It is probably not surprising that Paul Dewar, our local Member of Parliament, has a very Canadian reading list.
“Canadian art – literary and otherwise – is exceptional,” he says. “We have a really deep narrative and a certain global view that is unique and insightful.”
Dewar is just finishing The War that Ended Peace by Margaret MacMillan. The award-winning author of Paris 1919 is a Canadian who lives and teaches in England. The book is a historical narrative set in Europe in the two decades leading up to the First World War.
As the Official Opposition Critic for Foreign Affairs, Dewar says that although this was a work-related choice, he has found it a very interesting read. He has high praise for MacMillan, whom he describes as a fluid, engaging writer with “exceptional reach.”
Next up on his reading list is The Orenda by the acclaimed Canadian author, Joseph Boyden. Dewar chose this novel based on his brother’s recommendation and says he is looking forward to starting it. “It goes back to our country’s roots,” says Dewar.
The father of two said he reads every night, a habit from when he was a child. He also likes to keep around some old favourite books, such as Ernest Hemmingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls, which he discovered in his youth. He has high praise for Canadian authors like Alistair MacLeod and Elizabeth Hay (the latter he calls “one of our unsung heroes).
While fiction is something Dewar usually has time to read only in the summer, he hopes that he may soon get to a book that he has wanted to read for over a decade – Islandia, by Austin Tappen Wright. Reading it would be in honour of a former neighbour, Barbara Jones. “She was a fascinating woman,” Dewar recalls. “During World War II she was a military spy working with encryption and coded messages.
“She gave this book to me and said it was her favourite.” But while it is praised as “one of the great underground novels of the 20th century” the tome weighs in at 940 pages, so is not one to be picked up lightly.
When he does have the opportunity, Dewar loves to read on a summer day.
“Finding the time to read in an afternoon in a hammock – that is the ultimate.”
This post is part of our annual KT summer reads issue. Read all of our other profiles right here.