Mr. Green from The Company Brings Bloodshed to the Republic

 George Orwell famously sought to make writing on politics into an art. It’s important to remember that he wasn’t the only one. So too did a radically different kind of writer, the cocksure American Gore Vidal. I bring up Orwell because I continue to ponder the notion that his dystopian novel 1984 time and again […]

1984 and None Turn Back: Two Timely Novels

 George Orwell’s dystopian classic, 1984, published less than a year before the English novelist and journalist’s untimely death in 1950, has had extraordinary staying power. Indeed, twice in recent times it has raced up the bestsellers lists, to the Number 1 position at Amazon in 2013 after the “Snowden revelations” about the massive surveillance operations […]

A Long Way From Plato

 Canada is in the process of following the lead of other nations like Britain and Germany which have committed to pardoning and /or apologizing to large numbers of men who were criminally convicted in past decades for engaging in homosexual acts. The German government has determined that it will pardon 50,000 men and offer some […]

Stalin The Magician

 I have been organizing a human rights film series for the past year, and leading discussions with the audience after the showing. For one of these discussions, I had with me (through Skype) the distinguished writer Stephen Heighton, and we talked about his novel Every Lost Country, set in Tibet and Nepal. Heighton is a […]

Extraordinary Criminal at the Heart of The Man Without Qualities

  At our recent meeting of the Who Killed D’Arcy McGee History Club in the hospitable surroundings of the Russian Tea Room in downtown Edmonton we were discussing the early thrillers of Graham Greene, including his short novel The Third Man. Greene had written it after a journey to a bombed and shattered Vienna shortly […]


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