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From the archives

The Other Side of “Irish Eyes”

Brian Mulroney abroad and at home

The Ramble

Memories from the PMO

Vintage Years

Two political memoirs

J.R. Patterson

J.R. Patterson was born on a farm in Manitoba.

Articles by
J.R. Patterson

Road Trip

Traces of a Manitoba past March 2024
On my family farm is an outbuilding we call “the school.” About twenty-five feet wide and twice as long, it’s used for storage: gardening equipment and the farm truck, a rotation of tractors and other machinery. When I was very young, it held, for several calving seasons, a maternity pen into which cows would be brought to give birth in the relative…

Close to Home

What Margaret Laurence has taught me December 2022
Nothing is ever changed at a single stroke, I know that full well, although a person sometimes wishes it could be otherwise.— Margaret Laurence Believing that real life happens elsewhere is one of those particularly Canadian traits — both in our people and in our fiction. The talented among us really only “make it” when they get to the…

Slivers of Light

Michael Ignatieff ’s new book January | February 2022
Michael Ignatieff is one of Canada’s chief intellectual exports. As a modern-day man of letters, he is a truly transatlantic thinker who gets too little credit at home for his various outputs, which comprise a bookshelf of some sixteen works of non-fiction, three novels, and two screenplays. The albatross of his political career, his urbanity, and his many postings abroad — from director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the John …

Because the Light Was On

Remembering Norm Macdonald December 2021
The assumption with elegy is that the composite of remembrances and anecdotes comes together to form a single, unmistakable portrait of the deceased. Yet any attempt at a faithful rendering of the comedian Norm Macdonald, who died in September, aged sixty-one, leaves little more than a jumbled sketch. The man was publicly unknowable. Fiercely anti-confessionary, his jokes were constructed so that they yielded a splintered image of his private…

Graphic Narrative

Drawn-out dramas of the North January | February 2021
A squalling baby held aloft, its umbilical cord falling into a moose-skin boat beached on a riverside. Sinew nets bursting with fish. Dogs hauling laden sleds through the deep taiga forest. The fatty underside of a hide scraped with a flint rock. A cadre of kin working together to erect a camp along the Mackenzie River. These interweaving…