Shit! We, along with the rest of the world, totally forgot about Canada Book Day last month! But then we remembered that celebrating what most people consider "good Canadian literature" is about as fun as getting that wart on your nut gnawed off by a rat in an East Van dumpster. The funny thing about Canadian literati is that they usually choose to celebrate the good ol’ racist days of yore, a writer who was decent (not great) in the 60s, or somebody so vanilla, sex with pajamas on seems risqué. In honor of shitty Canadian lit being shoved down your throat since your elementary school teacher made you memorize “In Flanders Fields,” here’s a list of lesser known Canadian scribes you should check out this summer.
An immigrant Jew from Romania, Irving literally had horseshit thrown at him by French Canadian gangs in the streets of Montreal, while Anglophone elites banned him from attending McGill University. Fueled by the fire of a thousand burning suns, Layton eventually fought and fucked his way to the top of the academic, literary, and political echelons of Canada, while infamously popping the bird at everyone in his way before moonwalking out the back door. Bringing new meaning to the platonic philosophy, "I just don’t give a fuck," Layton took aim at WASP elites, anti Semites, and chicks who didn’t put out enough. To say Layton was filled with a combination of unmatched talent and endless vitriol would be like saying Glenn Beck is just a prick. In one of his greatest poems he declared, “I want you to feel as if I had slammed your child’s head against a spike and cut off your member and stuck it in your wife’s mouth to smoke like a cigar.” He also took down more ladies than Hemingway and was nominated for the Nobel Prize twice. Check out his poetry collection, For My Neighbors in Hell.
Engel's Bear was considered a national classic by Canadian hippies. The story centers around Lou, a female archivist on assignment in a shit-hole Ontario town. Lou ends up meeting a fucking Black Bear that mounts her several times and lovingly eats her Canadian dirt pie. Engels writes in such erotic detail that I now know (having read the whole erotic acid trip), that bears have bones in their erect penises. The novel is vainly aware of itself as a typical 70’s shock feminist piece, yet it rightly and successfully challenges societal perceptions of sexual deviancy.
Like most First Nations writers in Canada, academics don’t want you to read Van Camp because he’s actually good and might lure you away from "Southern Ontario Gothic" or the rest of the prose selection that comprises the Anglo sex guilt genre. His Bildungsroman novella, The Lesser Blessed, follows Dogrib teenager Larry Sole as he grows up on a Northern Albertan reserve. And it’s totally fucked up. It makes those family Christmases where your uncle Doug would drink too much ‘nog and feel you up in the basement seem like an episode of Full House. Every suburban asshole this side of Whitby complaining about their parents’ divorce needs to read this book and shut the fuck up. Van Camp's fragmented narrative style and knack for the poesie is reason enough to give The Lesser Blessed a read, but Van Camp keeps your attention with universal adolescent experiences. Instead of dehumanizing Natives as some gas-huffing ethnic charade like most of the Canadian media, he shows the universality of their lives.
This acclaimed playwright wrote a monologue in which a prostitute describes the time she bit Santa Claus’s penis off during an attempted rape. We all know if capitalism had a mascot it would be Santa Claus, so anybody willing to poke fun at that bearded fat fuck is alright by me. Mouawad also wrote Incendies, the movie adaptation of which was recently nominated for an Academy Award. His ability to combine the surrealistic with the downright horrific has made Mouawad one of Canada’s greatest theatrical exports. His play Willy Protagoras Enfermé dans les Toilettes is a Quebecois classic. If you live in Canada and are too lazy to read Ulysses, never fear, read Willy Protagoras and you can be as hip and jobless as your friends.