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CanLit Challenge 1939-1967 > The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence, #44

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message 1: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 322 comments Mod
The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence I've read this one before (though not in high school like so many people), but I'm looking forward to a re-read. From what I recall, there isn't much cheer to be had, so if you're in the mood for some Christmas spirit, there's a great Christmas episode in Book 14, The Mountain and the Valley.

Margaret Laurence

message 2: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 322 comments Mod
So, does anyone out there have this on their holiday reading list? I'll likely be starting this one and The Imperialist this weekend.

Buried In Print (buriedinprint) I've lost track of how many times I've re-read this novel, but the first time was in high-school English class (twelfth grade). I know a lot of folks had this book spoiled for them by just such a reading experience, and perhaps it is a lot to ask that teenagers find something to relate to in Hagar's story of growing old and losing her memory and her identity, but I spent quite a lot of time with the elderly, and I loved this tale upon first reading. I re-read it immediately upon finishing, and I re-read it a couple more times even while quite young. I've returned to it many times, since, and always find something new in it to love.

message 4: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 322 comments Mod
This was my review when I finished it on Thursday.

*** spoiler alert ***

Brilliant book, just as good as I remembered (though I remembered no details, so it was like reading it fresh). I'm all teary and goopy 'cause I just finished it. Hagar's a great character to read about but she would be hell to live with (and I don't mean just when she's old). I felt much more sympathy for Marvin and Doris than I did the first time reading it. I mean, imagine being in your sixties and having to deal not only with your own issues, but having to take care of a woman who seems unable to make anything easy for anyone. My own mother is 68 and suffering from Graves disease which is giving her double vision, photo-sensitivity, and constant tearing. I can only imagine what a burden it would be for her to have an even older, sicker, and more difficult parent to take care of.

Anyway, I'm wondering if Laurence was writing with a moral—since anyone can see that Hagar would've had a happier life if she'd married someone her father (coincidently or not) approved of—i.e. pride was her undoing. Or are we supposed to admire her independence and willingness to speak the truth as she sees it? Or are we just supposed to be neutral, afforded a glimpse into the mind of someone who finds some strange comfort in being miserable and keeping others distant?

A supremely well-crafted book.

Buried In Print (buriedinprint) Every time I read this one, I seem to respond more fully to an aspect of the story that I think I overlooked the last time. "Oh, *this* is what it's really about," I think. Which, I suppose, is one of the reasons it's a classic, because it stands up to multiple re-readings.

When I first read it, as a teenager, I think I was far more "on Hagar's side" (as if it's ever really that simple), but I definitely sympathized more with Marvin and Doris on later reads. Marvin really was in quite a position there, caught between his mother, Hagar, and the weary and worn wife, Doris, wasn't he?

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