Norman Levine

Norman Levine, short story writer, novelist (b at Ottawa, Ont 22 Oct 1923; d at Darlington, England 14 June 2005).

Levine, Norman

Norman Levine, short story writer, novelist (b at Ottawa, Ont 22 Oct 1923; d at Darlington, England 14 June 2005). The author of 8 short story collections and 2 novels, Levine was raised in Ottawa's Lower Town, served overseas in the RCAF during WWII, and attended McGill University (BA, 1948; MA 1949). In 1949 he returned to England, where he lived until 1980.

Like much of his subsequent work, his first novel, The Angled Road (1952), contains autobiographical material; the book's protagonist is a young man who breaks from his parents' world, joining the RCAF and later entering university. In 1956 Levine returned to Canada for 3 months, making a cross-country journey that furnished the material for his controversial Canada Made Me (1958), which is part autobiography and part observation of contemporary Canadian life. The work, harshly critical of his native land, did not appear in a Canadian edition until 1979. His volumes of short stories include One Way Ticket (1961), I Don't Want to Know Anyone Too Well (1971), Thin Ice (1979) and Something Happened Here (1991).

Levine's protagonists seek enduring sources of consolation in a daily existence fraught with transience, loss and uncertainty. In From a Seaside Town (1970), his second novel, a Canadian Jew struggles to eke out an existence in an English seaside town as a travel writer. Having spent a lifetime attempting to submerge his past, he discovers that he belongs nowhere, a crisis of identity that leads to self-scrutiny and the writing of a book of "confessions." Levine has also published a small amount of poetry, collected in Myssium (1948), The Tight-Rope Walker (1950) and I Walk by the Harbour (1976).