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A country is not just its people and places, but its stories. On the occasion of Canada’s sesquicentennial, The Globe and Mail has invited a group of writers – from home and abroad – to celebrate the country’s history in fiction. The results will be published throughout the course of 2017.

Paper was fluttering down from the sky. Typed pages, blanks, tickertape, hole puncher confetti, streamers – it was like a blizzard! Where did it come from? Who had been saving it all up over the past five years?

And to think of the trouble we had getting enough paper for Oursonette, Al thought bitterly. We had to grovel, we had to deal, we had to steal, we practically sold our souls. And for what?

Sourpuss, he told himself. It’s the end of the war. You should be happy. Everyone else is.

At least he’d got the day off: around eleven, Canadian Pacific had called it quits. As soon as he stepped out the door he’d found himself shouldering his way through a surging mass of grinning, singing humanity. Women and men were still pouring onto Yonge Street from office buildings and side streets: dozens, hundreds, multiplying by the second. The noise was deafening: drums, bugles, bagpipes, tin horns, rattling New Year’s Eve noisemakers, anything that could be whacked or blown. Hit tunes blared from Victory Loan loudspeakers. Somewhere in the distance – was that a hymn? Abide With Me: doleful enough for him. He wasn’t in the mood for Glenn Miller.


by Margaret Atwood (Online reading only) – 2,300 words

Oursonette by Margaret Atwood