I went to the Sex and the City movie with the girls Tuesday night.

(I rarely say "the girls," but that's really the only description -- friends all wearing fantastic outfits and, yes, we giggled. Well, through the opening credits at least. Then the movie started and I think it's safe to say most of us were sort of stumped.)

I could tear into the movie -- its highs, its lows, its name brand labels. The fact there was far more shrieking and name-dropping than you might find in a whole season. Or at least less irony.

But I'm moving on quickly to books, specifically Timothy Findley's The Wars.

The connection? One of the previews shown Tuesday was for Passchendaele, a Canadian Paul Gross flick all about the First World War.

While I'm sure the movie will endeavour to tell the tale of Canadians at war, I have a feeling that for every long look exchanged by the leads, every woeful kiss, a piece of the horror and grime of the war will be missing.

This is what sets Findley's work apart from so many others.... Everything about war is awful and dirty and monstrous and insane. Findley illustrates this by showing the war inside Robert Ross. The main character's attempts to maintain his humanity -- to reach inside himself for something good, anything -- amid the horror and utter violence is a true reflection of the Canadian experience. A better reflection, I have a feeling, than Gross's movie will be able to hit upon.

What I love about Findley's work is his absolutely stark and vivid prose. I know this is an oldy for many, probably read in school by some. But it is beautiful and awful at once, one of the best arguments for pacifism I've ever read.
"All you get in this war, is one little David against another.... Just a bunch of stone throwers." (p. 35)

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