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112 Western American Literature author’s connection to the nature of a place. Although this connection be­ comes apparent only through the accretion of observations, it is, finally, what gives Wordsfrom a Wide Land coherence and meaning. STEPHANIE SARVER University ofCalifornia, Davis The Emily Carr Omnibus. By Emily Carr. Introduction by Doris Shadbolt. (Vancouver: Douglas &McIntyre; Seattle: University ofWashington, 1993. 893 pages, $40.00.) The painter Emily Carr, whose main inspiration was the landscape outside of Victoria and Vancouver, was in her fifties before receiving artistic recogni­ tion, and she was in her sixties before publishing the fiction and autobiogra­ phy that she had produced over as many years as painting. Although Carr attempted to publish during her twenties, publication did not come until 1941, when the story collection Klee Wyck came out after radio broadcasts of several stories by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Only two more books were published during Carr’s life, TheBook ofSmall, fictional autobiography, and the more directly autobiographical The House ofAll Sorts, while the remainder of her writing appeared during the first two decades after her death in 1945. This omnibus, somewhat unwieldy, with the heft of a dictionary, brings together all of Carr’s published writing and reveals a woman who kept her distance from others, giving herself more to her work and pet dogs and birds than to familial or social relations. Carr was the eighth of nine children of prosperous English immigrants, and by the time she was fourteen, both her parents were dead. Carr felt alienated from her oldest sister, who supervised her upbringing, and from her other siblings as well. This alienation is one of her recurrent themes, and Carr reveals it to be the impetus for her art: “I had to show what drove me to the woods and to the creatures for comfort, what caused the real starting point of my turn to Art.” In a similar vein, she writes elsewhere that “pain is easier to endure out in the open. Space draws it from you. Enclosure squeezes it close.” Carr’s desire to escape rather than explore the pain of human intimacy helps explain both the power of her painting and the weakness of her writing. The most compelling narratives probe people’s individual and collective diffi­ culties. Carr’s writings are not narratives but sets of vignettes, sketches of the surfaces of certain human situations. Uncompelling in themselves, the works are interesting mainly for what they reveal psychologically about the painter Emily Carr. PAMELA WALKER Houston, Texas ...


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