Owen Sound Sun Times Review - The Small Things that End the World

Reviewed by: Andrew Armitage

Try these novels by Canadian women authors

The Canada Day weekend is upon us, another one, the 151st since Confederation. Wondering what residents of Owen Sound thought a century and a half ago, I went back to local papers for 1867. According to them, not much. There was barely a mention of this auspicious day when Canada became a nation.

It really doesn't matter since here we are again. And for this Canada Day in 2018, I have five novels by five Canadian women. How fitting for our birthday. 


Do you remember Hurricane Hazel? It struck Ontario in 1954, taking many lives. The hurricane's legacy is the conservation authorities that now try and regulate the province's natural resources and rivers. Hazel is the setting for Jeanette Lyne's The Small Things that End the World (Coteau Books, $24.95). 

Lynes's first novel, The Factory Voice, was long-listed for a Giller. This, her second, centres around Hurrican Hazel and teenager Sadie Wilder who gets a chance to babysit for the wealthy Bannister family. And then Hazel hits and all hell breaks loose. The novel tells the story of the night that a natural (not so, Ontario rarely gets hit by such a storm) weather incident became a nightmare.

I collect quotes about writing and Lynes (who lives in Saskatoon) offers a great one. "Writing wasn't a steady, solid thing, like knitting an infinity scarf. Writing felt more like fighting through a spider-web jungle without being eaten."


This excerpt originally appeared as part of a longer article with the same title in The Sun Times

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