No other person has done more to celebrate and encourage the short story in Canada than John Metcalf. For more than five decades he has worked tirelessly as editor, anthologist, writer, critic, and teacher to help shape our understanding of the form and what it can do. The long-time editor of the yearly Best Canadian Stories anthology, as well as a fiction editor at some of the pre-eminent literary presses in the country for more than forty years, he has worked to support and champion several generations of our best writers. Literature in Canada would be far less without his efforts.
Sifting through a lifetime of reading, writing, and thinking about the short story in this country, and where it fits within the larger currents of world literature, Metcalf’s magisterial The Canadian Short Story offers the most authoritative book on the subject to date. Most importantly, it includes an expanded and reconsidered Century List, Metcalf’s critical guide to the best Canadian short story collections of the last 100 years. But more than a critical book, The Canadian Short Story is a love-letter to the form, a passionate defense of the best of our literature, and a championing of those books and writers most often over-looked. It is a guide not only to what to read, but also one, its author’s most fervent desire, which aims to make better readers of us all.
PRAISE FOR JOHN METCALF
“John Metcalf often comes as close to the baffling, painful comedy of human experience as a writer can get ? he has written some of the very best stories ever published in this country.” —Alice Munro
“Generous, hectoring, huge and remarkable.” —Washington Post
“As an editor, teacher, author, critic, and pioneering anthologist of Canadian fiction, Metcalf was in the front ranks of writers and intellectuals who transformed the term Canadian writer from oxymoron to viable reality.” —Quill & Quire
“John Metcalf is still writing with the same élan that animates almost every line of his distinguished oeuvre… [his memoir] is obligatory reading for anyone who cares about aesthetic vitality, the state of the nation?s literature and the essential importance of very good sentences. It is also a moving record of time past, a shimmering and often comic account of recent travels, and—Metcalf being Metcalf—a sometimes prickly if not intemperate j?accuse.” —Globe & Mail