Quill and Quire

Book news

« Back to

Paved paradise

Much has been said lately about the absence of the contemporary, urban landscape in Canadian fiction, but why are so few people writing about the suburbs, where so many Canadian authors spent their formative years? Ryan Bigge ponders that question in an essay on his website, Bigge World. Bigge recently spent time researching Toronto’s “905 region” for a guide to the city’s suburban hot spots and was surprised by what he found: “By the time my sleuthing was complete, I had witnessed enough signs, symbols and simulacrums to keep a cultural studies professor happily engaged in deconstruction for months.” Even more surprising to Bigge was that so few people were writing about the region, or any of Canada’s many suburbs. Bigge speculates that authors may shy away from exploring this landscape in their work because of an anti-suburban attitude among Canadian readers: “The lag between stereotype and reality means that any artist who selects a Canadian suburb as subject matter faces having their work dismissed as ironic or insubstantial.”

Related links:
Read Ryan Bigge’s ode to the suburb