Lively has long been a favourite but this novel is superbly crafted in my estimation. The beginning of the last chapter serves almost as a review or,...moreLively has long been a favourite but this novel is superbly crafted in my estimation. The beginning of the last chapter serves almost as a review or, rather, a summary: "So that was the story. These have been the stories: of Charlotte, of Rose and Gerry, of Anton, of Jeremy and Stella, of Marion, of Henry, Mark, of all of them. The stories so capriciously triggered because something happened to Charlotte in the street one day. But of course this is not the end of the story, the stories. An ending is an artificial device; we like endings, they are satisfying, convenient, and a point has been made. But time does not end, and stories march in step with time. Equally, chaos theory does not assume an ending; the ripple effect goes on, and on. These stories do not end, but they spin away from one another, each on its own course." (page 224)
One of my favourite paragraphs is earlier in the book and represents some of Rose's (Charlotte's daughter) reflections: "She felt nowadays these painful twinges of compunction where her mother was concerned. Not just on account of the hip, but the whole business of age, of what has happened to her, what happens, the way in which a person is pushed into another incarnation, becomes a different version of themselves. Her old mother was still herself, but she was diminished in some way, had lost emphasis, was not the figure of Rose's childhood and youth, and Rose felt in some irrational way guilty." (page 65)(less)
The story of Plain Kate, daughter of wood carver Piotr Carver, who wants to apprentice to her father in a few years. Her father calls her Kate, My Sta...moreThe story of Plain Kate, daughter of wood carver Piotr Carver, who wants to apprentice to her father in a few years. Her father calls her Kate, My Star. They live in the town of Samilae, "where people thought there was magic in a knife. A person who could wield a knife well was, in their eyes, halfway to a witch. So Plain Kate was very small the first time someone spat at her and crooked their fingers." Kate wanted to become a full master carver before she was twenty but a sickness came upon the town and Kate's father dies of it. This was the year of skara rok, the bad time which was the time of the sickness and starvation.Kate carved a grave marker for her father and the guild sent another carver to take over her father's shop and she went and lived in their old market stall. She slept in the bottom drawer of a cupboard her father had carved and she discovered three kittens sleeping in a drawer above her. One of the three kittens stayed with Kate and she had named him Taggle. Kate and Taggle lived from hand to mouth and made do until one summer when "change and magic came loping and waltzing into her life". The stranger was an albino who sang and played a tambourine and "moved through the market like a lord." And so begins a series of more and more frightening adventures for Kate who flees town and joins a band of Roamers where she makes friends with Drina and Daj. Taggle travels with her throughout the book and is a most wonderful companion. For those who like cats this is a great story of a true companion cat. Magic, spells, ghosts and more fill every page of this exciting adventure...bravo Erin Bow.(less)
This is the life journey of Saul Indian Horse named after his grandfather Solomon. "My people are from the Fish Clan of the northern Ojibway, the Anis...moreThis is the life journey of Saul Indian Horse named after his grandfather Solomon. "My people are from the Fish Clan of the northern Ojibway, the Anishinabeg, we call ourselves. We made our home in the territories along the Winnipeg River, where the river opens wide before crossing into Manitoba before it leaves the Lake of the Woods and the rugged spine of northern Ontario." The story covers approximately the first 35 years of Saul's life: it begins and ends in The New Dawn Centre, a treatment facility. The first 116 pages is an account of his time on the land with his immediate clan members when he absorbs an understanding of his people and establishes his identity. HIs brother Benjamin is taken by government agents to the residential school but Saul and his sister are hidden from the agents. Events eventually result in Saul's being sent to the residential school, St. Jeromes known by the children there as St. Germs. Saul builds a defense for himself as a quiet, studious boy but he is enticed away from this by the hockey rink and starts out shovelling off the ice at 4:30 every morning. He is small but teaches himself to skate and stick handle. He sees the happenings at the school: "I saw kids die of tuberculosis, influenza, pneumonia and broken hearts" but "what I let them see was a quiet, withdrawn boy, void of feeling." "Father Leboutilier was my ally." "There was always the ritual of shovelling the snow and clearing the ice, that solitary work of preparing to open the doors to a magical kingdom." And up to a point the magical kingdom keeps Saul going. He is recruited for The Moose, a native team and then he is recruited for the Toronto Marlboros and it is then that life 's cracks begin to change him. This is a story uplifting and heart breaking and deserves its place as a Canada Reads Selection: a story everyone can delight in and learn from and, by reading it, gain a better understanding of the native experience.(less)
A powerful and compelling read for me. A search for a past by a child given up at birth told in the child's voice and then the mother's story, much of...moreA powerful and compelling read for me. A search for a past by a child given up at birth told in the child's voice and then the mother's story, much of it from the perspective of the child. A fascinating cinematic cast of characters, Shannon-Jo, Harrison Church, her father, Eugene, her brother, Yula her mother and Quinn, Yula's father,several sets of foster parents, Miranda, the mother after Shannon turns five, Vaughn who saw Yula abandon Shannon, Lydia-Rose, Miranda's birth daughter, plus an array of minor characters such as Edwin and his brother, junk dealers, Chloe the receptionist at the YMCA and Winkie the dog and Luella a friend of Yula's mother Jo. Quill & Quire says the novel is "uneven" and The Vancouver Observer says it is "unpleasant to read". I never for a minute found it anything but compelling. (less)
Another comforting Inspector Gamache story wih a beautiful calming, "I want to go there" setting. The setting at Manoir Bellechasse and the characters...moreAnother comforting Inspector Gamache story wih a beautiful calming, "I want to go there" setting. The setting at Manoir Bellechasse and the characters of Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache complimented by Chef Veronique and Madame Dubois once again provide a delightful background for the strange, almost sinister death of a member oh the Morrowfamily. The Morrow family themselves become a study of family dynamics and Armand Gamache's cerebral crime solving shines to full advantage. Also includes an interesting side story which fills in Gamache's family history as well as the anticipated arrival of a new grandchild by his son who lives in France. Literary references to Milton's Paradise Lost and frequent mention of the poem High Flight by a Canadian aviator:
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I've climbed...and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of.
And while with silent, lifting mind I've trod The high untrespassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.(less)
A "must read" for teens, parents and teachers. Realistic, strong characterization, never descends into the maudlin. Extremely accurate description of...moreA "must read" for teens, parents and teachers. Realistic, strong characterization, never descends into the maudlin. Extremely accurate description of so-called grief counselling in high schools. I loved all the characters but especially Faraday, Walter and Crepe Suzette.(less)
There is something about these stories that kept me reading until I finished the entire collection. I know it is best to read short stories in small d...moreThere is something about these stories that kept me reading until I finished the entire collection. I know it is best to read short stories in small doses and let them simmer and I usually do this. There were different: I just kept saying one more until there were no more left. There are sixteen stories altogether. (To be Added to)(less)
This story collection has had a powerful effect upon me and has left a residue such as I have not experienced previously after short story collections...moreThis story collection has had a powerful effect upon me and has left a residue such as I have not experienced previously after short story collections.
The epigraph: Tell us underneath what skies, Upon what coasts of earth we have been cast; We wander, ignorant of men and places, And driven by the wind and the vast waves. Virgil, The Aeneid, translated by Allen Mandelbaum (1971) Contents Departures 1 Man and Boy 5 Onward 23 The Widow's Cruse 43 Last Supper at Brown's 65
In Transit 73 Counting the Days 77 Snowblind 93 The Long Way Home 111 The Body Swap 125 The Gift 151
Arrivals and Aftermaths 171 The Lost Seed 175 Vanitas 189 The Hunt 215 Daddy's Girl 229 What Remains 243
Each story concludes with a short account of the source and this connection with history maybe what accounts for the effect of these stories on this particular reader. I will definitely buy a copy of this collection because I must reread them.