Winner of the 2007 B.C. Award for Canadian Non-fiction
A Globe and Mail Best 100 Book (2006)
National Post Best Books (2006)
A bold cultural portrait of contemporary Canada through the work of its most celebrated novelists, short story writers, and storytellers.
Stories are the surest way to know a place, and at a time when the fabric of the country seems daily more uncertain, Noah Richler looks to our authors for evidence of the true nature of Canada. He argues why fiction matters and seeks to discover — in the extra-ordinary diversity of communities these writers represent — what stories, if any, bind us as a nation.
Over two years, Richler has criss-crossed the country and interviewed close to one hundred authors — a who’s who of Canadian literature, including Wayne Johnston, Michael Crummey, Alistair MacLeod, Gil Courtemanche, Jane Urquhart, Joseph Boyden, Miriam Toews, Yann Martel, Fred Stenson, Douglas Coupland, and Rohinton Mistry — about the places and ideas that are most meaningful to their work. The result is a journey through the reality of Canada and its imagination at a critical point in the country’s evolution. Within thematic chapters he exposes our “Myths of Disappointment” and considers the stories of our native peoples, the rise of the city, and how our history as a colony shapes our society and politics even today.
This Is My Country, What's Yours? is an impassioned literary travelogue and a vivid portrayal of our society, the work of Canadian authors, and the idea of writing itself.
This Is My Country, What's Yours? is based on Noah Richler’s ten-part documentary of the same name originally broadcast on CBC Radio’s flagship Ideas program in spring 2005.
Noah Richler made documentaries and features for BBC Radio for fourteen years before returning to Canada in 1998. He was the books editor and then the literary columnist for the National Post, and has contributed to numerous publications in Britain, including the Guardian, Punch, the Daily Telegraph, and in Canada to The Walrus, Maisonneuve, Saturday Night, the Toronto Star, and the Globe and Mail. A Literary Atlas of Canada is his first book. He lives in Toronto.
"This Is My Country is a long-overdue interruption in our country’s cultural conversation. Most important, it is genuine and sophisticated, funny, poignant and wise….Richler’s piercing observations … are precisely conceived and eloquently expressed….His wit is delicious. He is that genuine article, of which there are so few, a public intellectual unafraid of discussion and disagreement. … The book is quite simply wonderful, exquisitely structured and fabulously written. This “atlas” is the work of a genius magpie, an eclectic reader, a passionate traveller."
—Globe and Mail
"Noah Richler is a rarity in the modern age: a true man of ideas. You can count such men on one hand, our own David Warren and Mark Steyn being two more fingers. Richler's broad survey of Canadian literature vibrates with a love of our country, including a refreshing admiration for the West."
—The Western Standard (Ezra Levant's Publisher's Pick, November 2006.)
"This is a writer who is fond of people and their quirks and who cares deeply about our country ... Richler has brought us up to date. He documents the fact that we have not only survived — we have thrived."
—Literary Review of Canada
"The most compelling analysis of Canadian stories since Margaret Atwood’s book Survival."
"Immensely thought-provoking — and, at times, simply provoking….[Richler is] a first-rate polemicist."
"An enriching and provocative read."
"Richler is…a thoughtful and sympathetic interlocutor for a series of contemporary Canadian writers….[His] book is a heady mix of abstractions about the worth and purpose of literature, cultural commentaries and meditations, author interviews and literary excerpts, all held together by first-person narration."
"Richler is a highly skilled writer."