9780747554080 / 0747554080

The Stone Carvers


Publisher:McClelland & Stewart



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About the book:

Jane Urquhart is one of Canada's best-known novelists. In her latest work, the sweeping and ambitious The Stone Carvers, she mines the depths of obsession as a source of creativity and of destruction, and the redemptive nature of art. Like Rose Tremain's Music and Silence, historical incident is the novel's leaping-off point. Written in the cadences and colour of legend, this richly imagined tale moves from the 19th into the 20th century and from Germany to Canada and to France to achieve an intriguing and satisfying whole.

In the mid-19th century young Father Pater Archangel Gstir is sent to Shoneval, a tiny, bleak settlement in the wilds of Ontario by mad King Ludwig of Bavaria. Gstir becomes obsessed with the building of an immense stone church for his motley flock, all of whom he draws into his ambitious plans. Among them is a wood carver, Joseph Becker, whom he commissions to carve a crucifix and Virgin and Child and whose memories of these harsh but fulfilling years are cherished by his granddaughter, Klara. At the outbreak of war in 1914, Klara carries on the family's traditions of carving and tailoring--as well as exploring the entrancements of new love. 20 years on, Klara lives still in Shoneval, now a spinster caught in the grip and illusion of memory, having lost Eamon O'Sullivan to the Great War. At Vimy in France, the Canadian architect Walter Allward, begins the construction of his vast monument to the thousands of soldiers who went missing in battle--and it is this that rekindles Klara's urgency to pay homage to the past and define her own future. --Ruth Petrie

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