The list author says: "This is a journey through the 'cities of the senses' ... memoirs and memories of some places that have been meaningful for me ... experienced through different senses in different media ... music, film and books."
"This is the great Canadian novel. Richler was a great craftsman and far and away Canada's best writer ever. Before he became too good as a writer ("Barney's Version" is masterfully crafted but not as affecting), Richler hit his stride with a Montreal that still reverberated with his narrow obsessions. On St. Urbain Street, you will find a Jewish Montreal that is lost forever."
"When I was in medical school, I spent a summer doing research at Harvard in Cambridge, MA, where the writer of this coming-of-MD novel did his medical studies. It is an entertaining and biting satire that manages to avoid any insight into what becoming a doctor is really like."
"When I think of my time in Israel, I think of the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai, the most accomplished poet in the Hebrew language since the great Yehuda Halevi of the Jewish golden era in mediaeval Spain. Amichai's early poetry was forceful and assertive like his country, later becoming more exploratory and tentative."
"This novel is in complete contrast to Ottawa, the native city of its author, where I lived in exile for 6 years. Elizabeth Smart was that very un-Canadian thing: a passionate woman in the throes of an erotic mania. The object of her obsession was an English poet, now forgotten. Readers may find it too intense or maudlin. This is the poetic prose version of a moth drawn to a flame. Bound to burn!"
"This is a beautiful and haunting novel by the recently-deceased Brazilian Jewish physician-writer Moacyr Scliar. It's the story of a Jewish centaur looking for love in a world where he feels exotic and estranged, just as Scliar said he felt as a Jew in Brazil. When I visited his city, Porto Alegre in southern Brazil, I half-expected to see Jewish centaurs in some private garden."
"Fernando Pessoa's coterie of poets and their poetry has received much attention but his prose is equally arresting. This interminable volume of meditations and hesitations on the pain of existence by the 'semi-heteronym' Bernardo Soares is comparable in style and substance to Rilke's 'Notebooks of Malte Laurids Briggs.' It is for me the best guide to life in Lisbon."
"The first truly bilingual Canadian film, 'Bon Cop, Bad Cop' explores the two solitudes expressed in English and French and represents my bilingual experience of Montreal, one of the few truly multicultural cities in the world."