Waiting for Time

Patty Osborne

A book that I have been recommending to all of my friends is Waiting for Time by Bernice Morgan (Breakwater). This is the story of Mary Bundle, who was sent from a workhouse in England to St. John's, Newfoundland and eventually made her way to an isolated settlement called Cape Random. It is also the story of her descendants and of a way of life that was unbelievably hard. Waiting for Time feels like a much bigger book than it is, because it draws the reader into such an interesting and complex world. When I finally surfaced, and the story put me back in modern-day Newfoundland, I felt like I had been away a long time. The back cover blurb says this is a sequel to Random Passage, which was a Canadian bestseller. I've never heard of either Bernice Morgan or Random Passage but I'm off to scour the library and the bookstores to find a copy. The new Vancouver Public Library, which I pass on my way home from work, is nearing completion. I can hardly wait. I have never had a public library so conveniently located. I read a lot of books and I can see that this new library will add a lot more variety to my life. So it was with interest that I noticed a letter from our mayor which came in my friend's mail. The mayor makes an eloquent case for the importance of libraries which "inspire the human spirit to lifelong learning and the exploration of knowledge." He then goes on to urge "Canadian Publishers" to support the Opening Events of the new library because "in this unique setting, ideal for Readings and informal public appearances, we hope to bring together Canada's greatest literary talents." To a book-lover like myself, this is getting exciting. I turn to the accompanying letter from the VPL itself, which describes plans for the Opening Events which are to take place on May 26, 1995. The organizers say they are looking for authors with "broad and dynamic appeal; big names and rising stars in Canadian literature." They also say that they are looking for assistance (financial I assume) to bring their big headliner to Vancouver. And their big headliner is, unbelievably, Wayne Gretzsky [sic]. Now I'm notoriously bad about remembering authors' names, so there may be a Wayne Gretzsky out there who has made a significant contribution to Canadian literature, but I'm pretty sure they're referring to that hockey star. Everyone agrees that Wayne is a nice guy but I wonder how many Canadian publishers will want to provide "assistance" to pay Wayne's fee. And I won't be stopping in on my way home to hear what the (ahem) "Great One" has to say.

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