The 20th century saw the birth of Canadian culture. Macleans critics and an art historian select the 10 most significant creators and works in a number of areas, not listed in order of importance (the performing arts list includes 15 names because it covers music, dance and theatre):
1. As for Me and My House
by James Sinclair Ross. In this still-poignant 1941 novel, a Prairie minister and his wife struggle against drought and the forces of ignorance.
2. The Tin Flute by Gabrielle Roy. Originally published in French in 1945, Roy's first novel marked her as a profoundly sympathetic observer of the poor and dispossessed.
3.The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler. The Montreal author made the indomitable Jewish upand-comer of his 1959 novel so real he walks off the page.
4. The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence. The much-loved 1964 novel set the feisty, independence-loving Hagar Shipley sailing into the national consciousness.
5. Fifth Business by Robertson Davies. It begins with a stone hidden in a snowball, and by the time this 1970 classic ends, it has spun a magical web of intrigue and humour.
6. The Wars by Timothy Findley. Canada lost thousands of young men in the First World War: this 1977 novel puts an agonizing face on trench warfare.
7. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Published in 1985, this futuristic vision of a world where women have been reduced to breeding animals remains powerful.
8.The English Patient by
Michael Ondaatje. The best romantic novel by a Canadian, this
1992 tale unearths the secrets of an illicit love affair in the North African desert.
9. Selected Stories by Alice Munro. Collected in 1996, these short stories show Munro’s mastery at making the heart’s desires shine amid the humdrum cares of ordinary life.
10.The Selected Stories of Mavis Gallant. Cosmopolitan and fiercely intelligent, Gallant has made the stories in her 1996 collection glow with insight and humour.
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