Irving’s Coat

Writing a movie script for Sammy Davis, Jr., breaking up a fight between Len Gasparini and Irving Layton, letting Layton borrow his coat because someone swiped his, playing practical jokes on the American icon Joyce Carol Oates and establishing one of the first cre- ative writing departments in Canadian universities . . . These are the tales — many of them funny — in this delightful memoir of Eugene McNamara’s Irving’s Coat. Tracing his life from Chicago where he penned a movie script for Davis to moving to Canada where he was involved in the emergence of a literary scene in the 1960s and 1970s in southwestern Ontario, McNamara writes about those early publishing years, putting out a magazine called Mainline and starting the Windsor Review. Into this story, he writes about not only Layton, but Purdy, W. O. Mitchell, Tom Wayman and others.

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