The Torontonians

torontoniansFor an upcoming book club I snagged a copy of The Torontonians, by Phyllis Brett Young.  Originally published in 1960, this is a book of suburban ennui at a time when the city is changing.  Starting with the delivery of a green Chinese carpet, the main character Karen struggles with achieving materially what she wants to achieve.  The start of the suburbs and the world populated only with women while the men all work downtown.

The book feels very contemporary.  The city of Toronto, which seems like a character in the book, continues to grow and change at a rapid rate.  From my recent experiences with the super rich wives of Southern CT, the towns that become all women during the day experience many of the same issues explored in this book.

Mostly I enjoyed a book not set in the late 50s, but a book from the late 50s.  This isn’t told through the pen (or laptop) of a modern writer, trying to inject authenticity.  This book was revolutionary for its time.  It doesn’t set historical context, it is the period.  This isn’t written for people who enjoyed Mad Men.  This was the cutting edge of Canadian literature for the day.

There were definitely moments where I lost track of what was happening, but overall I really enjoyed the book.  It had texture and moved at a different pace.  And I felt like I knew my city better at the end.  I’m looking forward to the book group discussion about the book.

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