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Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town

Stephen Leacock

Book Overview: 

Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town is a sequence of stories by Stephen Leacock. It is generally considered to be one of the most enduring classics of Canadian humorous literature.

The fictional setting for these stories is Mariposa, a small town on the shore of Lake Wissanotti. Although drawn from his experiences in Orillia, Ontario, Leacock writes in the introduction:

“Mariposa is not a real town. On the contrary, it is about seventy or eighty of them. You may find them all the way from Lake Superior to the sea, with the same square streets and the same maple trees and the same churches and hotels.”

This work has remained popular for its universal appeal. Many of the characters, though modeled on townspeople of Orillia, are small town archetypes. Their shortcomings and weaknesses are presented in a humorous but affectionate way.

Often, the narrator greatly exaggerates the importance of the events in Mariposa compared to the rest of the world. For example, when there is a country-wide election, “the town of Mariposa, was, of course, the storm center and focus point of the whole turmoil.” (Summary from Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Providence. Here was this great silver country spread out to north of us, where people had thought there was only a wilderness. And right at our very doors! You could see, as I saw, the night express going north every evening; for all one knew Rockefeller or Carnegie or anyone might be on it! Here was the wealth of Calcutta, as the Mariposa Newspacket put it, poured out at our very feet.

So no wonder the town went wild! All day in the street you could hear men talking of veins, and smelters and dips and deposits and faults,—the town hummed with it like a geology class on examination day. And there were men about the hotels with mining outfits and theodolites and dunnage bags, and at Smith's bar they would hand chunks of rock up and down, some of which would run as high as ten drinks to the pound.

The fever just caught the town and ran through it! Within a fortnight they put a partition down Robertson's Coal and Wood Office and opened the Marip. . . Read More

Community Reviews

My daughter gave this book to me for Christmas and what a treasure it is. I had never read of any of Stephen Leacock’s work, and his writing is delightful. As a humorist, Leacock has been described at the Mark Twain of Canada—but he is that and more. He is not as acerbic as Twain and some other Amer

Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town is a delightful read by Stephen Leacock.

I had to read this for a Canadian Literature class, and my gosh is it such a gem! It's one of those historical books I had never even heard of, yet it is such a staple for Canadian culture. Hilarity and hypocrisy ensues in th

I have a hard-to-explain love of the writing of Stephen Leacock. It started when I read a short story of his when I was nine or ten, and fell in love with the way he wrote. Stephen Leacock is decidedly NOT something the average ten-year-old would normally like. But he could write about the most bana

Wonderful. There's something about the writing of this book that's just infused with joy. Something akin to Robertson Davies or Mark Twain. Leacock manages to turn everyday people's everyday lives to adventures. It's one of those books that should be completely boring but isn't. It's the type of boo

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