How Stories Mean

Geist Staff

How Stories Mean (Porcupine's Quill), a collection of essays on Canadian fiction edited by John Metcalf and Tim Struthers, is a good example of the blue box approach to book-making: almost everything in it is recycled. At least 39 of the 47 essays comprising it have appeared in print already—and not just in magazines or journals, but in other books of essays. Four have been published twice. Twenty-one have been collected in earlier books edited by Metcalfe (who is the self-appointed curmudgeon of Canlit). One is appearing in print for the fourth time. This doesn't mean the essays in this book are necessarily not thoughtful or interesting; many of them are both. It does mean that before forking over $18.95 for this book, make sure you haven't already read most of it elsewhere.

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