About this book
Crafted from archival material, interviews, memories, and bankers’ boxes of papers sent to the author during the years before her death, Fred Flahiff's Always Someone to Kill the Doves: A Life of Sheila Watson is the portrait of a woman shaped by her times, by her turbulent marriage, by the clarity of genius, and by her Catholic upbringing. With the gentle touch of an old friend, Flahiff provides a poignant insight into the woman, the westerner, and the writer. Best known for her modernist novel The Double Hook and for her part in creating the literary magazine White Pelican, Watson led a life as rich and complex as her finest literary creation.
"This is a moving and well-researched account of the ground that produced the remarkable figure we know as Sheila Watson, here not simply a figure but the complex and anguished intelligence whose fiction brought a startling modernism to Canadian literature. Fred Flahiff's method of tracing the whole from shards creates a vivid portrait of Sheila Watson set within the central dilemma of her life. Sheila herself speaks most vividly as the heart of this account in her remarkable diary entries written in Paris, 1955–56."
"Sheila Watson entrusted Fred Flahiff with her ‘life,’ and he proves worthy of the trust. We have a double treat here: at last we get to read Watson’s Paris journal of 1955, and Flahiff’s responsible account of her time on earth. She made the right choice when she sent him her letters and journals and manuscripts. Sheila Watson’s writing is immeasurably important to our culture, and a challenge to anyone who would try to place it in that context. This is a book we have needed on our shelves."
"Flahiff cannot compete with the compelling eloquence of Watson's prose, but he is able to add another dimension to her story by grounding her in the contexts in which she moved. The book is thus equally devoted to those people whose artistic careers were shaped by her experimentations in form and voice. Well-known writers like Michael Ondaatje, George Bowering, bp Nichol, Miriam Mandel and Roy Kiyooka add texture to Watson's story as Flahiff situates her in a time of significant Canadian literary output."