- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (20 May 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0747557802
- ISBN-13: 978-0747557807
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.1 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 489,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Stone Carvers Paperback – 20 May 2002
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"it boasts a rich brew of character and incident and isn't afraid to tackle the big themes." -- Mail on Sunday, June 2002
'...it does exactly what a novel is supposed to do - captivates, transports and beguiles' -- Irish Independent
'A remarkable novel ... Urquhart is a writer of great intelligence' -- Scotland on Sunday
'Jane Urquhart has created a monument to monuments, of great beauty and originality' -- Independent on Sunday
'Wartime romance, lowlife adventure and modern parable ... Urquhart's prose is as smooth and uncluttered as Margaret Atwood's .. triumphant' -- Observer
Top Customer Reviews
The novel is structured into three distinct sections, focusing in turn on Klara, her brother Tilman and the construction of the Canadian War Memorial in Vimy, northern France. Klara's character comes to life primarily through her own observations and inner reflections. The depth of her emotional being that stands in sharp contrast to her external "spinster" persona, is exquisitely evoked in Urquhart's lyrical language. The following quote gives a taste of it: "When one embraces a moment of rapture from the past, either by trying to reclaim it or by refusing to let it go, how can its brightness not tarnish, turn grey with longing and sorrow, until the wild spell of the remembered interlude is lost altogether and the memory of sadness claims its rightful place in the mind?..."
In this section, the narrative moves easily between the thirties and the late eighteen eighties when Klara's grandfather, master woodcarver Joseph Becker, immigrated from Bavaria to southwestern Ontario in search for a new life.Read more ›
Urquhart weaves a wonderful tale of the development of Canada together with the Great War, the threads brought together with a deep appreciation of art and its ability to represent the eternal truths of human nature.
A timely reminder of the futility and waste engendered by war, at the same time demonstrating her understanding of the power of love in all its forms.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I like the social history written about a time in the past, where people were creating a new life in a strange land, much as many people are having to do today.Published 9 months ago by Mrs. B. Mason
Excellent book to be kept on your bookshelf and read annually. It reminds me to personally resolve disputes and believe in love.Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
A good story with a good ending. It starts off a little slow in the first few chapters but once it gets going this book is great. It is an easy read and an enjoyable book.Published 18 months ago by PurpleGoth
This book was for my wife, who has read it and thinks it is a very good book. The postage and packaging were spot on.Published on 20 April 2013 by MR AD WATSON