"Comeau demolishes the view that Laurence lacked an interesting mind; and makes a strong case for the coherence and continuity of her imaginative, spiritual, stylistic and formal development as a writer. With this interpretation, Comeau makes an important contribution to understanding this major Canadian novelist. Summing Up: Recommended." D.R. McCarthy, Choice, Vol. 44, No. 1, September 2006.
"[Margaret Laurence's Epic imagination evokes] in masterful fashion both the authority and the largesse of its subject. In this study, Paul Comeau, known for his essays on Willa Cather and several mid-century Canadian authors, traces the steady development of an epic voice in Laurence's work..For twenty years Laurence criticism has consisted of collections of essays on specialized topics; with its sustained original vision and comprehensive reading of all the author's works, this book brings new energy to Laurence studies, and confirms again her status as one of Canada's classic writers." David Stouck, Great Plains Quarterly, Fall 2006.
"The prime joy of Comeau's critique is that, in his close reading, and placing it within the context of the 'oeuvre,' he points out that the skeleton is the same as that of the other great epics of western civilization, especially the Christian epics and the 'loser' epics of the dispossessed wandering in search of a new home. Comeau focuses on the imagery, the symbolism, the allusions, stressing the writer's absolute control. He makes readers more aware of how Laurence's choices of language, evocation, and action inform her themes." J.M. Bridgeman, Prairie Fire Review of Books, www.prairiefire.ca/reviews/comeau_laurence.html
"For Margaret Laurence, the epic aspect of her fiction concerns the fundamental human condition. The epic heroism found in Margaret Laurence¹s work is not the grandeur of larger-than-life sagas but a heroism that is simply life itself the ongoing struggle of character, striving in victory and defeat. Since her death in 1987, Laurence has remained a commanding force in Canadian literature. The Stone Angel and The Diviners rank most highly among her works for their portrayal of heroic female characters struggling to find a sense of place, and identity, in an often hostile world. In Margaret Laurence's Epic Imagination, Paul Comeau argues that such heroism springs from Laurence's abiding perception of the epic dimension in everyday life. In Margaret Laurence's Epic Imagination, author Comeau comprehensively explains how Laurence instinctively turned to the Bible, Shakespeare, Dante, and Milton for models of the epic mode, which she employed in her own fiction. Comeau traces the development of Laurence's voice from its tentative beginnings in her African fiction to its culmination in the Manawaka Cycle." SirReadaLot (Full review at http://sirreadalot.org/reviews/0083.htm#Comeau)"
"[Paul Comeau] is particularly well attuned to Laurence's sensibility; indeed, he often seems to breathe with her as he works scrupulously through her works, in effect doing for her what she does for her characters. Just as she orchestrates their disrupted lives into meaningful patterns, so he arranges her varied writing according to the controlling design of a Christian epic, which offers 'a coherent artistic vision, a Commedia dell'Anima of epic depth and proportion.'" Jon Kertzer, University of Toronto Quarterly, Vol. 76, No. 1, Winter 2007
"Margaret Laurence's Epic Imagination by Paul Comeau is the latest in a number of books that have appeared on Margaret Laurence in the last several years, and it forms a valuable addition. ... His comparisons of Laurence's texts to Dante's are frequently insightful and occasionally ingenious. ... Clearly, Laurence's creation of a Canadian epic has inspired Comeau to compose an illuminating study that provides compelling reading for any student, scholar, or admirer of Laurence's writing." Nora Foster Stovel, Canadian Literature 197, Summer 2008.