From Publishers Weekly
In splendid profiles of 10 Canadian cites and towns, travel writer Morris ( Destinations ) demonstrates the rich diversity of the country's mores, values and social and political systems, which, she insists, differ widely from those of the U.S. The French flavor of Quebec and Montreal; Britain's imperial imprint on St. Andrews and Toronto; and the Indian, Metis and Inuit customs of northern reaches recall Canada's origins and colonial beginnings. The daily life of cosmopolitan East and West coast cities is enriched by the cultures of emigrants from Europe and Asia, particularly the Japanese in Banff and Chinese in Vancouver, the author shows. With her unflagging instinct for the telling detail, Morris captures the sensual and atmospheric quality--pleasing or repellent--of a locality and conveys a sense of what it would be like to live there.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Sparkling description of Canadian cities and villages by world-class travel-writer Morris, author of Hong Kong, Venice, The Matter of Wales (her present home), and many others. Faced with the enormity of writing about this huge country, Morris says that ``Canada is one country whose parts are greater than the whole, and its colossal scale is becoming increasingly irrelevant.'' And so she focuses this collection of essays (first commissioned by the editors of the Canadian magazine Saturday Night) on ten urban areas rather than on Canada's immense train lines, tracts of forest, and so on. These areas are: St. John's, St. Andrews, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Banff, Yellowknife, and Vancouver. Morris finds St. John's (Newfoundland) the most entertaining town in North America: ``windy, fishy, anecdotal, proud, weather-beaten, quirky, obliging, ornery, and fun,'' full of irresistible talkers about themselves and their festivals, dramatically fjord-like harbor, and chunky wooden streets whose ``kind of throwaway picturesqueness [suggests] to me sometimes a primitive San Francisco, sometimes Bergen in Norway, occasionally China, and often an Ireland of long ago.'' St. Andrews's nostalgic shoals, islands, fish weirs, and church-bell conservativeness move Morris to thoughts of abandoning her traditional ``radical, if not actually anarchist views....'' Montreal she finds to be the most exciting and volatile Canadian city, with its two hostile linguistic groups. In Ottawa she detects abstraction and allegory, ``some misty iconification of Canada.'' And ``Toronto seems to me, in time as in emotion, a limbo- city....The people in its streets, walking with that steady, tireless, infantry-like pace that is particular to this city, seem on the whole resigned, without either bitterness or exhilaration, to being just what they are.'' Great reading that Canadians as well as folks south will welcome. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.