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  Bookends: Dan Davidson
 

An Orange From Portugal: Christmas Stories from the Maritimes and Newfoundland

Reviewed: December 19, 2003
By: edited by Anne Simpson
Publisher: Goose Lane Editions
236 pages, $19.95

There have been several collections of Christmas tales from the West and North over the last few years, them from another publisher and edited by former Star reporter Anne Templeman-Kluit. I am pleased now to see that the urge has spread to the regional presses on the east coast. This collection of goodies, edited by another Anne (is there a connection?) covers the Atlantic Provinces quite nicely.

This isnít a collection of historical anecdotes and local legends, like the ones Iíve seen before. This is a compilation of short stories, tall tales, poems and essays by writers who have been born in, lived in, or worked in the Atlantic provinces.

Thereís a century or more of material covered here, from Charles G.D., Roberts in the 19th century, through Wilfred Grenfell, L.M. Montgomery, Alden Nowlan and Hugh MacLennan in the 20th, down to writers of today like David Adams Richards, Alistair MacLeod and Wayne Johnston.

They reflect all kinds of traditions and moods, but the ending I liked best was in Ernest Bucklerís ďThe Still of ChristmasĒ, where young David goes to bed after a busy Christmas Day spent enjoying presents and learning to skate.

ďAnd when David went to bed, sleep covered him at once like an extra blanket drawn up.Ē

Now thatís a perfect ending to a fine day.

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