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Lethbridge Herald {Newspaper} - 1974-01-05,Lethbridge, Alberta A collection of brief book reviews Silurd«^ Jinuary 5,1974—THE LETHIMDOE HERALD—9 “After” by Robert Aadenoa (Rudoni Ho«ie of Cauida, ».K. 3U pitn). Robert Aitderson is known as a playwright (Tea and Sym< pathy and 1 Never Sang for My Father). “After" is his first novel. In the story Andersm deal's with the theme of bereavement. How does a man cope with the death of his wife*^ Christopher Lârson surely cannot he the “typical" widower but perhaps his experiences and responses parallel those of more men than one would think. He seems somehow overly anxious to get back into the swing ot things and one soon detects touchés of the dramatic and the phoney in his expressions ol grief. One's sympathy for the man is soon dissipated by the.'near-disgust created by the essential self-centredness of a man who fails to recognize his son's need and who would use the infatuation of a young girl to anoint his damaged ego ' Perhaps some men would find m the bocdi a measure of comfort. Some women may find themselves so threatened by the message ot the book that they will seek every possible means to outlive their husbands. ELSPETH WALKER “A Perfectly Natural Act" by Dennis Littrell (Longman Canada Limited, 220 pages, $8.25». The beginning and end of this story are quite interesting but the middle part makes me wonder how it ever got published. John Schofield murders his wife, ,then realizes he’s inr visible, so there’s little danger of apprehension. We then have a series of flashbacks detailing John’s premarital sexual exploits plus a blow by blow account of invisible John’s attempts at visible rape. A waste of good talent — the author’s, not the invisible man’s. TERRY MORRIS “The Fur-Hned Mousetrap” by G. Northcote Parkinson (Leviathan House Ltd., $6.75, 109 pages, distributed by Grifltn House). No new laws are forthcoming by Parkinson in this collection of a dozen essays but the same disdain for ignorance in high places that led to the formulating of his famous laws informs these pieces. Much of what he has to say strike responsive chords, ina>eople with general- »jpeople with general Jeanings 0iTTiasr.oAl essay oi .on &f-in''Whidi he' recounts some good jokes by way of illustration, hut humor is not much in evidence in the rest of whqt he writes, DOUG WALKER “Letters to Felice” by Franz Kafka (Schocken Books). j Although this book is not likeh to command a wide public interest it does provide a ver\ interesting msight into the mind ol one of the most mlroverted and mysterious writers ot this century Fran^ Kalka was a Czech writer who torsaw the horrors of police states automation and conceniration camps before the .Second World War. This book ot startling love letters to Felice Bauer covers the live most critical years of his hie. 1912 to 1917 ' Now that some of his works are being included in high school and college English lexts it IS tascmatmg to read hi.s letters which reveal so much ol his attitudes on life, art'and the origins of his symbols and style of writing ■Anyone w ho wishes to come to an interpretation of Kafka will iind this book invaluable. LEONARD ATWOOD "The October Men,” by John Mills (Oberon, $6.»5 cloth, $3.50 paper, 178 pages). Neither humor nor crime has ever had much place In the Canadian novel; this novel brings the two together in an exultant, satirical descent into the pettiness and savagery of the Montreal underworld. From this vantage point a small-time con man wittily pursues his story from significant successes to cowering fright in a Lauren-tian hideaway. The reader will be more interested in what Marcus Smith has to say than in what is rather tediously happening to him. And what he has to say is very, very funny, by turns coarse, ribald and cleverly perceptive. Despite the title the novel has very little to do with the October crisis. It almost seems that this strain in tbe story was appended as a promotion gimmick. But in a more general sense the title describes those “men and women who live by and respond to the dramatic, the peak experience.” The response, mingling in the narrator’s view the saintly and the poetic, makes frenzied and hilarious reading. LAUSlE RICOU “How the Weather Wai” by Roger Kahn (Harper & Row, |8, 211 pages, distributed by Fltzbenry & Whiteside). The tremendous reception given to The Boys of Summer, a book'about the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team in tbe early 50s when Jackie Robinson was breaking the color barrier, prompted the collecting of the 14 profiles and articles in this book. It would be an enlightening experience for people who have narrowly confined interests to read these superbly written pieces about baseball players, musicians and writers. Who would guess that a man who earned his spurs as a newspaper sports writer could do such a perceptive job of digging into violinist Jascha Heifetz and poet Robert Frost as is evidenced here? Roger _Kabn exhibits both class and compassion in his writing. I think the pieces in this collection should have borne the dates of their composition but that is a minor , complaint. DOUG WALKER “The Griiily” by Annabel and Edgar Johnson. (Harper and Row Publishers, Inc. 160 pages, $1.45, distributed by Fltzbenry & Whiteside Ltd.). A surprisingly interesting tale, full of adventure and tenderness. The suspense builds well as the authors pit timid David against the overpowering spirit of his father and the awesome reality of the Grizzly. Only one hint in regards to reading the book don't read the summary on the back cover first, unless \ou want to get the whole story in one paragraph. GARRY ALLISON ./Tuc Trappers Last Shot” by John Yonnt (Random House of Canada Ltd. $7.95, 236 pages). The Trappers Last Shot is a compelling, down-to-earth novel combining poverty, greed and the basic snima! instinct of us all for survival. John Yount creates for his readers the individual traits of two brothers who are distinctly different In what they value yet very much alike in their ultimate goal of security. Set in the early 1960s in the slate of North Carolina we meet Beau Jim and Dan Early in a depressing hick town that IS tom with racial prejudice. Beau Jim, the younger of the brothers, tries on various life styles as some people try on new shoes, while Dan thinks the only security in his life is owning his own land and working it to overcome his poverty. Surprisingly enough it is Beau Jim who finds his peace and security in this world while Dan is pushed off the brink of sanity to find his peace in the next life. SYLVIA JOEVENAZZO tions for adjusting recipes to serve fewer or more pe(^te — It doesn't always work just to divide or multiply the ingredients given for a basic dish. She adapts specialty dishes served in prominent American restaurants so if the Galloping Gourmet in your house is interested in creating Langosta a Ja Mallorquina or Gazpacho or even something more ordinary like Turnips au Gratin this might be just tbe right gift. ELSPETH WALKER The Homesteaders by Robert J. C. Stead (University of Toronto Press, 347 pages, $4.50). A best seller of 1916 returns in paperback. In it we follow intently the adventures of John Harris, who leaves teaching for homesteading. With his wife Mary, he departs from Ontario to join the westbound trek, travelling by train, then wagon till he reaches the wilds of Manitoba. There midst trials and hardships of pioneer life, they build their first home; a sod shanty. After a lapse of 25 years a prosperous farmer Infected by greed emerges. Through family conflict we are transported to Alberta where we meet a new breed, the rancher and confidence man, and enter the most gripping part of the novel. Though tbe style of writing is dated, it is enduring. Once started, this book cannot be put down. ELSIE MORRIS “Froc Fables aad Beaver Tale«*’ by Staaley Burke, illustrated by Roy PetertM, (James Lewis maA Samuel, $3.H, 44 pages). Books about the struggle of Canadians to free themselves from American domination are seldom, the kind of thing you read because you need a laugh. Well, Stanley Burke and Roy Peterson don't give their readers outrageous chuckles, but sardonic smiles as they spin a tale of poor hapless beavers, beset on all sides by unforgiving frogs, and rapacious eagles — which by the way. seem to appear in every one of Peterson's illustrations. .After tracing the torturous course of Canadian history to a luture point when all internal problems are happily resolved. Burke and Peterson ofl-handedly tell us that the eagles drain the swamp. Bound in the same manner as a children's book, it's possible to be fooled for several pages that what you are reading is really an innocuous story about beavers and other swamp animals. Has James Lewis and Samuel decided against publishing books that tred on the toes of the Canadian establishment in favor of kiddies' books'* No fear, the boiA. steps hard on the toes of the nasty eagles and says some uncomplimentary things about our politicians too — all in a lighthearted. but still very serious way. _ ^ It's a book that might very well make a good present for a small child — on first reading the drawings will provoke laughter and the story will simply appear a cute fable. Some time later, the sub-tlies will become apparent, and as a final benefit, when the eagles do drain the swamp, you can at least say you've given your children adequate warning. WARREN CARAGATA THE VOICE OF ONE A rare moment of quiet Photo by R.B. Walter Kerber Author examines new cults "Cooking in a Casserole” by Robert Ackart (Grosset & Dunlap, distributed by George J. McLeod. Limited, $7. »5, 334 pages). “The Cookbook lo Serve 2, 6 or 24” by Barbara Kraus (Quadrangle, distributed by Fitihenry & Wbiteside, $10.30, 34« pages). These are two specialty cookbooks which the home economics major or the home food connoisseur might like to add to the kitchen recipe shelf For the novice, there are available many other basic cookbooks which would provide more information at a more reasonable price. The first book does not contain the run'or-the-mill casserole recipes designed to make hamburger look like beef stroganoff. The one-dish meals are skillful combinations of good meat, vegetables and spices. Suggestions are given for the accompanying menu and there are many hints for increasing or decreasing the recipes and for freezing the leftovers Barbara Kraus' book attempts to provide instnic- “Cults of Unreason” by Dr. Christopher Evans (Harrap, $11.25, 264 pages, distributed by Clarke, Irwin & Company Limited). New that the University of Lethbridge has pioneered in the field of bestowing honorary degrees on people who venture beyond the accepted pale of academic thought there are all sorts of possibilities for nominations in the future. To the name of Immanuel Velikovsky can be added the names of people dealt with in this latest book by British experimental psychologist Dr. Christopher Evans, Worthy of consideration are the following: L. Ron Hubbard, a brave pioneer in the exploration of the human mind, discoverer of Dianetics and founder of Scientology: Desmond Leslie and George Adamski, who collaborated in a work that shifted interest in Unidentified Flying Objects from quasl-serious science fiction into Ufology; George de la Warr, courageous investigator of radionics and inventor of a box for diagnostic purposes; Wilhelm Reich, discoverer of orgone and inventor of th« Orgone Accumulator; George Ivanovich Gurdjleff, one of the first to bring the blessings of Eastern mysticism to the West, There are those who will be offended by the suggestion that Velikovsky bekmgs to the company just mentioned Yet the fact that he is frequently confused today with Erich Von Daniken. purveyor of a lot of nonsense about extraterrestrial vistations, is indicative of how perilously close he stands to such dubious leaders of thought. And if Velikovsky’s theory of planetary collisions is of secondary importance to his example of persistence in the face of ostracism by the academic world, as the basis for being granted an honorary degree, then his association with Wilhelm Reich ought not to be considered outrageous. Reich had even better credentials as a martyr, having died in prison after defying authority in loyalty to his convictions about the usefulness of his Orgone Accumulator. Perhaps the clearest connection of Velikovsky with the cult groups is found in the way he and they employ the Bible and other ancient literature to support their cases. Evans mentions a Jewish theologian, claiming 15 years’ study in theology, who held that "the Book of Moses is an accurate account of an encounter between a small group of people living in the Middle East and a race of space beings." He also mentions the interpretation of a vision by Ezekiel as a UFO sighting. That’s not much worse than Velikovsky's fanciful use of the Old Testament. Then there is the assertion of Desmond Leslie that the first interplanetary Do you call this progress? Frightening because unjustified and unproved, James Michmer In U.S. News and World Report is full of a cheery, sentimental optimism over today’s youth, though he has some reservations. Me believes that 85 per cent of the drifters will come back into a productive pattern, that young people want to humanize and not abolish work, and regards with an uncomfortable complacency tbe violence among today’s youth, a retellion against all discipline of which the casual profanity is one symptom. More disturbing is the family decay with young people living together without ritual, without responsibility, in sexual indulgence where anything goes. Pornographic literature describes a deadly state of public mind. Abortion is available on whim In any city in Canada. Instead of youth being in revolt against materialism, they are the most materialistic in world history. As Lewis Mumford said America has produced a new race with healthy and sometimes beautiful bodies, but whose objectives in life is insignificant sensation, eating, drinking, marrying, bearing children, and going to their graves in a state best described as “hilarious anaesthesia.” . Western civilization is in a state of dwindling vitality, moral abdication, economic collapse, and political bewilderment. Permissive schools often lack even a curriculum because education is flying blind Churches are emptied as youth turn to Sunday sports and athletic spectacles, all reminiscent ot Rome in decline. The hearts of great citites have the stench of death on them. Is this progress, the giant.corporation, the mass man, the mass-hypnosis of television, the corruption of the public mind, the drug culture, the growth of police control, 'the depersonalizing of individuals into .statistics, and the amorality of public life? Once thought mad, Guryi'eff in “All and Everything” now seems to make sound sense as he mocks at civilization and progress as meaningless words. “Progress Is nonsense,” also agreed Balzac. Bergson similarly philosophized, “Humanity groans, half crushed under the burden of the progress it has made.” ■ That giant Swiss personality, Dr. Paul Toumier, maintains that “one must be blinded by prejudice not to see that progress is a myth.” He contends that it is a lie to assert that belief in progress and evolution are the result of an objective and scientific examination of tbe facts. Altlwugh utterly ridiculous the dogma of evolution and frequently the mechanical, materialist evolutiiHi orthodox in Conununlst education is taught in Canadian schools usually as an established fact. Professor Lemoine, curator of the Paris Museum, gave the current scientific point of view, “Evolution is a kind of dogma in which its priests no longer believe, but which they preserve for the people.” “Our belief in evolution,” held Lecomte de nouy, “is at the moment still far more Intuitive, or metaphysical, rather than scientific, in origin.” Mark Twain in 1857 wrote a letter to Walt Whitman which would, if written today, be the funniest thing that funny man ever said. After listing the advances of civilization — the printing press, the steamship, the railroad, the cotton gin, the telegraph, and other inventions — the humorist predicted greater marvels and, greatest of all, “Man at almost his full stature at last. Wait until you see that great figure appear §nd catch the far glintofthesun upon his banner; then you may depart satisfied, as knowing you have seen him for whom the earth was made.” What rodomontade rott As Muggerldge asks, what minds have we to compare with Paul, Augustine; or Aquinas, and be could have asked what poet vhave we to compare with Homer, or artist with Phidias, or philosopher with Plato? Is the average well-educated gentleman more urbane and interesting than the average Athenian in the time of Pericles? J. H. Plumb in the summer edition of Horizon, 1972, holds that “If mankind fails to find new institutions that enable him to cope with industrialized life, then there could be a retreat, and a very sharp retreat, from scientific, technological, urban civilization.” Yet he illogically clings to the faith that mankind is in the throes of social evolution, the discredited idea that man by some mechanistic, unexplained mutation and his own intelligence could evolve to divine perfection. 'There is abundant evidence to the exact contrary. If, as the materialist biologist and advocate of transformism, Jean Rostand, says, “The facts forbid us to believe in the inheritance of physical modifications,” the facts also forbid us to believe that civilization is evolving to a higher social development. SATURDAY TALK ■ By Norman Smith ^Let’s get something 1 can play’ vessel arrived on earth from Venus in the year 18,617,841 B.C. — a date calculated from the ancient Brahmin tables (the Brahmins were exceedingly accurate people, according to Leslie). Not surprisingly, Velikovsky doesn't mention that ancient source because he was intent on establishing that Venus didn’t come into existence until 1500 B.C. It is difficult not to succumb to sarcasm when dealing with cults of unreason. Christopher Evans succumbs but his sarcasm is not savage and will entertain all but the ardent believer. The fact is that Evans ends up being fairer (about Scientology, at least) than his reporting would lead the reader to expect. He even acknowledges that readers may be surprised “to find that after highlighting the absurdities, inconsistencies and smoky background of Scientology,” he concludes without giving it a "wholehearted thumbs-down.” The purpose of the book—to enquire why cults gain a following—seems to me to be largely submerged in the enterprise of describing their history and essence. Some useful suggestions are made but they need to be developed at greater length because the repudiation of reason at this advanced stage of human development is surely of considerable interest and importance. DOUG WALKER The passage between the old year and the New Year is a bit tricky to' negotiate for we are obliged to look in both directions at the same time. It’s perhaps significant that we usually spell old year that way but put capital letters of hope and homage on New Year. I don’t think a slur or spite is held against the past, it’s just that we’ve grown accustomed to the old and treat the New one vrith awe — perhaps hoping thereby it will treat us well. The question is; Will WE treat IT well? Lest 1 have developed a tiresome habit of preaching I assure my parishioners I haveifo sermon. Just a good Canadian story evok^ by the turning of the page. Early visitors this year will be our new Governor-General and his wife, bringing their own lively and sensitive distinctions to the office three Canadians have already served so well. But as they come, so wilt the Micheners go, carrying with them all the truck they will have to move from Rideau Hall but also the sincere respect and gratitude their very iijman and devoted service has won from every (^nadian. May I recall simply one incident of the service? At 8:30 one Sunday morning in April of 1969 the Governor-General and his party bucked the wind across the tarmac of Resolute Bay, in the Arctic, to board their plane for Alert, that top most post hard by the North Pole. An officer told us “The starter won’t work.” “Very well,” said Mr. Michener, “we’ll go to church.” About an hour later a few of us piled into bombardiers on wheel and ski and slashed and bumped three miles from the modem transport base down to the old Eskimo village on the shore. As we reached the tiny settlement one woman was shovelling the night’s snowdrift away from the top half of her window to let some light in. The little church, 40 by 30 feet, took the visit in stride, its ei^t pews managed us all — about 30 including the residents — and the space heater kept us more than warm. Before the service the villagers were chatting informally with Their Excellencies when his eye spotted an old pump organ. Did anyone play It? he asked. No, none did. Well, he would. ’There was whispered talk with John Ekalook, the minister, about the music, “Let’s get something I can play,” said Mr. Michener. He was in slacks and green turtle neck sweater and sport coat. Mrs. Michener in black slacks, black sweater and black veil over her hair. They sat in the front bench, except tliat when it came time for a hymn he would walk to the little pedal organ, an old veteran made in Brantford a thousand years ago — the organ, I mean. It squeaked historically as he pumped It, but his playing was just fine. The Anglican service followed its usual course but entirely in Eskimo, the natives having prayer and hymn books in their language. Towards the end the sun cp(ne out and threw a sheen on the sealskin carpets and altar cloths, and on the shiny dark forehead of the baby in his mother’s arms working on a bottle of milk. ‘The lay reader had a fine ring to his prayers and seemed not in the least selfconscious in this sudden prominence Eskimos are not a fidgety lot The minister said a few words of welcome, ably translated to the congregation by an Eskimo reporter Jonah Kelly. One sentence had the power and simplicity of a stone-carving- “You have come a long way and I hope that you will remain in the hand of God ” “All people that on earth do dwell,” we sang, with a new understanding of the words, and all the verses of “God Save the Queen ” while the red-coated Mountie stood like a telephone pole; and “Jerusalem the Golden, with milk and honey blest.. . the pastures of the blessed are decked in glorious sheen.” Green pastures, or clean clear snow and ice; I wondered what the Eskimos envisaged? As we struggled into our heavy clothes and all talked together, smile talk, and as we filed out the tiny door the 20 Eskimos shook hands with the new village organist and his wife. More snow had fallen and piled as the Micheners drove on about the Queen’s business, heading for the world's most northerly settlement with Ekalook's prayer that they “remain in the hand of God.” I like to think that they might remember that prayer when they leave on January 9, and know that Canadians would say “Amen” to it and with thanks And I like to think that as a cheery and relaxed attitude for 1974 we’ll all borrow from time to time Mr Michener’s approach; “Let's gel something I can play.” Welcome Canadian promise From The Great Falls Tribune In the current tense days that have been caused by the Arab oil boycott,it's gratifying to note that our closest friend and best customer, Canada, is reacting as an understanding friend aifd neighbor. Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau said his nation plans no substantial reductions in exports to the United Sutes. “We are friends, and friends care about each other’s problems," the Canadian Prime Minister declared. The sympathetic attitude of Canada is especially significant beoivse Canada itself has an energy problem. It is being forced to increase prices on gasoline and heating oil and has ordered that a mandatory fuel rationing program at the wholesale level will go Into effect early next year. The neighborly help Canada will give the U.S. during the energy crisis will strengthen the already strong bonds of friendship between the two nations. Such bonds should never be strained by ill considered or unfair actions by the United States A friendly nation such as Canada is really a jewel. ;