Joyce Carlow on Sagas
  About The Story
of Canada
  Free Lance Writing Associates Inc.

A saga is a long, detailed account of a person's life. The genre reaches back across the centuries to a time when stories were told rather than written. They were, if you like, the first popular fiction since their historic basis was lost in time and changed with each telling. Many sagas were finally recorded, and so it is today that we have written forms of Beowulf, the great Icelandic Saga.

In modern commercial fiction, sagas are fictional biographies, spanning years and significant events. The central character is someone who could have existed, a fictional creation of an individual who overcomes and triumphs, a sort of super survivor who masters events both personal and societal to find success and usually love.

To a degree, Joyce Carlow's sagas all have autobiographical elements. Those elements may be personal, or they may be the reaction to world events.

Joyce, is of course, two people. Both Janet and Dennis believe they have, to appropriate a quote from Dickens, lived 'in the best of times and the worst of times.' And when is the 'best' time? It is always now for that is the only time we can actually affect.

Many of Joyce's sagas take place between 1900 and 1990. Many include events that took place during World War I and II. Janet explains why:

    World War II made me a gypsy, traveling from Europe home to America, and then back and forth across the United States 9 times. It also took my father away. I saw him for a total of less than 10 months between 1939 and 1945. I traded comic books with soldiers only a few years older than me but I was off to see my father, for however short a time and they were off to die on Iwo Jima, Sipan, or Corregidor. And in the end, I remember newsreels I saw aboard my father's ship - Navy films I think - films not released to the public for nearly 50 years. I remember the shadows of small children with their book bags, their images burned into the tangled steel of Hiroshima's bridges. Two huge cities were literally evaporated, and there is no one my age that did not grow up with both guilt, and fear for the future of the world. But sagas are about triumph and they are about hope. The main character experiences all the raw emotions caused by both historic and personal events, and triumphs.

Click here to see the many sagas of Joyce Carlow.