Vintage Calalcade of the North, An Entertaining Collection of Distinguish Writing by Canadian Authors, 1958
Save money and multiply your entertainment in one great book.
Published in 1958, Cavalcade of the North is a volume of fiction and essays by 26 Canadian writers, edited by George E. Nelson. For the roughly half that include copyright notes the original publication dates range from 1912 to 1956, with the majority falling in the 1940s and ‘50s.
Among the 26 works included here are two full-length novels, Hugh MacLennan’s 1941 novel Barometer Rising, gripping dramatization of the tragic Halifax Explosion of 1917, and Jalna by Mazo de la Roche, originally published in 1927 and the first book in an extensive series chronicling the multi-generational saga of a farming family in southern Ontario. Also includes one novella-length work, The School on the Little Water Hen by Gabrielle Roy, about a family residing on a remote island in northern Manitoba.
The remaining shorter works vary greatly. A few are stories from the history of Canada, such as “Vignettes of French Canada” by Thomas B. Costain, an assortment of biographical sketches from the 17th and early 18th centuries; “This Stubborn Breed” by Joseph Lister Rutledge, concerning the Acadians in the 1750s; and “The Awakening” by Bruce Hutchison, about Canada’s entry into World War II. Also in the nonfiction category is “Read!” an essay by Lord Beaverbrook about self-education and individualism.
Of the remaining fictional selections, two of the best are related to World War II. In “The Czech Dog” by W. G. Hardy, a Canadian woman befriends a Czech refugee and former member of the anti-Nazi underground, while “Resurrection” by Thomas H. Raddall is a thriller about shot-down pilots trapped on the coast of Greenland. “Four Men and a Box” is a brief but excellent tale about jungle explorers in an unnamed, exotic locale. Closer to home, Patrick Waddington delivers a charming, Twilight Zone-ish yarn about a mysterious forgotten neighborhood in Montreal, “The Street That Got Mislaid.” “The White Mustang” by Edward A. McCourt is a John Steinbeck-ish story about a mythical white horse, while “The White Musky” by Scott Young (Neil Young’s dad) is a fisherman’s tale about a mythical white fish. The scope of the selections cover a wide variety of settings, populations, and walks of life. Canadians of French and British extraction get about equal time, with a wee bit of the Irish thrown in. Only one story features First Nations characters: the Jack London-esque “A Prairie Vagabond” by Sir Gilbert Parker.