176 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 1-55365-113-8
DDC 362.196'9940092





Reviewed by Naomi Brun

Naomi Brun is a freelance writer and a book reviewer for The Hamilton


Douglas Coupland is a Canadian artist, novelist, and social commentator.
He has achieved great critical acclaim for works such as All Families
Are Psychotic, Hey Nostradamus, Generation X, and Souvenir of Canada 1
and 2. Twenty-five years after the death of Canada’s most famous
runner, Coupland has chosen to focus his latest work on the life of
Terry Fox.

Every Canadian knows the story of Terry Fox: a childhood characterized
by a close-knit family and a love of sports, a cancer diagnosis in his
late teens, a commitment to raise awareness about cancer so that a cure
might be found, a cross-country run that ended near Thunder Bay, and a
tragic death shortly after. We know the tale so well that its power to
touch our hearts has been somewhat diminished—a sad side effect of the
passage of time.

Coupland succeeds in making Terry’s quest new for Canadians again.
Using his artist’s eye and writer’s voice, he blends images and
words together to create a high-impact tribute to the life and work of
Terry Fox. Fans of Coupland will recognize the format from Souvenir of
Canada 1 and 2, where he was somehow able to make a vinegar bottle seem
patriotic. In Terry, the mixed-media approach serves to make Fox’s
cancer more real to the reader. Page 106, for instance, features a
life-sized photograph of a golf ball, and page 107 shows a life-sized
photograph of a lemon. Coupland asks the reader to hold the book up at
chest level to see the size of the bone cancer that spread into
Terry’s lungs. When a visual is that gripping, its message becomes
impossible to forget.

Coupland’s style makes other elements of Fox’s life stand out as
being equally important. Fox’s determination, for instance, can’t be
missed in his journals and photographs, and neither can the love of
Canadians in their letters to Terry. When we, as readers, are able to
sift through all the memorabilia photographed in this book, the beauty
of Terry’s life is made fresh, and continues to hold all the
inspiration it first did when Terry started his run a quarter century


Coupland, Douglas., “Terry,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 29, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/15509.