Magic Lies: The Art of W.O. Mitchell


359 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-8020-7930-X
DDC C813'.54




Edited by Sheila Latham and David Latham
Reviewed by Lynne Perras

Lynne Perras teaches communication arts at the University of Calgary.


In this collection of essays, a wide range of distinguished
contributors, including academics, fiction writers, directors, and
journalists, celebrate W.O. Mitchell’s illustrious career as a
novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. In their introduction, the
editors describe Mitchell as a “literary figure who has bridged the
divide between academic art and popular culture.” The essays that
follow underscore the point.

The essays in the first section deal with Mitchell’s fiction,
exploring themes and motifs such as sexuality, the quest, and spiritual
growth. Those in the second sections trace Mitchell’s development as a
playwright and examine his writing for radio, television, and stage. The
third, and final, section consists of interviews and personal
recollections—Timothy Findley and Peter Gzowski are among the
contributors—that shed light on Mitchell the craftsman and human

Admirers of Mitchell, be they scholars or general readers, will find
much to admire in this exhaustive collection.


“Magic Lies: The Art of W.O. Mitchell,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 20, 2024,