Friday, June 26, 2009

Canada's great contribution to literature

Forget the Margarets, forget all those authors with unspellable last names, Canada's real contribution to literature is the Harlequin romance.

Oh Harlequin, where would I be without you? Incredibly bored right now, I can tell you! My cousin has kept some of her romance novels from over the years, and every time I visit, I read a few more. It is so weird to read them now to see what our mothers' generation were supposed to have found romantic.

Apparently: Fairly vapid girls who have unthreatening careers (if they even have one) but an over-developped sense of right and wrong, in love with aloof mysterious men who are really mean to them and make them feel like crap, but they desire them passionately anyway. =Gag=


Case in point, The Man from Bahl Bahla. Published in Canada 1971 (1972 in the US)
It is set at a cattle station in the Australian Centre (that is what they call it in the book, I am thinking Outback?) The girl is trying to get over her father's death in a small plane crash and goes out to her school friend's station to help the friend's mother write her history book about the Outback pioneers. The love interest is the station owner and cattle baron and her friend's older half brother.

The girl thinks the love interest hates her for the entire book, right up until the end when he comes into her hospital room and tells her they are going to get married. He does kind of overreact sometimes (there seems to be far too much violent shoulder shaking), but the girl is a twit. She keeps on fainting when things get too emotional, and she keeps walking off by herself and almost getting killed by wildlife, even after repeated warnings. She also doesn't understand his dry sarcastic teasing. Far too sensitive this girl.

I suppose there is a lesson in all of this, like don't take advice from romance novels, but the historian in me just likes to read them for the construction of romance in the late 60s and 70s.


I swear!

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