Away: A Novel

Overview

A stunning, evocative novel set in Ireland and Canada, Away traces a family's complex and layered past. The narrative unfolds with shimmering clarity, and takes us from the harsh northern Irish coast in the 1840s to the quarantine stations at Grosse Isle and the barely hospitable land of the Canadian Shield; from the flourishing town of Port Hope to the flooded streets of Montreal; from Ottawa at the time of Confederation to a large-windowed house at the edge of a Great Lake during the present day. Graceful and ...

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Overview

A stunning, evocative novel set in Ireland and Canada, Away traces a family's complex and layered past. The narrative unfolds with shimmering clarity, and takes us from the harsh northern Irish coast in the 1840s to the quarantine stations at Grosse Isle and the barely hospitable land of the Canadian Shield; from the flourishing town of Port Hope to the flooded streets of Montreal; from Ottawa at the time of Confederation to a large-windowed house at the edge of a Great Lake during the present day. Graceful and moving, Away unites the personal and the political as it explores the most private, often darkest corners of our emotions where the things that root us to ourselves endure. Powerful, intricate, lyrical, Away is an unforgettable novel.

In this entrancing novel about the power of fate and memory, Esther O'Malley Robertson looks back over her lifetime and reflects on her Irish lineage. "Vividly drawn and richly textured . . . an enchanting and highly imaginative work that lights up the dark, haunted corners of the human psyche without diminishing their mystery."--New York Newsday.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The author of the award-winning memoir All but the Waltz here returns to familiar territory to examine the lives of her first-generation Montana-born ancestors. Her parents, born in the early 1900s, remained on their Montana ranch, proudly confronting adversity and drought, raising spirited horses as well as children. But the center of this memoir is the one who got away, Blew's favorite aunt Imogene, who became a schoolteacher, living alone for 40 years in a remote, scenic part of Washington State. Now nearly senile, Imogene, once the author's model of feminine independence, evokes puzzling questions and blurry images for the niece on a parallel life journey that includes divorce and single parenthood. Blew mines the repository of her aunt's memoirs and diaries, uncovering near-revelations that suggest Imogene's life was far from what it appeared to be. The memoir is energized by the search and by the author's connectedness to a Montana heritage. (June)
Library Journal
Like a heartbreakingly romantic ballad of hard times, unrequited love, and lamentation, Urquhart's third novel (following Changing Heaven, LJ 3/15/93) is an entrancing saga of a family who must leave Ireland for Canada during the potato famine of the 1840s. As a young girl in Ireland, Mary is taken ``away'' to the faeries after a young sailor (a faerie-daemon) whom she rescued dies in her arms. Although she does eventually marry, have a family, and start a new life in the Canadian wilderness, Mary still hears the call of her sailor and finally leaves her family to live the rest of her life alone by a lake. Her daughter Eileen, in turn, falls in love with an Irish nationalist whose passion is only for his cause; she spends the rest of her life ``away'' in thoughts of him. Urquhart beguiles the reader with a cast of lovable eccentric characters in a wonderfully surreal world that includes a talking crow and a man who can charm skunks ``away.'' An extraordinary achievement; highly recommended.-Patricia Ross, Westerville P.L., Ohio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140249262
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/28/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 531,344
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.82 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Urquhart is the bestselling author of five internationally acclaimed, award-winning novels. She is also the author of a collection of short fiction, Storm Glass, and three books of poetry. She lives in Southwestern Ontario. She is the winner of numerous awards and has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize for The Stone Carvers and the International IMPAC award.

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