For seven years (1987-94) John Fraser was editor of the venerable and lively magazine Saturday Night. Working for its controversial owner, Conrad Black (who turned out not to be the bully of popular imagination, as you’ll read in the introduction to the book), Fraser had one tough job – actually six. He had to put out monthly issues, on time; to rescue the magazine from the circulation and economic doldrums it had fallen into; to cajole Canada’s top writers into contributing; to discover and nurture up-and-coming writers; to keep skittish advertisers happy; and to write something smart and fresh for each issue – his Diary.
Thank goodness for the Diary. For while Fraser proved to be a marvellous editor who accomplished all of the above, had the first five been his only tasks, Canada would have lost one of its best writers under piles of manuscripts, phone messages, business plans, and ever-improving circulation figures.
The Diary allowed Fraser to write about whatever was on his mind. Happily, but not surprisingly, his concerns reflected the concerns of most adult Canadians at the end of the century. Now the best and most enduring of his Diaries have been gathered as Saturday Night Lives!
Here, Fraser gives us everything from astute and original takes on Canada’s political and cultural life to savage satires on the depopulation of Atlantic Canada; from comic take-offs of Revenue Canada’s income-tax guides to denunciations of the horrific suppression of China’s democracy movement. (This last Diary won a National Magazine award and fuelled a bitter fight in the House of Commons over trade with China.) Fraser’s wry and whimsical side is also shown in Saturday Night Lives! as he wonders what ever happened to the cherubim and seraphim who once populated the heavens or writes in bewilderment about why he’s stopped raging at Brian Mulroney.
Those who have never before read Fraser’s Diary are in for a treat, and faithful readers of Saturday Night will welcome having the best of the Diaries between two covers.
|Publisher:||McClelland & Stewart Ltd.|
|Product dimensions:||5.77(w) x 8.79(h) x 1.14(d)|
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