Clark Blaise is a North American treasure, one of a handful of the truly important short story writers in the last 50 years. His Selected Essays brings together for the first time another aspect of his tremendous and courageous oeuvre, belle lettres, essays and occasional pieces which range over autobiography, his French-Canadan heritage, the craft of fiction, American fiction, Australian fiction, and the work of such individual writers and Jack Kerouac, V.S. Naipaul, Salmon Rushdie, Alice Munro, Leon Rooke, and Bernard Malamud, his friend and mentor. His essays on literary craft and technique are essential reading for aspiring writers and for readers eager for knowledge of literature’s nuts and bolts. Always elegant, profound, thought-provoking and contrarian, Blaise’s essays grapple with the themes and preoccupations that have animated his fiction, and give us a more intimate understanding of the work of this most modern of North American writers.
“More than any other writer, Blaise has shown how Canada is linked by geography, immigration, and cultural affinity to the wider world…”—The National Post
“Here is something remarkably original about Blaise’s work. Blaise is more than just a local colourist who ferrets out the curious details of “marginal” communities in order to delight cosmopolitan readers. Rather, if we consider the full arc of his work, we see that for nearly fifty years he has been challenging the way that we understand the concept of place in contemporary Canadian and American literature.”—Alexander McLeod
“The biographical bent is just one aspect of Blaise’s critical perspective, albeit, I believe, the dominant one. But the book also contains valuable discussions regarding the craft of writing, as well as more general historical/thematic reflections on literature and culture. Particularly good are the observations on how Americans look at Canadians, and how we look at them. Observations that are, in turn, informed by personal experience.”—Good Reports
“There is much substance in these essays to ponder; and to unsettle our assumptions, as good essays should.”—Michael Bryson