December 17, 2012
‘Were she American, there would be no doubting the singular place at the table Lynn Crosbie occupies’
Not for everyone, the most memorable book of my reading year is without a doubt Lynn Crosbie’s Life is About Losing Everything (The House of Anansi). You don’t always know where you are with Crosbie but, no matter, there is no question that she is one of the most original writers working in North America, not just Canada, today. She is a woman whose acerbic genius and illuminating grip on the zeitgeist reminds me of the American writer and critic Lynne Tillman, for unlike so many, Crosbie’s writing is never undone or rendered banal by her profound understanding of popular culture and the delightful references she makes. A terrific stylist, there is no one else in Canada who writes quite as she does — who can force a reader, as she did me, to frequently have to put her novel down because I was laughing so hard though also painfully, because her protagonist is the one being so awfully skewered. To laugh at Crosbie’s pages feels so often like complicity in a cruel act made permissible only because the author is both the perpetrator and the object of her relentless, uncompromising observation. A bonus, a portrait of an only recently bygone Toronto comes through.