July 11, 2014 at 9:07 AM

Farley Mowat's Passing

July 11, 2014 at 9:07 AM

Along with many other Canadians, I was saddened to hear of the passing of Farley Mowat at the beginning of May, shortly before his 93rd birthday.  I’ve always enjoyed his books, whether he was writing about Arctic wildlife or his traumatic experiences as a combat soldier during World War II.  Mowat had a Canadian sense of humor and always treated with respect the creatures he observed and the landscape.  He also defended the environment, untiring even in the most tiring predicaments.

A few years ago, Saturday Night Magazine published some nitpicking triviality in regard to how sometimes verifiable facts and Mowat’s writings didn’t always match.  In response he declared that, “his métier lay somewhere in between what was then a grey void between fact and fiction.”[1]  His answer was sound.  Ultimately, he told stories well, and like any other writer he used settings familiar to him.  Who cares if The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be lacks a certificate of authenticity?  Farley Mowat’s a superior writer because he eludes anybody confining him into fiction or non-fiction categories.

Altogether, like Maya Angelou, when I heard both had passed I said, “I know they were old, but some people ought to live forever.” 

 - S. Noël McKay, author of Stony Point (fall 2014)

[1] “Farley Mowat Dead at 92: Award Winning Author was also a noted Environmentalist: CBC News Web Article posted May 7, 2014

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