The Last Time I Saw Jane

Description

248 pages
$19.95
ISBN 0-316-72248-0
DDC C813'.54

Year

1996

Contributor

Reviewed by Sarah Robertson

Sarah Robertson is an associate editor of the Canadian Book Review
Annual.

Review

This ambitious but ultimately disappointing novel comprises three
thematically linked narratives. The first concerns the affair between
Audrey, a London-based Canadian journalist, and Jack, a black American
Don Juan who inevitably betrays Audrey by sleeping with her
Calcutta-born friend Shereen. The second narrative chronicles Audrey’s
high-school and university days; here she plays consolation prize in yet
another triangle, this one involving Jane and their teacher, David. The
third narrative traces the life of fur trader and colonial governor
James Douglas and his half-Cree wife, Amelia. These historical figures
are a welcome change from the bloodless and emotionally bankrupt
characters who inhabit Pullinger’s contemporary landscapes. Her novel
treats its central themes of race, alienation, and the precariousness of
personal identity with a transparent schematism that is underscored
rather than obscured by the use of multiple narratives. While the James
Douglas story is of intrinsic interest, The Last Time I Saw Jane as a
whole is less than the sum of its parts.

Citation

Pullinger, Kate., “The Last Time I Saw Jane,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 16, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/5172.