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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > December 2017 > This is your life

This is your life

Norman Levine’s collected stories map a nebulous territory between fiction and autobiography

SHORT FICTION

RACHAEL LEVINE

I Don’t Want to Know Anyone Too Well: Collected Stories

Norman Levine

Biblioasis

NORMAN LEVINE (1923–2005) was raised by Orthodox Jews in Ottawa and received his education in Montreal. But he was born in Poland and spent much of his life in England, where he married, started a family, and became a writer. Which is to say that Levine was not really all that Canadian in the first place (his adversarial relationship with the country is on view in his 1958 memoir/travelogue, Canada Made Me). Yet by choosing exile – a status he felt suited his vocation – what might be regarded as Levine’s fundamental Canadian-ness became fortified. Levine’s short fiction, collected in I Don’t Want to Know Anyone Too Well, cannot help but be read as emblematic of our national literature. It is the work of an observant outsider regarding landscapes and buildings, places and culture, others and self.

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