DANCING ON THE SHORE by Harold Horwood

DANCING ON THE SHORE

A Celebration of Life at Ann
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A sometimes sensitive, sometimes sententious paean to the natural world as seen through the eyes of a New Age Canadian writer. When Horwood confines himself to reporting on the wonders he discovers around his home in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Basin--a colony of gray seals that inhabit a nearby island every summer, a red squirrel that once stashed cookies all over the author's house--his writing is evocative and keenly observed. But, unfortunately, he has larger concerns on his mind--nothing less than the future of the universe--and when he turns his attention to these matters, his writing becomes diffuse, metaphorical, and puzzling. He speculates, for example, on "flue possibility of a conscious, self-reflective solar system," and foresees an evolutionary process by which today's computers may be transformed into "electronic life. . .fed only by available rations of starshine." Even when he is confining his remarks to less esoteric concerns, Horwood's enthusiasm for the world's animal population occasionally leads him to excess zeal--e.g., his statement that "I'm not at all sure that the German gas ovens or the American nuclear bombing of Japan were any more appalling than the destruction of the buffalo or the extermination of the passenger pigeon." Moreover, the tone he adopts in recounting his rejection of guns and hunting rings with sanctimony. When he boasts, "I have discovered in my own children not the slightest urge to hunt or kill anything," for instance, he fails to consider that this trait might also be just as "cultural" as the urge to hunt that he finds so offensive in others. Satisfying in its evocations of life on Canada's Atlantic seaboard; but in its more metaphysical passages, this is largely an exercise in Aquarian pretentiousness.

ISBN: 525-24736-X
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:




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