||Letter To The Editor
by Brian Brett
How delightful to read C.W. Hodgsonís letter and learn she was as impressed by Robert Bringhurstís A Story as Sharp as a Knife as I was.
Unfortunately, she is arguing at cross-purposes with the review. While it is an important and brilliant book, it has its flaws. One would be foolish to expect otherwise. The world is not white hats and black hats. Fine books, like fine people, often have more than a few faults and bad moments, which, sometimes, are even part of their charm. It is the duty of a reviewer to note them. Despite the few flaws I pointed out in my review, I still maintain that readers will never be able to consider myth-telling and tellers in the same way after reading this book. For that alone, itís a stunning achievement.
The more important question is the treatment of Bill Reid. I wrote this review before that ugly article appeared in Macleans, but I was certainly aware of the sour grapes and cheap shots directed at Reid, from both natives and non-natives. I have known him, and followed his art for more than thirty years. He remains, in my eyes, one of Canadaís master artists. The usual jealousy and pettiness have finally surfaced now that he can no longer defend himself. Bill Reid provided major access and incentive, I believe, to Robert Bringhurst, and they collaborated on various projects dating back more than 15 years. Reid, to his own disadvantage, defended Bringhurst when some Haida wanted to prevent the writer from working with the artist on Haida themes, an exploration that Iím convinced eventually led to this book. Iím also certain Reid would be the first in line to defend A Story as Sharp as a Knife from those who foolishly want it censored. These are the reasons why he is mentioned in the review.