Gwendolyn MacEwen was born in Toronto in 1941 and died there in 1987. A writer of great talent and versatility, she wrote novels, travel books, children's books and radio drama, as well as poetry books including The Shadow-Maker (1969) and Afterworlds (1987), both of which won Governor General's Awards. She published two collections of short stories, Noman (1972) and Noman's Land (1985), which includes "The Other Country," a prize winner in the 1983 CBC Canadian Literary Awards.
The windows of the night train revealed a landscape almost lunar in its starkness. The trail hugged a wall of rock made steel blue by midnight; the mountainside had the consistency of quicksilver. When we passed over the bridge at the great canal of Corinth, we seemed to be suspended in a hunk of purple midnight space. Everything dwarfed us. We were on our way to Mycenae.
The next morning, rainwater turned red as blood in the hollows of the stones in Corinth. Nikos and I stood in the ancient agora and gazed up at the mountain where holy whores once had their temple; a Byzantine castle now clings precariously to the summit. Everything’s so big in this country, I thought. What is it? Everything’s stretching and reaching and gasping for more and more space. The infamous light seems to yank things out of their contexts and present them naked and fullblown to the eye. Everything demands attention; there is nothing subtle about Greece.