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The Diviners (1974)
de Margaret Laurence
» 30 més
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A copy of The Diviners had sat at my bookshelves for a while now. It won the Governor’s General Award – a prestigious Canadian award - in 1974, and has been part of the Canadian literature must-reads since. I finally got to it this week. The story is told through flashbacks, fabled tales, conversations with an imaginary person, philosophical questionings... The format may have been fresh on the 1970’s, but seemed a bit dated. Yet, the story is abiding. The search for self-identity, in a nation that also seems to be perpetually in an identity crisis.
The personal grief and struggle of never overcoming the barriers of gender, race and social stigma is beautifully weaved through the story with disquieting prose.
Margaret Laurence’s writing is very poetic at times, but without unnecessary romanticism. She was accused of destroying family values with this book. Even of the increase in teenage pregnancies during the 70’s. This bigotry is almost comical, when the search of roots and connection permeates the whole lives of Morag Gunn, the main character, her daughter, Pique, and her lover, Jules.
I am very glad I finally read it.
[The Diviners] is the story of Margaret Gunn who grows up in a small town on the Canada prairie, raised by friends of her father after her parents die when she is five. The people who raise her are Christie and Prin. Christie is the town scavenger, i.e. garbage man, and is looked down upon. He is also deeply scarred from his WWI experience. Prin is eating herself into an early grave. The town in small in thinking and backwards until you get to know the characters. Morag, though, must escape and finds her way through the world as a writer. Before she leaves, she meets Jules Tonnerre, a mixed race boy, who she falls in love with. He will come and go in her life throughout the novel. Morag later has a child, Pique, and their travels and relationship form another portion of the book.
This book isn't linear. It's told through a series of brief flashbacks labeled "memorybank movies" in the text. It's an exploration of memory as well as life through Morag's experience. Somehow it all flows together perfectly, though, and you barely realize the different shifts in time - they just work. I really, really loved this book. The characters were so alive to me and I did not want the book to end. I read another of Laurence's books, [The Stone Angel], recently and it was also excellent. This, though, was more complex and I felt a bit more maturely written. I highly recommend reading some [[Margaret Laurence]].
Considered a classic of Canadian literature, Margaret Laurence's "The Diviners" was definitely a compelling read. Filled with complex and rich characters who are all searching for their way in life, the novel tells a solid and generally interesting story.
Told mostly in flashback, Morag Gunn's memories start out with the tragedy of her parent's death. The future writer searches for connections with people, which she does and doesn't find, while the other people in her life, in turn, search for things meaningful to them.
I enjoyed the story a great deal.
The Diviners by Margaret Laurence is considered a classic of Canadian Literature, winning the Governor General’s Award for fiction in 1974. The main character of the story is Morag Gunn, an independent novelist and single mother who grew up in the small town of Manawaka, Manitoba. She has a difficult relationship with her daughter Pique and the father of Pique, a Metis named Jules Tonnerre and is struggling with her writing as well.
The novel opens with Morag finding that her eighteen year old daughter has left home then while brooding over that she thinks back over her own life, her traumatic childhood, her difficult relationships and her struggles to assert herself. This self-reflective portrait not only portrayed Morag’s life but also with it’s exploration of several generations, races and classes painted a vivid picture of the Canadian immigrant experience.
When originally published The Diviners was considered quite controversial with it’s depiction of a woman who chose to leave her marriage and conceive a child out of wedlock. Also the interracial relationship between Morag and Jules caused more than a few raised eyebrows. I believe the author was striving to show how mixed culturally and racially Canadian heritage can be.
I surprised myself by how much I enjoyed this book. Although published in the 1970s, its feminist themes still ring true today. I will long remember Morag Gunn, the flawed, conflicted yet strong main character who takes the reader on such an emotional journey. The author’s writing totally engaged me with it’s honest and intimate manner of delivering such a complex story.
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Morag Gunn, now in her mid-forties, lives in a riverside farmhouse in Eastern Ontario. Through a series of flashbacks she reviews the painful and exhilarating moments of her earlier life: her childhood on the social margins of the small prairie town of Manawaka; her escape from a demeaning marriage into writing fiction; and her travels to England, Scotland and finally back to Canada where she faces a different challenge - the necessity to understand, and let go of, the daughter she loves. A feminist saga as inspirational as when it was first published in 1974, The Diviners is an evocative exploration of one woman's search for her identity.
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)813.54Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
Fes-te Autor del LibraryThing.
What I didn’t like in this book: the relationship between Morag and Brooke. The student/teacher relationship was skeevy because of the power imbalance inherent in the relationship, and Brooke himself was repulsive in how he tried to get Morag to behave in a “ladylike” way and at the same time infantilized her. Also the sex scenes.
What was OK about this book: I liked the idea of including songs by Jules and Pique, but the songs themselves sounded a bit too much like they were written by the same person, which they probably were. ( )