned on a Cornish beach, trapped in an awful marriage and visiting Adolf Hitler at Berchtesgaden. But this dizzying fictional construction is grounded by such emotional intelligence that her heroine’s struggles always feel painfully, joyously real.

21. Sapiens

by Yuval Noah Harari (2011), translated by Harari with John Purcell and Haim Watzman (2014)

In his Olympian history of humanity, Harari documents the numerous revolutions Homo sapiens has undergone over the last 70,000 years: from new leaps in cognitive reasoning to agriculture, science and industry, the era of information and the possibilities of biotechnology. Harari’s scope may be too wide for some, but this engaging work topped the charts and made millions marvel.

22. Tenth of December

by George Saunders (2013)

This warm yet biting collection of short stories by the Booker-winning American author will restore your faith in humanity. No matter how weird the setting – a futuristic prison lab, a middle-class home where human lawn ornaments are employed as a status symbol – in these surreal satires of post-crash life Saunders reminds us of the meaning we find in small moments.

23. The Noonday Demon

by Andrew Solomon (2001)

Emerging from Solomon’s own painful experience, this “anatomy” of depression examines its many faces – plus its science, sociology and treatment. The book’s combination of honesty, scholarly rigour and poetry made it a benchmark in literary memoir and understanding of mental health.

24. A Visit from The Goon Squad

by Jennifer Egan (2011)

Inspired by both Proust and The Sopranos, Egan’s Pulitzer-winning comedy follows several characters in and around the US music industry, but is really a book about memory and kinship, time and narrative, continuity and disconnection.

25. Normal People

by Sally Rooney (2018)

Rooney’s second novel, a love story between two clever and damaged young people coming of age in contemporary Ireland, confirmed her status as a literary superstar. Her focus is on the dislocation and uncertainty of millennial life, but her elegant prose has universal appeal.

26. Capital in the Twenty First Century

by Thomas Piketty (2013), translated by Arthur Goldhammer (2014)

The beautifully written product of 15 years of research, Capital made its author an intellectual star – the modern Marx – and opened readers’ eyes to how neoliberalism produces vastly increased inequalities. Full of data, theories and historical analysis, its message is clear, and prophetic: unless governments increase tax, the new and grotesque wealth levels of the rich will encourage political instability.

27. Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage

by Alice Munro (2001)

Canada’s observant and humane short story writer, who won the Nobel in 2013, is at her best in this collection. A housekeeper’s fate is changed by the pranks of her employer’s teenager daughter; an incorrigible flirt gracefully accepts his wife’s new romance in her care home. No character acts as at first expected in Munro’s stories, which are attuned to the tiniest shifts in perception.

28. Rapture

by Carol Ann Duffy (2005)

A moving, book-length poem from the UK’s first female poet laureate, Rapture won the TS Eliot prize in 2005. From falling in love to betrayal and separation, Duffy reimagines romance with refreshing originality.

29. A Death in the Family

by Karl Ove Knausgaard (2009), translated by Don Bartlett (2012)

The first instalment of Knausgaard’s relentlessly self-examining six-volume series My Struggle revolves around the life and death of his alcoholic father. Whether or not you regard him as the Proust of memoir, his compulsive honesty created a new benchmark for autofiction.

30. The Underground Railroad

by Colson Whitehead (2016)

A thrilling, genre-bending tale of escape from slavery in the American deep south, this Pulitzer prize-winner combines extraordinary prose and uncomfortable truths. Two slaves flee their masters using the underground railroad, the network of abolitionists who helped slaves out of the south, wonderfully reimagined by Whitehead as a steampunk vision of a literal train.

31. The Argonauts

by Maggie Nelson (2015)

An electrifying memoir that captured a moment in thinking about gender, and also changed the world of books. The story, told in fragments, is of Nelson’s pregnancy, which unfolds at the same time as her partner, the artist Harry Dodge, is beginning testosterone injections: “the summer of our changing bodies”. Strikingly honest, originally written, with a galaxy of intellectual reference points, it is essentially a love story; one that seems to make a new way of living possible.

32. The Emperor of All Maladies

by Siddhartha Mukherjee (2010)

“Normal cells are identically normal; malignant cells become unhappily malignant in unique ways.” In adapting the opening lines of Anna Karenina, Mukherjee sets out the breathtaking ambition of his study of cancer: not only to share the knowledge of a practising oncologist but to take his readers on a literary and historical journey.

33. Fun Home

by Alison Bechdel (2006)

The American cartoonist’s darkly humorous memoir tells the story of how her closeted gay father killed himself a few months after she came out as a lesbian. This pioneering work, which later became a musical, helped shape the modern genre of “graphic memoir”, combining detailed and beautiful panels with remarkable emotional depth.

34. Outline by Rachel

Cusk (2014)

This startling work of autofiction, which signalled a new direction for Cusk, follows an author teaching a creative writing course over one hot summer in Athens. She leads storytelling exercises. She meets other writers for dinner. She hears from other people about relationships, ambition, solitude, intimacy and “the disgust that exists indelibly between men and women”. The end result is sublime.

35. The Hare with Amber Eyes

by Edmund de Waal (2010)

In this exquisite family memoir, the ceramicist explains how he came to inherit a collection of 264 netsuke – small Japanese ornaments – from his great-uncle. The unlikely survival of the netsuke entails De Waal telling a story that moves from Paris to Austria under the Nazis to Japan, and he beautifully conjures a sense of place. The book doubles as a set of profound reflections on objects and what they mean to us.

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Source: best books of the 21st century

Canadian Woman Studies

Canadian Woman Studies

An Introductory Reader, 3rd Edition

Edited by Brenda Cranney, Sheila Molloy

Canadian Woman Studies: An Introductory Reader, 3rd Revised and Updated Edition, brings together articles on themes and topics at the forefront of feminist inquiry and research. Compiled of articles previously published in one of Canada’s oldest feminist journals, Canadian Woman Studies/les cahiers de la femme (CWS/cf), it offers a unique and historical perspective of feminism as well as provides an excellent introduction to feminist thought in Canada.

This volume has been revised and updated to consider some of the changes that we have witnessed in Canada and elsewhere in the world since the publication of the best-selling first edition in 1999, and second edition in 2006. Recognizing the growing significance of Canadian feminist scholarship, this revised and updated third edition aims to situate Canada within a broader, transnational context. Contents of the third edition, like the second edition, were determined through extensive consultations with university professors using the second edition in their classes. Articles consider the regional, urban, rural, linguistic, demographic and ethnic differences within the nation, as well as the ways women in Canada are impacted by various global factors. Sections include: Feminist Perspectives; Herstories; Work/Economy; Policy; Violence; Representation; Health; Activism and Resistance.

Contents

Acknowledgements

Preface by Andrea O’Reilly

Introduction by Brenda Cranney and Sheila Molloy

Section I: Feminist Perspectives

1 From Riot Grrrl to Radical: Reflections from a Working-Class Feminist by Gina Whitfield

2 Feminism & Multiculturalism in Quebec: An / Other Perspective by Dolores Chew

3 Gender-Based Analysis and Differing Worldviews by Cynthia D. Stirbys

4 Teaching Sexual Assault: The Education of Canadian Law Students by Rosemary Carins Way and Daphne Gilbert

5 Does Yes Mean Yes? Exploring Sexual Coercion in Normative Heterosexuality by Hedda Hakvåg

6 Alternative Altars: Beyond Patriarchy and Priesthood and Towards Inclusive Spirituality, Governance and Activism Among Catholic Women Religious in Ontario by Christine Gervais

7 Reclaiming Our Spirituality: A Pedagogical Tool for Feminism and Activism by Njoki Nathani Wane

Section II: Herstories

1 It’s Time for Change! The World March of Women 2000 by Pam Kapoor

2 Women’s Words: Power, Identity and Indigenous Sovereignty by Patricia A. Monture

3 Remaking Waves: The Québec Women’s Movement in the 1950s and1960s by Cheryl Gosselin

4 Troubling Herstory: Unsettling White Multiculturalism in Canadian Feminism by Mary-Jo Nadeau

5 “We’re Here, Standing at the Shoreline”: Sylvia Hamilton’s Intervention in the Nova Scotian Discourse of Belonging and Multicultural Citizenship by Sharon Morgan Beckford

“Los Desaparecidos”: The Madres of the Plaza de Mayo and the Reframing of the Victims by H. M. Fraser

7 What Women Need Now from Police and Prosecutors: 35 Years of Working to Improve the Police Response for Women Escaping Male Violence by Louisa Russell

8 Creating Trialogue: Women’s Constitutional Activism in Canada (or ACT) by Marilou McPhedran

9 The Canadian Disabled Women’s Movement: From Where Have We Come (possible to update) by Pat Israel and Fra Odette

Section III: Work/Economy

1 “With the Appropriate Qualifications”: Aboriginal People and Employment Equity by Patti Doyle-Bedwell

2 Organizing on the “Factory of Wheels”: The Bus Riders’ Union and Anti-Racist Feminism for the 21st Century by Fiona Jeffries

3 On Being A Feminist Farmer by Jennifer deGroot

4 Strangers in an Estranged World: Two Radical Feminists in the Academy by Geneviéve Pagé and Ève-Marie Lampron

5 Dueling for Dollars: Feminist Activism and Minimum Wage Coalition Politics by Joan Grace

Section IV: Policy

1 Women and the Canadian Legal System: Examining Situations of Hyper-Responsibility by CAEFS / NWAC

2 Welfare Policy: A Critical Site of Struggle for Women’s Safety by Janet Mosher and Pat Evans

3 Why Women Still Ain’t Satisfied: Politics and Activism in Canadian Child Care, 2006 by Martha Friendly

4 Arbitration and Family Laws: Muslim Women Campaign to Eliminate the Use of Religious Laws in Legally-Binding Arbitration by Alia Hogben

5 Consent and Coercion in the Law of Rape in South Africa: A Feminist Transformative Approach by Shereen W. Mills

6 Response to Canada’s Apology to Residential School Survivors by Beverley Jacobs

Section V: Violence

1 Commemoration for the Montreal Massacre Victims by Ursula Franklin

2 Breaking the Silence: Reclaiming Qur’anic Interpretations as a Tool for Empowerment and Liberatory Praxis for Dealing with Domestic Violence in Canadian Muslim Communities by Sabra Desai and Zehra Haffajee

3 Moving Beyond Rape as a “Weapon of War”: An Exploration of Militarized Masculinity and its Consequences by Caitlin Maxwell

4 Stolen Sisters: A Human Rights Response to Discrimination and Violence Against Indigenous Women in Canada by Amnesty International

5 Violence Against the Women of Juárez by María Guadalupe Morfín Otero

6 Homophobic Sexist Violence in Canada: Trends in the Experiences of Lesbian and Bisexual Women in Canada by Ellen Faulkner

Section VI: Representation

1 Erasing Race: The Story of Reena Virk by Yasmin Jiwani

2 Aiming for Better Than “Nobody Flinched”: Notes on Oppression in Cancer Care by Christine Sinding, Lisa Barnoff, Patti McGillicuddy, Pam Grassau, and Fran Odette

3 Simpering Outrage During an “Epidemic” of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome by Caroline L. Tait

4 The Role of Montréal’s Dykes on Mykes Radio Show by Marie-Clair MacPhee and Mél Hogan

5 Nunavut: Whose Homeland, Whose Voices? by Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez

6 N’tacinowin inna nah’: Our Coming In Stories by Alex Wilson

7 No Woman Left Covered: Unveiling and  the Politics of Liberation in Multi/interculturalism by Tanisha Ramachandran

Section VII: Health

1 Feminist Perspectives on Breast Cancer, Environment Health and Primary Prevention: The Case for the Precautionary Principle by Dorothy Goldin Rosenberg

2 “It’s Your Body But…”:  Young Women’s Narratives of Refusing Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination by Francesca Mancuso and Jessica Polzer

3 Traditional Healing and Spirituality among Grenadian Women: A Source of Resistance and Empowerment by Patsy Sutherland

4 Notokwe Opikiheet—“Old Lady Raised”: Aboriginal Women’s Reflections on Ethics and Methodologies in Health by Kim Anderson

Section VIII: Activism and Resistance

1 Wa(i)ving Solidarity: Feminist Activists Confronting Backlash by Victoria Bromley and Aalya Ahmad

2 Advocacy, Activism and Social Change for Women in Prison by Kim Pate

3 Out of Canada: The Pedagogy of Transnational Feminist Activism by Debbie Lunny

4 The Feminist Pacifist and  Antimilitant Movement in Colombia: The Experience of la Ruta Pacífica de las Mujeres by Diana Maria Montealegre M.

¡Escuche Las Krudas! Raw, Feminist Rap Music from Havana by Talia Wooldridge

6 Local Activism, Global Feminisms & the Struggle Against Globalization by Angela Miles

About the Authors

Brenda Cranney has a Ph.D. in in Sociology from York University and has worked extensively on a variety of women’s issues with numerous NGOs in Canada and India. A scholar, activist, and photographer, she continues to be active in a number of women’s organization and has taught at York University, George Brown and Humber College. She is the author of Local Environment and Lived Experience: The Mountain Women of Himachal Pradesh.

Sheila Molloy has been interested in international feminist issues for many years. She has been involved in women’s centres in her neighbourhood, and has a background in public and intergovernmental organizations in the area of education. She speaks and reads English and

French, having worked in bilingual environments. She is a long-time supporter of women and a feminist and is an active member of Women for a Just and Healthy Planet.

Flight and Freedom

Flight and Freedom

Stories of Escape to Canada

Ratna Omidvar , Dana Wagner

The global number of people currently displaced from their home country—more than 50 million—is higher than at any time since World War II. Yet in recent years Canada has deported, denied, and diverted countless refugees. Is Canada a safe haven for refugees or a closed door?

In Flight and Freedom, Ratna Omidvar and Dana Wagner present a collection of thirty astonishing interviews with refugees, their descendants, or their loved ones to document their extraordinary, and sometimes harrowing, journeys of flight. The stories span two centuries of refugee experiences in Canada: from the War of 1812—where an escaped slave and her infant daughter flee the United States to start a new life in Halifax—to the War in Afghanistan—where asylum seekers collide with state scrutiny and face the challenges of resettlement.

Contents

Preface

Ratna Omidvar

Acknowledgements

Abbreviations

Introduction–Alan Broadbent

Who Is a Refugee?

1 Adeline Oliver, United States

2 Mampre Shirinian, Ottoman Empire (Turkey)

3 Loly Rico, El Salvador

4 Ken (Khanh) Do, Vietnam

5 Hodan Ali, Somalia

6 Claudio Duran, Chile

7 Rabbi Erwin Schild, Germany

8 Randy Singh, Guyana

9 Marguerite Nyandwi, Burundi

10 Andrew Hidi, Hungary

11 Sorpong Peou, Cambodia

12 Tarun, Sri Lanka

13 Yodit Negusse, Ethiopia

14 Bottles of Bouphaphanh, Laos

15 Zafar Iravan, Iran

16 Samnang It Cambodia

17 Marko, Bosnia and Herzegovina

18 Iren Hessami Koltermann, Iran

19 Anwar Arkani, Myanmar

20 Elvis, Namibia

21 Humaira, Afghanistan

22 Joseph, Sierra Leone

23 Christine, Rwanda

24 Mie Tha Lah, Myanmar

25 Max Farber, Poland

26 Shabnam, Afghanistan

27 Robi Botos, Hungary

28 Karim Teja, Uganda

29 Avtar Sandhu, India

30 Sabreen, Israel

Then and Now: Would They Get In Today?–Peter Showler

About the Authors

Ratna Omidvar was born in India. She moved to Iran in 1975 to start life there with her Iranian partner. In 1981 she and her family (including an infant daughter) fled Iran and found a new home in Canada. Her own experience of flight to freedom have been the foundation of her work. She has focused on articulating pathways to inclusion for immigrants and visible minorities in host societies, both in Canada and globally. Ratna is both a Member of the Order of Canada and Order of Ontario.

Dana Wagner is Senior Research Associate at the Global Diversity Exchange leading the Hire Immigrants and Flight and Freedom programs. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, the Globe and Mail, and The National Post. She blogs for The Huffington Post.

Decolonizing Education: Nourishing the Learning Spirit

Decolonizing Education: Nourishing the Learning Spirit

Drawing on treaties, international law, the work of other Indigenous scholars, and especially personal experiences, Marie Battiste documents the nature of Eurocentric models of education, and their devastating impacts on Indigenous knowledge. Chronicling the negative consequences of forced assimilation and the failure of current educational policies to bolster the social and economic conditions of Aboriginal populations, Battiste proposes a new model of education. She argues that the preservation of Aboriginal knowledge is an Aboriginal right and a right preserved by the many treaties with First Nations. Current educational policies must undergo substantive reform. Central to this process is the rejection of the racism inherent to colonial systems of education, and the repositioning of Indigenous humanities, sciences, and languages as vital fields of knowledge. Battiste suggests the urgency for this reform lies in the social, technological, and economic challenges facing society today, and the need for a revitalized knowledge system which incorporates both Indigenous and Eurocentric thinking. The new model she advocates is based on her experiences growing up in a Mi’kmaw community, and the decades she has spent as a teacher, activist, and university scholar.

Contents

Foreword by Rita Bouvier

Chapter 1
Introduction

Chapter 2
The Legacy of Forced Assimilative Education for Indigenous Peoples

Chapter 3
Mi’kmaw Education: Roots and Routes
Blending Mi’kmaw knowledge with Catholic knowledge
Nova Scotia’s Intervention in Mi’kmaw Education
Canada’s Intervention
1. Planting Out
2. Indian Residential Schools
3. Centralization Policy
4. Fiscal Transfers from Canada to Provinces
5. White Paper Policy on Equality
6. Indian Control of Indian Education Policy
7. Canada’s Apology

Chapter 4
Creating the Indigenous Renaissance
Collaborative Conscientization
Indigenous Methodologies
Constitutional Reconciliation
Establishing Transformative Principles in UN Law
1. International Labour Organization Convention 169, Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (1989)
2. UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007)
Mi’kmaw Reform of Education
1. Mi’kmawey School: Bilingual Education
2. Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey
3. Mi’kmaw Immersion
The Blessed New Stories

Chapter 5
Animating Ethical Trans-Systemic Education Systems
Generating an Ethical Space for Decolonization
Decolonizing the Humanities
Decolonizing Science
Conclusion

Chapter 6
Confronting and Eliminating Racism
The Confrontation with Racism
Cognitive Construction of Racism
Manifestation of Hate Ideologies

Chapter 7
Respecting Aboriginal Languages in Education Systems
Aboriginal Language Learners
The Language Crisis and

Planning for Change
Stabilizing Aboriginal Languages: The Challenge
Complexity and Complementarity in Finding Solutions
Conclusion
1. Measuring outcomes
2. Success of Immersion
3. ALP planning
4. Ongoing systematic evaluation

Chapter 8
Displacing Cognitive Imperialism

Chapter 9
Recommendations for Constitutional Reconciliation of Education
Recommendations for Constitutional Reconciliation
1. Affirm Canada’s Commitment to Indigenous Knowledge
2. Recognize and Affirm Aboriginal and Treaty Rights as Creating Constitutional Educational Jurisdictions
3. Affirm Aboriginal Lifestyles and Intergenerational Use of Indigenous Knowledge
4. Affirm Aboriginal Teachings of Next Generations within Place
5. Develop and Support Indigenous Knowledge Innovations in Educational Institutions
6. Develop Opportunities to Learn in Order to Teach
7. Create new certification and standard setting for First Nations schools
8. Encourage Research and Innovations in Classroom Work
9. Adopt Principles and Guidelines for Respectful Protocols
10. Implement the UN Human Rights Covenants and the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
11. Implement the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
12. Protect Indigenous Knowledge and Heritage
13. Support First Nations’ Capacity to Oversee Use of Indigenous Knowledge
14. Develop Research and Capacity Building in Indigenous Knowledge and Pedagogy

Chapter 10
Possibilities of Educational Transformations
Recognizing and Affirming the Learning Spirit
Postcolonial Post-Secondary Education
Indigenous Self-Determination

References
Index

About the Author

Dr. Marie Battiste is a Mi’kmaq from Unama’kik (Cape Brenton, Nova Scotia), and a graduate of Harvard and Stanford. She is a professor in the Department of Educational Foundations, and Academic Director or the Aboriginal Education Research Centre, both at the University of Saskatchewan, and a United Nations technical expert on the guidelines for protecting Indigenous heritage. She is the editor of several books including First Nations Education in Canada and Reclaiming Indigenous Voice and Vision.