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Monday, March 3, 2008

Jane Rule

For those who do not know, Jane Rule, who recently died, was born in the United States and for many years was the only openly lesbian writer in Canada. Her most famous novel, Desert of the Heart, was the basis for the film Desert Hearts.

The latest issue of Curve magazine contains a tribute to Jane by Lee Lynch. When I think of the previous generation of lesbian writers, I think of Lee Lynch, in the same way she thinks of Jane Rule. Lynch quotes Rule on the various ways in which she was identified as a writer: Canadian, American, lesbian, and six feet tall. So it seems appropriate that there is also a quote from "Canadian poet J. E. Knowles." If it was good enough for Jane Rule, why not identify as binational? Genre is fluid...

I just finished reading Rule's second novel, This Is Not For You. It's one of those times I'm glad not to be a book reviewer, because my first reaction was "Whoa." The novel is not set in Canada, has only one Canadian character, yet there's something very Canadian about it. The bleakness of the character and her outlook work in wonderful counterpoint with wry observations about human beings, so sharp I felt I could cut my fingers on the page. The book's back in print now with Insomniac Press.

A Jane Rule archive may be found at Xtra!

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