The Miramichi Reader Review of Dream City

The Miramichi Reader Review

of The Girl from Dream City, by  Linda Leith.

Reviewed by James M. Fisher, March 14, 2021

Reading through the book, it is easy to see why Linda Leith prefers the word ‘essay’ (“an attempt at approximating what really happened”) over ‘memoirs’ for this is not a retrospectively detailed account of her life; rather it is more of a forward-looking overview with the focus on her working toward the goal of being a writer, similar to her favourite authors such as Doris Lessing, Samuel Beckett, Mavis Gallant and others.

Ms. Leith’s passion for the literary world is evident as one reads through The Girl from Dream City, and it was that exuberant passion that maintained my interest in reading about a person I knew little of, other than her publishing company of which I am quite familiar. Ms. Leith is also the founder of the Blue Metropolis literary festival, one of North America’s largest multilingual literary events.

Inspired by the life of Germaine de Staёl, a salonnière in Napoleonic France, a young Linda had none of the advantages of the wealthy and connected de Staёl, but that did not stop her from wanting to attain that type of society and influence in 20th and 21st century Montreal.

We, in Canada, are fortunate to have such a person as Linda Leith active in the Montreal and CanLit literary scene. Her small, but vibrant publishing company produces a select amount of titles (fiction and non-fiction) highlighting Quebec’s English writers. Her very personal and highly enjoyable life essay The Girl From Dream City will doubtless be an influential book for those seeking a literary life, either as a writer or editor or publisher. Or all three.