Sunday, October 29, 2006

A literary guide to Vancouver

Jeff MacIntyre, author of Salon's literary guide to his native Vancouver, writes:
Vancouver's literature is suffused with the year-round damp and mild climate, for which the region is dubbed the Rain Coast. (Indeed, according to Margaret Atwood, Canada's literary den mother, all Canadian literature is foremost a product of the nation's physical environment.) Coupland, whose City of Glass (2001) is the contemporary Vancouver's unofficial travel guide cum decoder ring, describes the exit from the city: "I want you to imagine you are driving north, across the Lions Gate Bridge, and the sky is steely grey and the sugar-dusted mountains loom blackly in the distance. Imagine what lies behind those mountain -- realize that there are only more mountains -- mountains until the North pole, mountains until the end of the world, mountains taller than a thousand me's, mountains taller than a thousand you's." Here in a soaked-through rain-forest vision of New England, Henry Thoreau would have succumbed to cabin fever.
In his most recent work, JPod (2006), Coupland mines an inviting setting for generational anomie in the world of a fictional game company, noticeably modeled after Vancouver-born Electronic Arts. (A previous novel, Microserfs [2003], is a cruise down I-5 to the Redmond, Wash., campus of Microsoft.) But it is City of Glass that serves as the best street guide to Vancouver's curiously poly-ethnic parochialism: of everything from the city's straight-outta-Harajuku teen tourists to its post-and-beam residential architectural glories. Artist and polymath, perhaps even "his generation's most interesting curator," Coupland looks to continue moving deftly in other artistic mediums, such as these sculptures of his own, personally chewed first editions.
Other writers who rate inclusion in MacIntyre's literary Vancouver include William Gibson, Alice Munro, Malcolm Lowry, and John Vaillant. Click here to read the complete article.

Another Vancouver-born writer: novelist and founder of January Magazine, Linda L. Richards.

Other items in Salon's literary guide series include:
A literary guide to Baltimore
A literary guide to Argentina
A literary guide to Afghanistan
A literary guide to Louisiana
A literary guide to Australia
A literary guide to Norway
A literary guide to Turkey
A literary guide to Japan
A literary guide to Martha's Vineyard
A literary guide to West Texas
A literary guide to Togo
A literary guide to Brooklyn
A literary guide to Miami

--Marshal Zeringue