CBC’s annual book debate Canada Reads is now a contest between a book from Atlantic Canada and another from Quebec.
The book representing B.C. and the Yukon — Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese, a novel about the legacy of residential schools as seen through one man’s life — was eliminated in Wednesday’s edition.
Olympic wrestler Carol Huynh had put up a spirited defence of the book, but in the end, two panellists voted to turf it, while two others voted against the Lisa Moore novel February.
Newfoundland comedian Trent McClellan, who is defending Moore's book, was left to cast the deciding vote — and favoured his own choice.
The two books still in contention are:
- Representing Quebec, Two Solitudes by Hugh MacLennan. Published in 1945, Two Solitudes tells the story of the Tallard family — Athanase Tallard is an aristocratic French-Canadian and his beautiful wife Kathleen is of Irish heritage, while their son Paul is torn between French and English cultures. Defended by actor Jay Baruchel.
- Representing Atlantic Canada, February by Moore. A Newfoundland woman’s life is shattered by the sinking of the Ocean Ranger and the death of her husband, Cal. In the years afterward, she struggles to raise her children and move on. Defended by McClellan.
CBC’s annual, Canada-wide book debate officially got underway Monday morning with novels from five regions vying for the hearts and minds of readers.
In 2013, the annual book battle returned to fiction, after dabbling with non-fiction last year. However, Canada Reads: Turf Wars pits titles from the country's different regions against each other.
Hockey Night in Canada's Ron Maclean, representing the Prairies & the North, was the first panellist to see his book eliminated on Monday. He had been championing David Bergen's The Age of Hope. It follows the life of Hope Koop, a woman born in a small Manitoba town, who leads a safe, predictable life as a wife and mother, all the while pondering the meaning and importance of her quiet existence.
Away, Jane Urquhart’s novel about an Irish immigrant family adapting to life in Canada, was eliminated Tuesday, after three panellists voted it out. The book had been defended by author Charlotte Gray.
The debates started months ago, as readers in five regions of the country put forward their favourite novels set in their own province to be considered for Canada Reads. By Thursday, the five panellists will have chosen a single book as this year's champion.
Jian Ghomeshi hosts Canada Reads, which continues through Thursday, on CBC Radio One at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., with a live stream and chat online at CBC Books.