Sean Dixon's Debut Novel a Canadian Anomaly

By Steven Beattie ("The Literary Lad")
That Shakespearean Rag
Notes from a Literary Lad

'The novel is infused with sex and literary in-jokes and the postmodern device of self-reflexive footnotes to spice up the story. But its surface playfulness masks a deeper seriousness: there is death in the novel, and war (the story’s setting, March 2003, uses the backdrop of the U.S. invasion of Iraq to add an archly political aspect), and a recognition of human fragility and loneliness. These themes, which are deeply and inextricably embedded, put the lie to the notion that a Canadian novel must affect a stentorian pose in order to be worthy of consideration. Flannery O’Connor wrote that “all comic novels that are any good must be about matters of life and death”; Sean Dixon would surely agree.

The Girls Who Saw Everything can be read variously as a raucous comedy, a work of literary archaeology, and a wry commentary on our uncertain, postmodern era. But above all, it serves as a welcome corrective to all those who believe that in order to deal with serious subjects, Canadian literature must itself remain unblinkingly serious and remote.'

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