In the late 1990s, culture writer Lydia Perović immigrated from Montenegro to the open, optimistic country of Canada and threw herself into its vibrant artistic and cultural communities. She was happy with her decision until about five years ago, when Canada began to change. It turned inward, lost its will to be a nation and a culture, and grew increasingly illiberal in speech and imagination. At the same time, Perović noticed that Canadian arts journalism and criticism began to disappear, leaving her colleagues to take their expertise in topics like literature and opera to the United States, or even to real estate journalism.
Just as she felt she was losing her country, Perović lost her mother, and found herself at a crossroads, questioning all of her life choices. Is she really a Canadian? Is the Canadian project a lost cause? What is a life without a national culture? Why is it so difficult to find oneself an orphan in middle age?
In the company of Janet Ajzenstat, Charles Taylor, Northrop Frye, and Alice Munro, Perović explores some of the most profound questions of our times. Is it possible to feel at home anywhere anymore? Are meaningful lives and lasting friendships the inevitable casualties of our precarious political environment, ethnocentrism, and global media platforms?
Lost in Canada is a shrewd and moving account of one immigrant’s second thoughts about her second home, and a call for all Canadians to think harder about the future of their country and its culture.