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Books With a Sense of Place (Katrina Onstad)

When you say “sense of place” and “CanLit” in the same breath, everyone scurries over to Mordecai Richler and Montreal’s St. Urbain Street, or to the Bloor St. viaduct in Toronto that cuts through In the Skin of a Lion. I bow down before both (and my initials mean I get to rub up against Ondaatje on the shelves), but they aren’t the ones that moved me most. I love a book where setting anchors the story with atmosphere and meaning, sometimes becoming character itself, or lending the characters their motivations. But a personal connection to setting is something special between the reader and the writer: “The author knows the place I live better than I do” or “Now that place is changed to me forever.” I appreciate many great novels where the setting isn’t even known, but these aren’t those; these are some books that, if the location changed, the story would be utterly different—to me, anyway.

by Kerry Clare · Tagged katrina onstad, #readlocal