The Winter Vault
In 1964, a newly married Canadian couple settle into a houseboat on the Nile just below Abu Simbel. Avery is one of the engineers responsible for the dismantling and reconstruction of the temple, a "machine-worshipper" who is nonetheless sensitive to their destructive power. Jean is a botanist by vocation, passionately interested in everything that grows. They met on the b...more
"Dusk in Owen's bedroom, ...more
This book was chosen--a little to my dismay, I admit (something about the title!)--by my more 'literary' bookclub. I read it slowly, trying to do so with an open mind. In the end, however, I was left feeling the same way I felt when i began: these novels are a perfect example of all the problems in so-called 'literary novels' and in so many novels written by authors who are first and foremost poet ...more
The crazy thing was that I was reading it for no better reason than that I picked it up from my bedside table before heading out on a trip. Then I found myself sitting in a presentation in a hotel ballroom where a tidy well dressed speaker told of how a village and its inhabitants would be displaced by a mining operation and how the technology he was demonstrating would predict the costs of relocation and burden of disease before and after for the population. Why weird? Be ...more
How can you not love a book that starts with"
"Perhaps we painted on our own skin, with ochre and charcoal, long before we painted on stone." ...more
Hardback Edition. Bloomsbury 2009.
Prologue. A very poetic introduction - but essentially meaningless. Well - wait a minute - it may not be meaningless, but when a poet writes, it can be very difficult to get inside the mind of the poet. For example, many years ago, ...more
All the elements of her first work are present in The Winter Vault: the poetic and intricate writing; the historical and geological research; characters that dwell in a philosophical cosmos beyond that of th ...more
To me, a good book is one which must always be engaging. A great book is one which challenges how I perceive things, offers alternative perspectives and raises my awareness of Issue(s) either new or revisited.
The author wrote factually in a lyrical style. No mean feat.
The following is an excerpt by way of an exa ...more
It's just one of those things, you know. The writing is beautiful, so many poignant turns of phrase I couldn't possibly list them all. The love story was also beautiful, the longing between Jean and Avery so palpable I almost couldn't bear it when they separated. Loss, love, retribution, tragedy, beauty within tragedy ... this novel has it all.
And I can't figure out why I didn't enjoy it more.
Maybe it was just too much. As isolated sentences, the book is unique in its truth. But throw all th ...more
I have 16 post it notes attached f ...more
These themes are echoed in their perso ...more
I don't understand stories like this, these ones that require understanding of the pain and emotions, that require sympathy and empathy for these people. I did not feel anything for these characters, I read about them but didn't 'get' them, couldn't feel the ...more
Anne Michaels was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1958. She is the author of one novel Fugitive Pieces, which explores the possibility of love and faith alter the Holocaust, with language marked by power, elegance, and integrity. Ms. Michaels, who has also composed musical scores for the theater, has said "when you put a tremendous amount of love into your work, as in any r ...more
Share This Book
Even that night, the night he touched one inch of her in the dark, how simply Avery seemed to accept the facts - that they were on the edge of lifelong happiness and, therefore, inescapable sorrow. It was as if, long ago, a part of him had broken off inside, and now finally, he recognised the dangerous fragment that had been floating in his system, causing him intermittent pain over the years. As if he could now say of that ache: "Ah. It was you.”