Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Beyond the novel, Frederick Philip Grove has published travel sketches, represented by his first two published books, Over Prairie Trails (1922) and The Turn of the Year (1923). Actually narrative essays, the pieces detail Grove’s weekly horse-and-carriage journeys between distant points of rural Manitoba. His other essays on a variety of topics appeared in Canadian periodicals and in the collection It Needs to Be Said (1929), and a much smaller number of short stories collected and edited by Desmond Pacey appeared under the title Tales from the Margin: The Selected Short Stories of Frederick Philip Grove (1971).

In Search of Myself (1946), Grove’s fictionalized autobiography, contains a detailed account of his life before he arrived in Canada and of his struggles to achieve recognition as a writer. Consider Her Ways (1947), written at the time the autobiography was coming out but conceived much earlier, reflects Grove’s long-standing scientific interests, as well as his familiarity with travel literature and with various models of the satiric fable. Grove casts his fable as anarrative communicated to a sympathetic scientist by a tribe of South American ants on an expedition to the north in search of further knowledge about humans. He cleverly satirizes Western civilization not only through the ants’ discoveries and observations about the human society they find but also through the behavior of the ants themselves, who engage in the same power struggles and exhibit the same vanity of species they impute to humankind. Although a curiosity in Grove’s canon. Consider Her Ways displays a tighter structure than most of his more conventional writings as well as many of the same attitudes toward human behavior and history.