The Whirlpool

      Jane Urquhart

The Whirlpool

Written in luminous prose, The Whirlpool is a haunting tale set in Niagara Falls, Ontario, in the summer of 1889. This is the season of reckless river stunts, a time when the undertaker's widow is busy with funerals, her days shadowed by her young son's curious silence. Across the street in Kick's Hotel, where Fleda and her husband, David McDougal, have temporary rooms, Fleda dreams of the place above the whirlpool where she first encountered the poet, a man who enters her life and, unwittingly, changes everything. As the summer progresses, the lives of these characters become entangled, and darker, more sinister currents gain momentum.

The Whirlpool, Jane Urquhart's first novel, received Le prix du meilleur livre étranger (Best Foreign Book Award) in France and marked the brilliant debut of a major voice in Canadian fiction.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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    Some Other Garden

      Jane Urquhart

Some Other Garden

An internationally celebrated novelist today, Jane Urquhart began her literary career as a poet. Some Other Garden brings together in a special new edition, illustrated by the beautiful photographs of Jennifer Dickson, two of Urquhart's early poetry collections. These poems centre on another time and place while vividly evoking life in the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV, as seen through the dispassionate eyes of one of his most influential mistresses, Madame de Montespan. Set amidst the ornate gardens and backrooms of the palace of Versailles, the poems brilliantly map the play of desire, vanity, dominance, and mortality that transpires within a king's garden.

From the chateau at Marly and the machinations of the court at Versailles, to the worms that play their final game of love beneath the statues in the garden, Urquhart renders the intrigues of court and romantic entanglement with startling imagery and astonishing craftsmanship. Some Other Garden is a dazzling work of imagination from one of Canada's most beloved writers.

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    Storm Glass

      Jane Urquhart

Storm Glass

With stunning virtuosity, the stories in Jane Urquhart's dazzling first book of fiction unearth universal truths as they reach across countries and eras. A woman runs away to a cottage in the English moors to escape a love affair; shards of glass reconcile a middle-aged wife to her husband's estrangement; a grandmother makes a startling confession from her youth; a young woman discovers herself through the life of an Italian saint; and, in a spellbinding story of artistic jealousy, we enter the mind of poet Robert Browning at the end of his life. In these beautifully crafted stories, ordinary objects brim with meaning and memories radiate with significance as Jane Urquhart illuminates the things that lie just beneath the surface of our lives.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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    A Map of Glass

      Jane Urquhart

A Map of Glass

Jane Urquhart's stunning new novel weaves two parallel stories, one set in contemporary Toronto and Prince Edward County, Ontario, the other in the nineteenth century on the northern shores of Lake Ontario. Sylvia Bradley was rescued from her parents' house by a doctor attracted to and challenged by her withdrawn ways. Their subsequent marriage has nourished her, but ultimately her husband's care has formed a kind of prison. When she meets Andrew Woodman, a historical geographer, her world changes. A year after Andrew's death, Sylvia makes an unlikely connection with Jerome McNaughton, a young Toronto artist whose discovery of Andrew's body on a small island at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River unlocks a secret in his own past. After Sylvia finds Jerome in Toronto, she shares with him the story of her unusual childhood and of her devastating and ecstatic affair with Andrew, a man whose life was irrevocably affected by the decisions of the past. At the breathtaking centre of the novel is the compelling tale of Andrew's forebears. We meet his great-great-grandfather, Joseph Woodman, whose ambitions brought him from England to the northeastern shores of Lake Ontario, during the days of the flourishing timber and shipbuilding industries; Joseph's practical, independent and isolated daughter, Annabel; and his son, Branwell, an innkeeper and a painter. It is Branwell's eventual liaison with an orphaned French-Canadian woman that begins the family's new generation and sets the stage for future events. A novel about loss and the transitory nature of place, "A Map of Glass" is vivid with evocative prose and haunting imagery -- a lake of light on a wooden table; a hotel graduallyburied by sand; a fully clothed man frozen in an iceberg; a blind woman tracing her fingers over a tactile map. Containing all of the elements for which Jane Urquhart's writing is celebrated, it stands as her richest, most accomplished novel to date. "From the Hardcover edition."

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    Changing Heaven

      Jane Urquhart

Changing Heaven

Two worlds are intertwined in this hauntingly beautiful story as it moves from Toronto to the English moors and to Venice, Italy. The time frame shifts between present and past, linking the lives of a young Brontë scholar (a woman in the throes of a troubled love affair), a turn-of-the-century female balloonist, and an elusive explorer with the ghost – or the memory – of Emily Brontë. Urquhart reveals something about the act of artistic creation, the ways in which stories enter our lives, and about the cyclical nature of love throughout time. This is a novel of darkness and light, of intense weather and inner calm.From the Hardcover edition.

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    Away

      Jane Urquhart

Away

From Library Journal

Like a heartbreakingly romantic ballad of hard times, unrequited love, and lamentation, Urquhart's third novel (following Changing Heaven, LJ 3/15/93) is an entrancing saga of a family who must leave Ireland for Canada during the potato famine of the 1840s. As a young girl in Ireland, Mary is taken "away" to the faeries after a young sailor (a faerie-daemon) whom she rescued dies in her arms. Although she does eventually marry, have a family, and start a new life in the Canadian wilderness, Mary still hears the call of her sailor and finally leaves her family to live the rest of her life alone by a lake. Her daughter Eileen, in turn, falls in love with an Irish nationalist whose passion is only for his cause; she spends the rest of her life "away" in thoughts of him. Urquhart beguiles the reader with a cast of lovable eccentric characters in a wonderfully surreal world that includes a talking crow and a man who can charm skunks "away." An extraordinary achievement; highly recommended.
Patricia Ross, Westerville P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

The Irish who migrated to Canada fleeing the potato famine had an impact and history well worth noting. Urquhart begins with the story of Mary, a maiden who becomes enamored, perhaps possessed by the spirit of a sailor who dies in her arms on the beach of her Irish homeland. Mary and her earthbound husband, Brian, migrate during the famine at the urging and expense of their landlord. It is this same landlord who appears in the New World to give their son, Liam, and his sister, Eileen, a new start after their father's death. Mary's fey heritage is passed on to her daughter and great-granddaughter Esther O'Malley Robertson, raised in Canada on the shores of Lake Ontario. Urquhart's blending of the spiritual and political sides of the Irish makes an amazing story told in a language that is melodious and laden with complex imagery. At the same time, her characters are unique people filled with the laughter and brooding legacy quintessential to the Irish. Denise Perry Donavin

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    Sanctuary Line

      Jane Urquhart

Sanctuary Line

Review

"Urquhart's prose is as smooth and uncluttered as Margaret Atwood's."
The Observer

"The most compelling depiction of the sense of place in human lives."
—Alice Munro

"Urquhart weaves centuries and stories together… She displays a masterful command of language and a grasp of the complexities that form the tapestry of each individual person."
Winnipeg Free Press

"Jane Urquhart is one of the country's most accomplished writers."
London Free Press

"No other Canadian novelist knows more about the history of rural southern Ontario than Jane Urquhart."
Toronto Star

"Sanctuary Line is a book lover's novel… her writing is often beautiful, stirring"
The Globe and Mail

"Urquhart's prose is pure gold…"
Winnipeg Free Press

"Urquhart builds stories like an architect… and the brilliance of Urquhart's powerful ending is that it makes us want to start again…"
Toronto Star

"Measured, dignified, calm on the surface but containing as much thematic richness and plain literary pleasure as a reader could care to dig for…"
—Montreal Gazette

"I'm grateful to have spent time with Sanctuary Line and soaked up Urquhart's nuanced wisdom…"
Vancouver Sun

"Urquhart has a great gift for the historical novel, for the melding of ideas, events and individuals into a significant whole."
—Claire Messud, The Globe and Mail

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Description

From the #1 national bestselling author of Away, The Stone Carvers, and A Map of Glass, Sanctuary Line is the eagerly anticipated new novel by Jane Urquhart.

Set in the present day on a farm at the shores of Lake Erie, Jane Urquhart's stunning new novel weaves elements from the nineteenth-century past, in Ireland and Ontario, into a gradually unfolding contemporary story of events in the lives of the members of one family that come to alter their futures irrevocably. There are ancestral lighthouse-keepers, seasonal Mexican workers; the migratory patterns and survival techniques of the Monarch butterfly; the tragedy of a young woman's death during a tour of duty in Afghanistan; three very different but equally powerful love stories. Jane Urquhart brings to vivid life the things of the past that make us who we are, and reveals the sometimes difficult path to understanding and forgiveness.

From the Hardcover edition.

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    The Stone Carvers

      Jane Urquhart

The Stone Carvers

Review

“The Great Canadian Novel.…An epic portrait of a nation’s birth.”
–*Ottawa Citizen

“Breathtaking. By the end of the book, Urquhart’s message about the inexorable human need to remember seems almost set in stone.”
Time

“Magnificent.…A spellbinding tale.…”
Independent (U.K.)

“This book is not just delightful, but essential.…Extraordinarily rewarding.”
Globe and Mail

“Triumphant.…”
The Observer* (U.K.)

“Sculptors are like lovers in this saga, awakening rock instead of flesh.…Urquhart powerfully evokes the wonders of stone and the carver’s art, always linking them to the human body.…The novel’s moving promise [is] that, if we are true to our gifts, we can at least strike a brief form from the obdurate stone of our fate.”
Maclean's

“Superb.…Urquhart clusters together momentous philosophical sentiments on such issues as aesthetics, mortality and memory in an epic prose that sweeps as far and wide as the Canadian geography.… She is a gifted storyteller.…[She] also writes of the most heart-rending ironies that have become part of our collective past.…Ultimately, Urquhart’s story, which is at once a romance drama, war epic and trail-blazing story of pioneers, speaks of the small actions – like the minute movements that make up the stone cutter’s craft – taken by individuals in the past that make our own future possible.”
Ottawa Citizen

“[Urquhart] has a mesmerizing ability to animate the past, calling up events and eras with extraordinary clarity and imbuing them with wonder and marvel.”
Quill & Quire

The Stone Carvers has the immediacy and wisdom of a folk t...

About the Author

Jane Urquhart is the author of five internationally acclaimed novels: The Whirlpool, which received Le prix du meilleur livre étranger (Best Foreign Book Award) in France; Changing Heaven; Away, which won the Trillium Award and was a finalist for the prestigious International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; The Underpainter, which won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and was a finalist for the Rogers Communications Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize; and The Stone Carvers, a finalist for the 2001 Giller Prize and for the Governor General's Award for Fiction. She is also the author of a collection of short fiction, Storm Glass, and three books of poetry, I Am Walking in the Garden of His Imaginary Palace, False Shuffles, and The Little Flowers of Madame de Montespan (I Am Walking in the Garden of His Imaginary Palace and The Little Flowers of Madame de Montespan were published together in 2000 in a one-volume collector’s edition entitled Some Other Garden). Urquhart has received the Marian Engel Award, and has been named a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France. She was also the 2003 recipient of Alberta's Bob Edwards Award.

Urquhart has received numerous honorary doctorates from Canadian universities and has been writer-in-residence at the University of Ottawa and at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and, during the winter and spring of 1997, she held the Presidential Writer-in-Residence Fellowship at the University of Toronto. She has also given readings and lectures in Canada, Britain, Europe, the U.S.A., and Australia.

Jane Urquhart was born in Little Long Lac, Ontario, and grew up in Toronto. She now lives outside of Toronto.

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    Map of Glass

      Jane Urquhart

Map of Glass

In the typical Urquhart mold, A Map of Glass is a novel about the past, the land, and art, subjects found in many of her previous novels. A young artist, Jerome, is alone on Timber Island to take photos of temporary art creations, or "absences," he has dug in the snow. While there, he finds the body of Andrew Woodman, an Alzheimer's sufferer, frozen in the ice of the river. Later, an older woman, Sylvia, searches out Jerome and his girlfriend in Toronto. Slightly autistic, she has fled her doctor husband in rural eastern Ontario because she wants to talk to Jerome about Andrew, her lover. The three sections of the book are intelligently constructed, with the two contemporary sections framing the central section, which recounts the history of the Woodman family, 19th-century shipbuilders and hotelkeepers on Lake Ontario.

Urquhart's writing is extremely resonant and always echoes her larger themes: "How wonderful the snow was; every change of direction, each whim, even the compulsion of hunger was marked on its surface, like memory, for a brief season." Her writing is also highly cerebral--little happens in this novel but there is an enormous quantity of thoughtful reflection. The depiction of the Woodman past, with its near-mythical characters and its grand hotel invaded by sand, is so deeply realized that the present feels amorphous in contrast, its characters infused with the ambiguity of modernism. In the end, however, Urquhart shows how this makes perfect sense for, with profound subtlety, she raises a startling question: In the face of shocking change--in landscapes, in memories that fade to nothing, even in the complete dissolution of the human personality in Alzheimer's--what can still be called reality? Urquhart is a subtle master at work. --Mark Frutkin

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