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Victoria Glendinning wouldn't be the first person to go glassy-eyed after reading her way through a year's worth of fiction from Canada, or from any other country for that matter. I certainly would not leap at the opportunity to do so.

And there may well be some merit in her comments on "Canadian culture," though I suspect that more of us are at least resigned to, if not privately pleased about, those little irritants that make us different from the British or the Americans. Personally, I eschew the toque, though the Muskoka chair does exert an attraction. Maybe a little maple syrup might have softened her outlook.

What strikes, however, is the timing of her opinion piece, given that the process of choosing a winner is supposedly still ongoing, and that tradition holds that the judges appear at the Prize Gala. You would have thought that a year's worth of Canadian fiction might have impressed upon her that manners matter to us, and that we consider politeness a proud Canadian trait.

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Ms Glendinning may find that a trifle quaint as well.

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