Filtered By - Book and film Reviews

  • National Post Roy Dotrice is a story-teller for the ages Wednesday October 3rd, 2012
    It all began in Grade Seven. My enjoyment of having stories read to me, that is. I suppose it should have begun in early childhood, with bedtime stories. But my parents weren’t ones for prolonged pre-sleep rituals. My Grade 7 teacher, Mr. Davies, used to read to us for the last 15 minutes of the morning class. I remember these sessions quite vividly — Mr Davies perched on the...
  • National Post Barbara Kay on Northrop Frye: The power of myths in shaping history Wednesday August 8th, 2012
    Apart from fundamentalists and secularists — the former with uncritical reverence, the latter with contempt — who now takes the Bible seriously as a key to our culture’s worldview? Literary visionary Northrop Frye, for one. In October, his centenary will be celebrated with a three-day symposium at the University of Toronto, Frye’s academic home from 1939 until his...
  • National Post India should be insulted by filmdom’s worst exotic cliched film script Saturday June 9th, 2012
    Showcasing a stellar cast of Britain’s finest seasoned actors, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel had all the makings of a light, feel-good entertainment about quirky characters in a novel situation. It turned out to be a heavy-handed, feel-gulled disinterment of moribund national stereotypes, with a side order of pious multiculturalism and smarmy gender correctness. I’ve rarely been...
  • National Post Barbara Kay on vampires: Robert Pattinson, Johnny Depp, anti-Semitism and capitalism Wednesday May 23rd, 2012
    I’m so old, I remember when vampires were scary. I would never have predicted they would quit their lugubrious fortresses in Transylvania to become the cynosure of teenage girls’ romantic yearnings in upscale American suburbs. Yet Stephanie Myers’ Twilight series has enjoyed sales of 116 million globally. For the last 40 years, since Anne Rice’s 1976 Interview wit...
  • National Post Ode to the monarchy Friday April 27th, 2012
    In his new book, The Secret of the Crown: Canada’s Affair with Royalty, John Fraser describes a 1953 scene in which his not-quite nine-year-old self is sprawled prone in front of “IT.” IT is his neighbourhood’s first TV. His parents have bought it especially for the momentous program they had been waiting with bated breath for months to watch. The program was of c...
  • National Post Margaret Thatcher’s weakness for the opposite sex Wednesday February 1st, 2012
    Alexandra Roach plays a young Margaret Thatcher, who's "appointments were based on who was good for Britain, not who was good for women." “Was the Iron Lady good for women?” asks Janet Bagnall, the Montreal Gazette’s resident feminist, in the headline of her Jan. 20 column. The “Iron Lady” is, of course, not only a sobriquet for Mar...
  • National Post A James Bond for the post-9/11 world Wednesday December 14th, 2011
     Barbara Kay, National Post · Dec. 14, 2011 | Last Updated: Dec. 14, 2011 3:10 AM ET I love journalism. But keeping up with the news leaves little time for recreational reading. In my precolumnizing days, I'd read a novel or two a week. But fiction, especially the detective and spy genres I adore, has become a guilty pleasure. Last weekend, cur...
  • National Post The blessing of dull literature Wednesday August 10th, 2011
     Barbara Kay, National Post · Aug. 10, 2011 | Last Updated: Aug. 10, 2011 3:03 AM ET What's the worst thing that ever happens in Canadian fiction? Somebody falls through the ice and almost drowns (or occasionally does), causing embedded family woes to proliferate. A woman wrestles over whether or not to have an abortion. A couple is unhappy; one of the...
  • National Post Shortchanging Philip Roth Sunday May 22nd, 2011
    On Wednesday, the prestigious Man Booker International Prize, accompanied by £60,000, was awarded to American author Philip Roth. However, media attention was rather dramatically diverted from the awardee by the revelation that Carmen Callil, one of the prize’s three judges, had withdrawn her participation from the panel in protest over the decision. Claiming nobody would rea...
  • National Post A look at a life lived in excess Thursday March 24th, 2011
    Barbara Kay, National Post · Mar. 24, 2011 | Last Updated: Mar. 24, 2011 4:04 AM ET Itook drama lessons as a child. I also knew how to ride a horse, and my drama teacher had connections. As a result, I was called in to audition for a CBC (if I remember correctly) rendition of National Velvet, the 1944 film classic of a young girl and her beloved horse, which child actress...
  • National Post The lure of MedLit Wednesday February 2nd, 2011
    Barbara Kay, National Post · Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 Last year, The Abaton, a Des Moines University literary and arts journals devoted to the healthcare professions, inaugurated a prize for medically themed writing. The prize is named for Richard Selzer, a now-retired surgeon who in midlife embarked on a parallel, successful literary career. The announcement caugh...
  • National Post Meet the Canuck Lisbeth Salander Wednesday December 8th, 2010
    Barbara Kay, National Post · Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010 The wind is howling. Snow is piling up faster than it can be shovelled away. The days are short. Civilization as we know it is going to pot. Time to escape all that and curl up by the fire with some cocoa and a soothing book of detective fiction. Something cheerful, though. Something that do...
  • National Post Learning the old-fashioned way Wednesday September 1st, 2010
    Barbara Kay, National Post · Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010 Back to school! To mark the occasion, I recommend a little book for parents of school-age children. The no-nonsense title of this no-nonsense book is What's Wrong with our Schools And How We Can Fix Them, by longtime educational professionals Michael C. Zwaagstra, Rodney A. Clifton and John C. Long. This bo...
  • National Post The great Canadian novelist you've never heard of Wednesday July 21st, 2010
    Barbara Kay, National Post · Wednesday, Jul. 21, 2010 Writing about Canadian fiction last September, I bemoaned Canadian publishers' penchant for somnolent navel-gazing over lively social commotion. I want novels written for real readers, not for creative-workshop peers. As if waiting for exactly this gauntlet to fall, an author I'd never heard of sent me ...
  • National Post A Kind and Noble Bigot: Analyzing 850 Years of English Anti-Semitism Tuesday April 20th, 2010
    In divorce, as in marriage, Prince Charles and Princess Diana acted according to their wildly opposite natures. For his divorce lawyer, Charles chose Fiona Shackleton, a prototypically establishment “old boy,” so to speak, with a long history of successful royal divorces to her credit. But Diana chose Anthony Julius, a prominent libel lawyer by vocation (by avocation a respec...
  • National Post From out of anti-Semitism's muck, scholarly gold Wednesday February 10th, 2010
    In their choice of divorce lawyers as in all else, royals Charles and Diana went their separate ways: Charles to experienced establishment divorce-law solicitor Fiona Shackleton, Diana to Anthony Julius, a trusted advisor, but a libel-law specialist. A Telegraph article praised Charles's sensible choice. But as for Diana's: "[Julius] is a Jewish intellectual and ... le...
  • National Post The lost Eden of childhood Saturday January 30th, 2010
    For Holden Caulfield, as for Salinger himself, sexual maturity destroyed the soul J.D. Salinger published his first story in 1940 at the age of 21, but it was the 1951 publication of Catcher in the Rye that thrust him into the national spotlight. A lot happened in the world between 1940 and 1951. Salinger witnessed some of its more grisly aspects as a Second World War draftee who ...
  • National Post Mile-high morality Wednesday January 6th, 2010
    Up in the Air is the Rom Com (romantic comedy) of the year. Most critics love it. It's hugely entertaining, but the surprise ending (spoiler alert!) sends a jarring message no reviewer (to my knowledge) has mentioned. The film is based on Walter Kirn's eponymous 2001 novel about Ryan Bingham, a man who fires people for a living. Ryan spends most of his time on airplanes, tr...
  • National Post The genius of Lionel Davidson Wednesday December 23rd, 2009
    One of my favourite novelists died Oct. 21 at the age of 87, and it took a while before the news reached me: The British-Israeli Lionel Davidson was relatively unknown on this side of the pond, so there were no prominent obituaries or fond recollective write-ups of his extraordinary novels in the Canadian media. I was first introduced to Davidson, a three-time winner of the Crime W...
  • National Post David Solway’s Hear, O Israel!: A Feast for the Conservative Mind Sunday December 20th, 2009
    Hear, O Israel! By David Solway Canadian Values Press (Mantua Books) 181 pages; $25 On September 10, 2001, Canadian David Solway was merely an acclaimed poet, educator, and literary critic, warming himself (and his unexamined 1960s-era left-wing views) on a tranquil Greek island. On September 11, 2001, he became a prophet. Watching the collapse of the twin towers on a televi...
| 1 | 2 | 3 |