Canada is a country rich in stories, and few take as much joy as Douglas Gibson in discovering them. As one of the country's leading editors and publishers for 40 years, he coaxed modern classics out of some of Canada's finest minds, and then took to telling his own stories in his first memoir, Stories About Storytellers.
Gibson turned his memoir into a one-man stage show that eventually played almost 100 times, in all ten provinces, from coast to coast. As a literary tourist he discovered even more about the land and its writers, and harvested many more stories, from distant past and recent memory, to share.
Now in Across Canada by Story, Gibson brings new stories about Robertson Davies, Jack Hodgins, W.O. Mitchell, Alistair MacLeod, and Alice Munro, and adds lively portraits of Al Purdy, Marshall McLuhan, Margaret Laurence, Guy Vanderhaeghe, Margaret Atwood, Wayne Johnson, Linwood Barclay, Michael Ondaatje, and many, many others. Whether fly fishing in Haida Gwaii or sailing off Labrador, Douglas Gibson is a first-rate ambassador for Canada and the power of great stories.
One book wasn't enough for all the stories Canadian literary editor and publisher Gibson hoarded during his more than 40-year career. In this follow-up to his first memoir, Stories About Storytellers, he takes his readers on a literary tour of Canada, peppering his account of his travels with local literary history and personal anecdotes about some of the leading Canadian journalists and authors with whom he has worked. The book is organized by region; in each section, Gibson recounts exchanges he shared with Canadian writers, favorite excerpts from their work, and literary histories of the area. His anecdotes include meeting a woman who claimed (quite plausibly) to be Hugh MacLennan's love child, and recounting how Robert Kroetsch and Guy Vanderhaege valiantly scared off elk that had cornered a woman on the grounds of the Banff Centre. Gibson writes of encounters with Myrna Kostash, Pauline Gedge, Carol Shields, Terry Fallis, Alistair MacLeod, and many more. He takes an obvious delight in recounting these stories, which are told with his own self-deprecating humor. This is an entertaining excursion for lovers of Canadian literature, who will find it impossible to finish this book without reading lists as long as their arms.