if I had a tentacle
it would be made of light
the world would be my eye
How much of the air is inside humans at any one time—inside kings, lungs, mouths, teachers, police, the dead? What if everyone inhaled at once? What would happen to birds or clouds? How would it sound? Then we all exhale. Some of us into inflatable mattresses.
There have been a few aesthetic anomalies among Leacock winners, most recently Gary Barwin’s Yiddish for Pirates (2017), and The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (2012). These two novels stray from the Leacock formula in some respects—Barwin’s postmodern adventure story is narrated by a Jewish parrot; deWitt’s postmodern Western suggests a Coen brothers/Cormac McCarthy collaboration—but, like Sunshine Sketches, both are situated in worlds so predominantly male that the homosociality borders on parodic. The novels do, in fact, muck with genre and gender conventions, but they still exemplify Leacock’s tendency to centralize masculine nostalgia, here for the swashbuckling and gun-slinging of boyhood fantasies.
This is a very sweet book. It really left me with a warm, fuzzy feeling in my heart. I picked it almost at random from the library website because I have been reading a lot of heavy stuff and I wanted something funny to cleanse the palate a bit and, well Yiddish for Pirates sounds funny. It did the trick, but there is a really good, strong story here too.
A lovely review of Yiddish for Pirates from a great bookclub, Cannonball Read (CBR) which is "an online, memorial book challenge to read and review 52 books in a year (or 26 or 13) with a mission to donate profits to the American Cancer Society. We’re essentially a virtual book club where participants read what they want and write what they want, all while shouting to the world, “F— Cancer!”"Here's the link.
I’m in a small cove, a bight, a calligraphic curl in the shoreline, amidst lily pads, floating logs, water striders and the intermittent glurp of surfacing fish. I’m trying to remain as quiet and still as I can. I’m kayaking in Cootes Paradise, a kilometre from where I’ve lived in Hamilton, Ontario for nearly 30 years.