Monday, 6 July 2009

Poetry, Short Stories and Music: Enlightenment for Stephen Harper This Summer?

It’s summer time and the living is—maybe—easy. Yann Martel has sent a nice big package to Stephen Harper for his summer pleasure, number 58 and 59 in his continuing attempt to provide our Prime Minister with some good bedtime reading.

The first is a both a book and an audio book of Alice Munro’s short story collection Runaway. (If you aren't familiar with it, you should read Jonathan Franzen's fascinating review from The New York Times.) Martel prefaces this part of his gift by asking if Harper has called Munro yet to congratulate her on winning the International Man Book Award a week or so ago. He writes that when he won the regular Booker in 2002, he was delighted when the Prime Minister of the day Jean Chrétien called him with congratulations. A small detail in a busy political life but Martel says it meant a lot.

The Door, a book of poetry by that other grande dame of CanLit, Margaret Atwood, is a natural accompaniment, Martel writes, while the audio book of Munro’s short stories is perfect for long road trips that the PM is likely to make this summer as he does his political rounds. Which brings up the last part of the gift package, Camino, a CD of music and sounds by the Canadian violinist Oliver Shroer, inspired by the pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostella. Nice listening, for sure.

Martel says he’s off for a trek in the high country of Peru, so he won’t be sending anything a long for a while. But it seems to me that Harper has got more than enough good reading to last for several summer evenings. Would that the invitation to reflection that the books offer translate into enlightenment.

1 comment:

karim said...

Very thoughtfull post on enlightenment. It should be very much helpfull

Thanks,
Karim - Mind Power