Margaret Laurence's The Diviners, Joy Kogawa's Obasan, and Rudy Wiebe's My Lovely Enemy all offer fictive reconstructions of the history of vanished people on the prairies.1 The Diviners is concerned with nineteenth-century Scottish settlers around the Red River and with the indigenous Metis; Obasan records the experiences of Japanese-Canadians who underwent a peculiarly traumatic form of enforced resettlement in the western provinces during World War II; and My Lovely Enemy is concerned with prairie Indians in the early nineteenth century pre-European colonisation and with Mennonite settlers. These are all regional and historical fictions but curiously, when taken together, they disperse notions of regionalism in the sense of identifiable community, emphasising instead multiplicity and separateness within the geographical space of the prairie. It is true that the historical events they record occupy different time slots over the past one hundred and fifty years, but there is something very odd about western Canada in the way that the prairies 'island people and events in large spaces without swallowing them or synthesising them'.2



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