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Fiction General

The Torontonians

by (author) Phyllis Brett Young

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2007
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2007
    List Price

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The arrival, one sunny morning, of pale green wall-to-wall carpeting for the living room is the crowning jewel in Karen Whitney's long-anticipated transformation of her house into a beautiful home, renovated to the exacting standards of her own impeccable taste. The banal finality of this event triggers an introspective voyage through the events of her life and how she became who she is: wife of business executive Rick, citizen of the suburb of Rowanwood, mother to two accomplished daughters in university. Before Betty Friedan coined the term feminine mystique, The Torontonians told a classic feminist story of suburban ennui and existential self-discovery, tracing a detailed portrait of femininity in the 1950s through the eyes of its perceptive and thoughtful heroine. The book is also a unique contemporary meditation on community and social ties from a time when Canada's major cities were just beginning to spread out into suburban sprawl.

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Editorial Reviews

"A revelation ... with vivid details about where we came from and the shape of things to come ... The relevance to today is remarkable." San Grewal, The Toronto Star, January 26, 2008
"Read not simply as a novel but as a social commentary, The Torontonians offers a fresh perspective on the conceits and preoccupations of a city that still believes itself to be perched at the very edge of modernity" Amy Lavender Harris, EyeWeekly, December 13, 2008
"Karen Whitney is a heroine who can excite the interest of almost any civilized woman today ... In a growing catalogue of books that have been probing the sweet life of suburbia, Mrs. Young's stands out as both wise and witty." The New York Times, July 23, 1961

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