How I Came To Read This Book: My Can Lit university course was divided into Prairie (yawn) and Maritime literature – this play fell into the latter.
The Plot: Beatrice is the daughter of a brutal slave master and his black slave in 19th Century Nova Scotia. Admired by many and considered a great beauty, her father / master rapes her, and Beatrice and her mother conspire to murder said father/master. Pretty simple right?
The Good & The Bad: This play contains some of the most lovely sections of prose I’ve ever read, like a modern-day Shakespeare, particularly when describing Beatrice. Speaking of the playwright, the story also channels many of the elements of Hamlet / MacBeth to make for a great albeit familiar storyline of revenge, murder, incest, and power. The Canadian setting, particularly as we’ve typically been considered a peaceful, non-slave nation, makes for a striking showcase of a dark period in our history that’s perhaps often overlooked. It can be a bit challenging to read at times because it’s not just written in plain old English, but in general this was a good play.
The Bottom Line: An interesting piece of Canadian playwriting.
Anything Memorable?: I wrote my final paper in the course on this book, and I didn’t do very well on it. Let this be a lesson to thee – ALWAYS pick the book that has the most supporting critical literature on it, you will ALWAYS do better with more sources to reference and learn from. Beatrice Chancy is unfortunately a little-known play.
50-Book Challenge?: Nope.