This engaging memoir relates stories about George Bowering's small-town BC upbringing and his parents — his father long dead and his mother more recently passed on at the age of 100 — while at the same time honouring the author's other "parents": Gertrude Stein, Charles Olson, and Roland Barthes.
Borrowing a structure and some precepts about writing from Stein, Bowering remains true to his inimitable self, relating his recollections and observations, his ever-curious mind travelling across the decades as he recounts some of the objects, food, rooms, and people that have shaped his engagement with the world. Charles Olson's ideas about proprioception shape Bowering's approach to himself as "an object among objects" (and, with increasing age and frailty, even one containing numerous objects), while Roland Barthes's writing strategies also make themselves felt throughout.
But these stories wear their learning lightly — it's ridiculously easy to enjoy these wise and gentle reminiscences of an older writer who spent his childhood in sunny South Okanagan, without even noticing the carefully wrought structure.
Lisa Robertson (The Baudelaire Fractal, The Weather, Cinema of the Present, 3 Summers, &c.), herself a student of George Bowering, provides an introduction to this deceptively simple and richly rewarding work by an old master.
About the author
George Bowering, Canada’s first Poet Laureate and co-founder of the avant-garde poetry magazine TISH, was born in the Okanagan Valley.
A distinguished novelist, poet, editor, professor, historian and tireless supporter of fellow writers, Bowering has authored more than eighty books, including works of poetry, fiction, autobiography, biography and youth fiction.
In 2002, Bowering was recognized by the Vancouver Sun as one of the most influential people in British Columbia.
In 2011, he received the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence in British Columbia.