Completed: 17 November 2010
Brian Busby, from The Dusty Bookcase did a post on this book. It is from that post that I decided to have a go at it. I’m a sucker for a limited edition book.
This is a book that I did not particularly enjoy. From the literary triptych of plot, setting and character we have lots of setting, plenty of character but not much plot. I like plot. Without plot setting and character are pretty dull for me. It’s about story telling for me and without plot you don’t have much of a story.
A protestant minister, Philip Bentley and his wife move to a small prairie town, the latest in a long line of small prairie towns. The story is told from Mrs. Bentley’s perspective. Philip Bentley is a frustrated painter who seems oblivious to the equal frustrations of his wife, who had artistic ambitions of her own which she sacrificed to her husband’s career. I would sum up their relationship as frustrated, sensitise artist uses adoring wife as doormat.
The New Canadian Library (NCL) saw this as a sufficiently important book to reissue it and continue to reprint it to this date. It was one of four titles that were part of the initial release of the NCL. In the first 21 years of NCL (1958-1979) sales were over 118,000 copies. So, out of print for 17 years, the NCL version is finding readers somewhere, probably captive high school students.
Mr. Patrick McEvoy-Halston has nothing but praise for As for Me and My House in his short essay on the book.
 Friskney, Janet B. New Canadian Library, The Ross-McClelland Years 1952-1978. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007, p.197.