Back in Toronto

On November 30th (St. Andrew’s Day, a big day for haggis-eaters everywhere), I was lucky enough to be the first speaker in a lunch series hosted by the Literary Review of Canada and the Gardiner Museum, which provided the venue. At the top floor’s southwest corner we all gathered in a pleasant room with tables and chairs arrayed before the screen.

While people munched through their paper-bag lunch (yes, it was a brown bag), I whizzed through the Tony Jenkins caricatures, then asked the audience for suggestions about which authors they’d like to hear about. The questions came thick and fast (they always do) and I was able to be a polar bear gutting James Houston’s husky or Morley Callaghan knocking down Ernest Hemingway, and so on.

At the end I signed a dozen copies or so. As I was leaving my signing place, compliments still ringing in my ears, I was approached by an elderly member of my audience. I stooped graciously to accept her comments.  “I notice,” she said, severely, “that frequently you use ‘who’ when it should be ‘whom.’  ‘Who’ is the subjective, and ‘whom’ the objective case.”

I thanked her, as objectively as I could.

Literary Review of Canada: “His is a straining intelligence, ever onward”

Stories About Storytellers has been positively reviewed in the Literary Review of Canada. Reviewer John Burns writes,

“Relives in 21 chapters the (few) perils and (many) pleasures of life in Canadian publishing. It is filled with markers of not just editorial diligence . . . but also a life well lived: friends drawn around a well-fortified table, scenes of children (Gibson’s and authors) playing soccer under indulgent supervision, much travel and adventure (usually to badger authors or celebrate their wins — or both) and even more hijinks. . . .

Let us celebrate Gibson’s enthusiasms. . . .  [and] Gibson’s gleeful encounters with Hugh MacLennan, Morley Callaghan, W.O.Mitchell, Pierre Trudeau, Robertson Davies, Peter Gzowski and others – all dead now, all fixed in the amber of the past.

Gibson is too bright, too spirited and too gentlemanly to prefer the past merely for its own sake. His is a straining intelligence, ever onward, as these accounts plainly show. . . .

With this book he reveals a little of the ugly duckling turned swan himself.”