Changing Heaven
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Changing Heaven

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  219 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Two worlds are intertwined in this hauntingly beautiful story as it moves from Toronto to the English moors and to Venice, Italy. The time frame shifts between present and past, linking the lives of a young Brontë scholar (a woman in the throes of a troubled love affair), a turn-of-the-century female balloonist, and an elusive explorer with the ghost – or the memory – of E...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Emblem Editions (first published April 1st 1990)
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I am still mulling it over in my mind. I am enchanted with the character of the wind and the setting on the moors. The interweaving of the stories, of past and present was a wonderful unfolding. I guess the reason I didn't rate the book higher is that I never fully was able to get behind any of the 4 main characters: Arianna/Polly, Emily, Anne or Arthur (though I did like the solid comfortableness of John). The foreword starting "she wants to write a book about the wind, about the weather" capti...more
While I enjoyed the lovely writing, the rest of the book, particularly the plot just didn't connect to me. I couldn't get into the book, never being able to fully warm up to the story and its characters.

The writing was beautiful and poetic. It was what kept me reading, and at times what had me lost n the book. Unfortunately, the rest of the book didn't work out well for me. It wasn't bad story, it was a unique ghost story, but I never connected to it. Ann's story didn't work at all for me, and I...more
Samantha Adkins
For book two of my Canadian Book Reading Challenge, I decided to read Changing Heaven by Jane Urquhart. I read The Stone Carvers and The Underpainter a number of years ago and was ready to read more by this lyrical writer.

I came into the story blind to anything about it and I’d hate to spoil its charm by giving too much away here. Basically, this book tells the stories of many characters related in some way or another to Emily Brontë. The story is told through several narrators, which I persona...more
Aug 24, 2012 Heather rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Any Wuthering Heights/Brontë fan
Shelves: english
I discovered this book on a sales table at the local bookstore and bought it for the author and the mention of Emily Brontë on the back cover. While I had high expectations for it (Urquhart is one of Canada's finest authors), I was pleasently surprised: the novel not only explores the human experience with beautifully strung prose, but swallowed me up completely to the point of forgetting my surroundings (an unforunate experience while riding a city bus). This is the story of a ballonist and her...more
There's a certain kind of reader of Wuthering Heights who falls for Heathcliff, who enters totally into the intense relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine, for whom Heathcliff persists as a kind of fantasy of the ultimate man. I was not that kind of reader. As much as I loved that book and as often as I reread it, I never found the adult Heathcliff anything other than appalling. I suspect that if I were that kind of reader, though, I would have loved this more than I did.
Lane Anderson
Jane Urquhart's story is set in 3 time periods: 1840s, turn of the century, and 1990s. The ghost of Emily Bronte and the ghost of a balloonist occupy a large portion of the book, which I couldn't seem to reconcile with the otherwise poetic novel.

This novel requires a careful, close reading to appreciate. Arguably, the main character is the wind, or weather. While the dense, cryptic style of writing can cause the story to be somewhat inaccessible, a patient reader will be rewarded.
From the Toronto Globe and Mail: "Changing Heaven is a deeply moving work, by an author who is willing to test not only the limits of the conventional novel, but also the sensibilities of the reader — a writer able to throw a bridge between past and present, heaven and earth, and to do it with breathtaking skill. Distinguished by haunting imagery, wry wit, and vivid imagination."
David R.  Godine
"Changing Heaven is a deeply moving work, by an author who is willing to test not only the limits of the conventional novel, but also the sensibilities of the reader — a writer able to throw a bridge between past and present, heaven and earth, and to do it with breathtaking skill. Distinguished by haunting imagery, wry wit, and vivid imagination."
Toronto Globe
I guess part of growing up means getting kind of bored with portrayals of tumultuous and destructive love. The writing was nice, but most of the plot left me rolling my eyes, and the ghost dialogues got pretty tedious pretty quickly. If I run across another Jane Urquhart book, I won't hesitate to pick it up, but I probably won't go out of my way to find one, either.
My fav urquhart . She hurdles you through time and it is exciting
What a disappointment! Generally I love Jane Urquhart's books, but this just didn't really capture my interest. A neat concept as the story is told by two ghosts, but the central theme is "Wuthering Heights", which I thought was kind of lame. Maybe if I had re-read it before this one, I would have connected with the book more.
Floating, flying through time, earth, air; connecting in altered consciousness and imagination, Ann, Arianna, Emily Bronte, kettling like the migration of hawks; meeting beyond the limits of injustice and harm, centered in a storm.
Deborah Downes
Parallel stories linking a turn of the century female balloonist, the ghost of Emily Bronte and a present day Bronte scholar. Both tales felt like a sensual roller coaster ride that left me breathless and wanting more.
This was a wonderful novel to read in conjunction with a re-read of "Wuthering Heights". It was my first book by Urquhart, but I think I'm a fan! Anyone else read any of her novels? And what do you think?
Krista McCracken
I recently re-read this book. I still love Urquhart's writing style but this book doesn't have the same long lasting appeal as some of her other works.
Jane Urquhart is my favourite author. This is my favourite book out of her oeuvre. I plan to read it again after I finish Wuthering Heights.
Steven Buechler
An interesting looking at how authors/artists etc affect us later in life. The use of ghost and the weather was particular well done.
Christina Brown
Amazing book. I read it first almost 8 years ago and its unforgettable!
Margaret Lottridge
The ability to craft a character from the first page on.
loved the connections through time in this novel
A real delight, my favourite of her work.
Dec 30, 2011 Sherri is currently reading it
A trial to read.
Aug 04, 2010 Ibis3 marked it as to-read
Shelves: na-od
Edition irrelevant.
Shannon is currently reading it
Apr 17, 2014
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She is the author of seven internationally acclaimed novels entitled, The Whirlpool, Changing Heaven, Away, The Underpainter, The Stone Carvers, A Map of Glass, and Sanctuary Line.

The Whirlpool received the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger (Best Foreign Book Award). Away was winner of the Trillium Book Award and a finalist for the prestigious International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. The Un...more
More about Jane Urquhart...
The Stone Carvers Away The Underpainter A Map of Glass Sanctuary Line

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“Longing for something that you once had is a mistake because the pictures in your mind are never the same as whatever it is you are longing for.” 9 likes
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