Saturday, 27 July 2013

Will Ferguson

Will Ferguson is a fascinating author and deserves a page of his own.  I was anxious to read "419" because I had read two books by Will and really enjoyed them.  I knew he was a talented man.  But I didn't realize the extent of his talent.
Will was born on a trading post- Fort Vermillion, Alberta.  He has lived in different parts of Canada, working for Katimavik and Canada World Youth.  He studied film production and screenwriting.  For five years, he taught English in Japan.  He married there, and returned to Canada, where he experienced severe reverse culture shock, resulting in his first trilogy of books.
I have read the first in that series: "Why I Hate Canadians".  It is basically his observations on Canadian history and culture.  But his humour makes it such fun to read.  I loved that book!  It won the Giller Prize in 2012.
I have also read his book that was originally titled "Generica".  The title later changed to "Happiness", which really captures the essence of the book.  It is a parody of self-help books- a very clever concept!
It raises many questions-basically: Do we experience happiness or the pursuit of happiness?  What if every self-help book could lead to happiness?  What would happen if people were truly happy? Can you really experience happiness without sadness?  Is underlying sadness what makes us human?
A very clever man- right?  Such diversity in his writing!  He has written 13 books and won 14 awards, including the Leacock Medal for Humour.  He was on the panel for Canada Reads in 2003.
He currently lives in Calgary.  What will Will think of next?

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