#Read E-pub ⚣ Away ¶ eBook or E-pub free

Jane Urquhart has such a way with words A very interesting book about the potato famine and immigration to Canada Lead me to read The Stonecarvers. 3.5 stars This is an intriguing, well written historical novel My knowledge of Canadian history is practically nil, so I wasn t even aware that there were so many Irish potato famine victims in Canada struggling for survival during the time of the US Civil War It turns out, history happened elsewhere, too The title takes on a double meaning As Urquhart s story opens, we meet Mary, a very young woman living on a remote island off the coast of Ireland, who has the traumatizing experience of pulling a shipwrecked man out of the ocean, only to have him die in her arms After this, she is never the same Her fellow islanders superstitiously refer to her as away, and believe she has been influenced by an evil spirit Mary does feel an attachment to this man she pulled out of the sea, for the rest of her life Eventually, however, Mary does become wedded to a local school master and they start a family She tends to be distant, but manages to lead a normal life for awhile Later, when it becomes obvious that they will starve to death, their local landlord, who is rather taken with Mary, helps them escape to Canada By the way, there are two landlords, the Sedgewick brothers, who are colorfully drawn characters The story of their journey to America, and their separation and quarantine when they arrive, is glossed over I felt that the novel would have been powerful with that part of the story told, especially from their young son s perspective.After they ve established a home, barely making a living, Mary suddenly disappears This is the most heartbreaking part Liam, just seven years old, wakes up alone with a baby sister who needs to be fed and changed and a cow that needs to be milked Brian, his father, is away from home for a couple days doing the only work he can find, so it s on Liam to become a little man There was a phrase their father repeated, which translated into the trace of a man on a woman, which resonates throughout the book, first with Mary s story, then Eileen s Liam and Eileen seem like real characters, I cared about them, and they urged me to keep turning the pages, especially when Eileen s story becomes dramatic I apologize if this review seems disjointedthere are little mysteries that unfold along the way that I shouldn t touch, and both Irish and Native American folklore and spiritualism effect both Mary and Eileen.This tale is told in flashback, and we are briefly introduced to four generations of women Mary, Eileen, Deirdre, and Esther but the latter two are not developed at all, and I felt there were parts of this story that seemed either left out or too vague However, it is a riveting read, and I would certainly recommend it. #Read E-pub Ñ Away ⚡ 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 S 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 As the opening line suggests, this is a story about women, four generations of them, and their migratory journey from Ireland to Canada These are mystical women, in touch with the spiritual world, whose men appear in mirages, out of the water or while converting their sorrows into dance Water is another key player in the novel, whether it be the sea surrounding Rathlin Island in Northern Ireland or the lakes of Ontario, for water circumscribes worlds, separating them from others that are away The concept of away is the hardest to wrap our heads around in this novel for it connotes a multiplicity of meanings possessed, foreign, non believer, immigrant, emigrant, revolutionary, the other side, the other person The line of women in this book are away while their men are practical, grounded, hard working, hard done by by the ruling elites, betrayed or deserted by their women.The plot pivots around two key events in history the potato famine in Ireland circa 1845 46 and the assassination of D Arcy McGee in 1868 The fourth generation woman, Esther, herself now an octogenarian, is recalling the family story from the confines of the family home in Colborne, Ontario a story of grinding poverty in Ireland leading to forced migration to Canada, to a hard scrabble existence on the Canadian Shield, to the bounty of gold discovery, to the building of wealth, and to its decay due to the march of nature and progress After a shaky start, where we don t quite know what is happening, we connect with great grandmother Mary on Rathlin Island, the first person in the line of women who is away, and who sees her dream man, a dying sailor, emerge from the sea, the result of a shipwreck that is never called out but referred to as a sea of floating cabbages and bottles of whiskey The potato famine drives her, her schoolmaster husband Brian, and their young family to Canada But Mary abandons the family to go to another lake in the interior and spend out the rest of her life there, for she believes this is what her spirit guide, the dead sailor, had predicted for her Daughter Eileen is another away person, spending her time in a tree and talking to birds who are her guides Her brother Liam is the practical one who pulls the family out of the Canadian Shield and builds his fortune in farming down by Lake Ontario, thanks to guilt money paid by his father s former British landlord in Ireland Liam even transports the Seaman s Inn the first white building he sees upon arriving in Canada that he feels destined to live in from Port Hope to Colborne by floating it down the lake to make it the family residence Eileen then meets her dream man, Aidan, who dances into her life and whisks her away into a plot to kill Darcy McGee At this point the novel hinges on whether the narrow nationalism of the impoverished Irish or the liberal federalism of a nascent Canada will win out, and with its conclusion the author stakes her position, making this book a Canada Reads contender Some of the characters are wonderfully drawn Mary and Eileen in particular, Brian, Liam and Aidan, the eccentric British landlords the Sedgwick brothers while others are hard to get a fix on Esther, for instance The plot is a bit contrived inserting Eileen and Aidan into D Arcy McGee s murder could have been done better, I thought, and the inclusion of Esther s mother the third in the line of four women who has no part in the story other then the mention of her name which I have forgotten is one only to fill in the time gap Autobiographical references to family owned hotels either swallowed by sand or struck by lightning are not elaborated on they became the stuff of later Urquhart novels That this is an early novel by the author is obvious in the dialogue and the melodramatic foreshadowing And yet, the writing is lyrical and a pleasure to read, the descriptions original the smell of celibacy was like mildewed oilskin, milk going sour by the sink The wealth of Canadian and Irish lore in this story interested me, especially as I am a resident of Northumberland County in which Port Hope and Colborne are located I looked up the gold rush in Madoc, the flood in Griffintown brilliantly described , and I found reference to a Seaman s Inn in Port Hope that had been subsequently named Canada House in the mid nineteenth century and run by a retired sea captain And I walked out in my garden, sniffing, glad there weren t as many skunks any I ll thank progress for that I have read stronger novels written by Urquhart, her later ones, but I can appreciate how this book propelled her out of the ranks of the many and into the hallowed circle of the chosen few. The women in this book are so vague and poetic and otherworldly and romantic that by the end I couldn t stand it any I thought I d like it at first, but it was just too much with the awayness It doesn t help that everything they say is gibberish either. I would say this is Jane Urquhart at her best, but then I say that about every one of her books This is also a book I re read every couple of years when I want to center myself a book where my point of convergence places me firmly in time, and out of time There is something that is sheer poetry about every word she writes This one in particular, feels like reading a lovely, elegiac poem to Canada, and to Ireland.Through Urquhart s poetic vision we are introduced to 4 generations of Irish, following them from pre famine Ireland through emigration and eventual settlement on the shores of Lake Ontario The story begins with a love affair and ends with heartbreak a perfect circle of life painted with an artist s eye for vision The story is rich with history and mythology of both the Irish and the Canadian landscapes landscapes of fact, of heart, and of mind. Away is the second of the Canada Reads 2013 books to arrive from the library, and after being somewhat disappointed by Lisa Moore s February, I was a little worried when I cracked this one open.I needn t have worried This book sucked me in from the first page On the one had we have Esther, an elderly woman living on the edge of the Great Lakes in a home that is apparently going to be overrun by an expanding quarry And at the same time, we have the story of her great grandmother, Mary, who changed completely after finding a beautiful dying sailor, washed ashore from a shipwreck that cast cabagges, silver teapots, and caskets of whiskey up on the shore of the island she lives on in Ireland That story follows Mary as she marries, and how she and her family emigrate to the colony of Canada during the Irish potato famine a time period where a number of my own ancestors came to Canada from Ireland for the same reason From there, it goes on to Eileen, Mary s daughter, who gets pulled into events that end with the assassination of Irish Canadian politician, D Arcy McGee.The writing is almost poetry, and the story has aspects of pure whimsy, and I didn t want it to end I also wanted to know about the peripheral characters, like Exodus Crow and the Captains Shaunessy If the book had been twice the length, I still would have been immersed. I am often caught between giving 3 or 4 stars to a book, and wish half stars were an option In my universe pun intended 5 stars is reserved for books that are not only well written and creative but that catch me up emotionally and transport me someplace else while I m immersed in them 4 stars are for books that are almost there I usually appreciate the writing but don t feel connected enough into the book s world Three stars are for books that are above average in terms of writing but basically run of the mill I put most mysteries and thrillers in this category Two stars are seriously flawed in my opinion as a reader I may or may not finish them depending on how interesting I find the subject matter And I would be unlikely to finish anything I d rate with 1 star life is too short and there are too many other GOOD boos to read That said, I would give Away 3.5 stars if I could Good writing, interesting plot, but I found myself drifting away from the page and having to keep pulling myself back to the story There were a few chapters that kept my interest and had me hoping I d end up giving it 4 stars, but in the end they were too few and far between. Speaking as a Canadian of mixed heritage, it s always a bit annoying when our official policy of Multiculturalism forces us to answer the question, What s your nationality Many times over their school years, my kids were told to bring in a dish from or write a report on their nation of origin, and as my husband is also of mixed heritage, there s something rather pointless, to me, about them self identifying as any single one of the many cultures that went into their makeup After I don t even know how many generations here, we re Canadians Nothing hyphenated, just Canadians But if I were forced to self identify, I would have to say that with hair as coppery as Mary Moira s and my mother s side being of pure Irish extraction, I m Irish than anything else Having had Irish Canadian friends, and also having visited the Emerald Isle as a teenager, I do have an emotional pull in that direction as well I ve read some Irish fiction over the years, some James Joyce and Maeve Binchy et al, but this was the first Ireland to Canada immigrant story I can remember reading and it had an effect on me that very likely has everything to do with this notion of self identification.In Away, Jane Urquhart starts her story in Ireland poetically evoking its landscape, culture and mythology , introduces the Potato Famine and its attendant death and devastation as well as emigration aboard the coffin ships for the lucky few , leading to pioneering in the harsh Canadian wilderness, and ends with a glimpse into the nascent politics of the young Dominion Interspersed are scenes from the modern day life of an aged descendant of the O Malley line as she tells the story of her family, giving voice to it even though she s alone, carrying on the tradition of oral history as related to her by her own elderly grandmother In many ways this felt like a substitute for the immigration story of my own family that I ll never know, and as such, I made a connection with this book that might make me rate it higher than others who don t feel this connection.Urquhart, in addition to being a novelist, has also published books of poetry and this lyrical sensibility is displayed throughout the book.In describing a forestLeaf and leaf and shadow, shadow and sunlight scattered there, and over here, by the wind.In describing loveThis is what love is like, one is asleep and the other is awake but you never know which one is dreaming.This is also a political book, making commentary on the British Landlords in Ireland even though the Sedgewick brothers are treated as oblivious and benign , the treatment of the Irish immigrants in Canada from the fever sheds in Grosse Ile to the impoverished Griffintown neighbourhood of Montreal , the Fenian Rising, and the Fathers of Confederation in particular D Arcy McGee.As a nation of predominantly immigrants, Mary s epiphany on being forced to leave Ireland is a shared part of our Canadian heritageShe saw the world s great leave takings, invasions and migrations, landscapes torn from beneath the feet of tribes, the Danae pushed out by the Celts, the Celts eventually smothered by the English, warriors in the night depopulating villages, boatloads of groaning African slaves Lost forests The children of the mountain on the plain, the children of the plain adrift on the sea And all the mourning for abandoned geographies And this exchange between the mysterious Algonquin named Exodus and Mary s husband notes an equivalence between the experience of the Irish and the Native CanadiansExodus leaned across the table and looked steadily at the Irishman And so I told her, he said, that some white men had seized my people s land and killed many animals for sport and abused our women The hands of the two men lay flat upon the table but their eyes never left the other s face What did she say then asked Brian.When Exodus replied there was a break in his voice She embraced me and said that the same troubles stayed in the hearts of both our peoples This exchange has further personal relevance for me since the only other heritage I know of is Mi kmaq on my father s side It may also explain why I am open to stories that involve the unseen behind the seen whether faerie folk or manitou.After having read the nonfiction Roughing it in the Bush earlier this year, Away reads like a realistic and well researched account of the early pioneers to Canada These two books also highlight the differences in experience that was awaiting the poor Irish even those privileged enough to have had land awaiting them as in Away, which I can t imagine was a common situation and the moneyed English who were better able to negotiate and navigate the British culture of Upper Canada Here s another personal story As a Canadian of mixed heritage, I honestly don t have either superficial or bone bred prejudices against other people, no matter where they or their ancestors came from Over the years, I ve heard many of the immigration stories from my husband s family, and as a result, have been amused to watch each of my red haired girls go off to school with a proudly researched paper on their Italian roots But it floored me when my mother in law once informed me that although she always knew her grandfather came from Tipperary, she had just learned that he wasn t Irish he was a Brit who had bought land in Ireland in the mid 1800 s, sold it at a profit, and then made his way to Canada I couldn t help but at that point feel a kind of sleeping with the enemy internal conflict Was he one of these notorious landlords Did he somehow profit off the Irish during the Potato Famine I have no clue, but reading Away brought this time alive for me.I enjoyed everything about Away, from the fates of the drowned sailor and the Latin teaching Brian to the beautiful and frenetic step dancing Aidan But this was really a story about the women In this family all young girls are the same young girl and all old ladies are the same old lady. This book connected with me in a way that made me feel like this same young girl, this same old lady, if only because no one has ever taken the time to tell me what my own story is As much as I proclaim myself Canadian first, maintain my impatience with the official need for hyphenated identities, I will concede that I likely have a need to know what path led me to where I find myself now perhaps I can even be indulged in mourning for abandoned geographies I never knew. An evocative story I loved how Irish mythology was weaved into Canadian history.