Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Neil J. Lehto on Jollimore's Tom Thomson

In my email today, I have this comment about Troy Jollimore's book:

"I note with interest your recent post about Troy Jollimore's book, Tom Thomson in Purgatory, winning the National Book Critics Circle Poetry Award. I saw early report of the nominees and was quite intrigued because I saw nothing in the press reports or online discussion about that Tom Thomson is a Canadian icon. When I learned that Jollimore grew up in Nova Scotia, I wrote to him for comment. Jollimore responded promptly and graciously, confirming the character is drawn from the historical figure. Tom Thomson is Canada's greatest landscape painter. He drowned in Ontario's Canoe Lake under mysterious circumstances in 1917. I recently wrote a book about the subject, Algonquin Elegy: Tom Thomson's Last Spring. The book website is at http://www.alognquinelegy.com/. "

Lehto, writing from Michigan, continues:
"I hesitate to forward from Troy [what he] said about the subject of using a very-wellknown Canadian cultural icon in the book for both himself as a writer raised in Canada in a book published in the United States.For me, my initial interest arose from the title andI read portions of the book at Amazon.com, in part, for its references to TomThomson. I ordered the book a few days ago. Certainly,my experience of the book will be shaped in part by my own knowledge of thecharacter. I am, like, Troy, I suspect, especiallyinterested now to see the if the book gains a Canadian market. (I know verylittle about where the book is now being distributed andhow and when that would happen but read somewhere there were 750 copiesprinted.)"

The book Algonquin Elegy looks quite good, and I need to learn more Canadian lore!