This is told in such an interesting manner Each chapter starts in the present, then Laurence takes the reader back in time memorybank movies, she calls them While Morag looks at some photographs, the reader is taken first to her birth, then her very young childhood These first are invented memories, but eventually are the memories of Morag Dunn We know only what Morag sees and thinks, what the other characters tell her third person limited.
Morag is also told stories This is the last of the group of Laurence s novels of Manawaka, and the stories are of the settlement, both of her ancestors and those of the Metis Morag, who is a successful writer in the parts told in the present, was raised in working class poverty But if you work, really really work, and get educated, something will come of it, maybe Like being able to get out of Manawaka and never come back Morag listens at night to the long wailing of the trains crossing the prairies, their voices like the spooky voices of giant owls She always feels warm and good at the sound, because she knows something which nobody else in this world knows Which is, one day she will be on one of those trains, going to the city and maybe even further than the city Going to the whole world.
I found this book in the back of a Salvation Army and flipped through it I bought it entirely because I was interested in the sheet music at the back, and I had no intention of actually reading the book But after reading the lyrics of the songs, I wanted to know who was Lazarus, King of Nothing Who was Piquette This book is raw The characters are flawed You can t help but absolutely inhale this story as you follow Morag s harsh and bitter and somehow innocent life The themes and hidden meanings are richly arranged, Bois Brulees, for example, after the burning of Piquette It s as if you know the characters, and love them, no matter how flawed they re portrayed The romantic interest for example, is portrayed with a pot belly and a sailor s mouth But you couldn t help fall in love with him alongside Morag You essentially become the main character, you love her daughter and you want to slap her senseless at the same time.
The Culmination And Completion Of Margaret Laurence S Celebrated Manawaka Series, The Diviners Is An Epic NovelThis Is The Powerful Story Of An Independent Woman Who Refuses To Abandon Her Search For Love For Morag Gunn, Growing Up In A Small Canadian Prairie Town Is A Toughening Process Putting Distance Between Herself And A World That Wanted No Part Of Her But In Time, The Aloneness That Had Once Been Forced Upon Her Becomes A Precious Right Relinquished Only In Her Overwhelming Need For Love Again And Again, Morag Is Forced To Test Her Strength Against The World And Finally Achieves The Life She Had Determined Would Be HersE DIVINERS Has Been Acclaimed By Many Critics As The Outstanding Achievement Of Margaret Laurence S Writing Career In Morag Gunn, Laurence Has Created A Figure Whose Experience Emerges As That Of All Dispossessed People In Search Of Their Birthright, And One Who Survives As An Inspirational Symbol Of Courage And EnduranceE DIVINERS Received The Governor General S Award For Fiction In About mid way through I decided that I had had enough I was not engaged by this novel most of it at that stage taking place in rural Manitoba and then Winnipeg, with a move to Toronto.
I found the characters were not pulling me into their lives, even the central character Morab I got tired of reading settings of flowers and willow trees by the Red river Sometimes the dialogue became trite and boring, so when Morab swoons and falls head over heels in love with an academic literature professor this is sprinkled with tedious and scholarly conversations about long dead authors, books and poetry.
When the story settles into the present tense we are faced with repetitious sequences on Morab s concern of her runaway daughter and her drinking problems This 500 plus page book could have used some editing it lacked zest.
I read this when I was about 16, and Christy s by their garbage shall ye know them speech was life changing Love this book I ve read it multiple times, but haven t re read it in about 15 years I should again.
I am giving this book a rare 5 star review, partially because I had not expected to like it, and I loved it If I was a writer, I think my style would be very similar to the writing in this book I loved the Memory Bank Movie passages It reminded me so much of several significant events in my own life, and I can vividly rember them I think the characters in the book were depicted very realistically and believable, flaws and all The book was written in the 1970 s and I hope our society has evolved somewhat beyond the cruel and thoughtless way humans can treat each other, but in many ways the challeges and prejudicies depicted in the book are still going on today As i have lived in manitoba all my life, it was also a hoot to have all the familiar geography of my home province referred to The book was not preachy at all, but showed some of the very complicated layers of human realtionships in a very compassionate way.
An intelligent, slow read for me I loved it I don t really know why, except maybe that I appreciated its honesty, and I think this level of honesty is rare I imagine that Laurence was a rational, two feet on the ground type of person, and I wish I could have known her I have people like this in my life, and I find them refreshing and easy My version of this book has a fantastic Afterword by Timothy Findley At only three or four pages long, it does a much better job than me obviously at articulating this REALNESS of The Diviners Regarding its history as a banned book, he says it has been plagued by the dread fear of honesty I couldn t agree.
As good as or better than The Stone Angel which is one of my favourite books of all time Well now this is too.
Feminist Very strong female character in the person of Morag Gunn Orphan at the age of four, she was taken into custody by the couple Christie and Prin Logan Christie is the town s scavenger garbage collector and divining is scavenging But don t get the notion that the female characters here are scavengers or loser Morag rose from that sorry early years and made own life altering decisions in her life so strong that she seems to have the biggest ball among the characters including her good for nothing professor husband and even her subsequent lovers.
The most interesting part of this book for me is the first 50 pages In the opening scene, Morag finds a note from her 18 y o daughter Pique who has just left home to join her boyfriend and go to Morag s childhood town of Manakawa a town in Canada You see, Margaret Laurence was a Canadian That note, plus the photographs that Morag keeps in the house trigger the memories of her past This was followed later by a series of memory banks in her mind For me, the use of those tools was so effective in telling Morag s back stories short and succinct Like patches or glimpses of the whole thing but enough for the reader to get the idea of who was the 47 y o present day Morag when she was young.
The reading is easy The prose is engaging The plot has enough interesting twists to keep you going Laurence is also very effective in showing rather than telling I have not been to Canada and my sister lives in Winnipeg for two decades now So, while reading I was imagining the surroundings although I know that this was written in the 70 s and things should have surely changed Oh I just miss my sister and should visit her someday probably when I finally retire from my corporate job.
But if you decide to read this book, it is because you like strong female characters For me this brought back for me the strong fictional characters of Jane Eyre, Helen Graham and Janie Crawford Strong female creations of strong female authors.
The novel is old but its theme feminist and message pro choice women have the right to decide what to do with their lives still very much ring true today.
I haven t been much of a fan of Margaret Laurence s work in the past, mainly because I found many of her characters a little on the whiny side And if there s one thing I refuse to do is spend substantial amounts of time with a whiner But the fact is, Morag Gunn, heroine of The Diviners, grabbed me Barring the brief period she spent spineless and married to the good professor, Morag s got balls A lot of self doubt inner talk who doesn t and balls And, importantly, in a way that doesn t deprive any of her male counterparts of theirs A number of big issues are tackled in this book but tackled gracefully, in the context of story and not for mere didactic purposes, and in a way that leaves you with questions than before and grateful for it Laurence is clearly a prose master and if she were alive today, I d send her a strongly worded letter saying so leaving out the bits about me thinking Rachel Cameron and Stacy MacAindra were whiners I laughed out loud , I cried out loud , I paused to stare into the middle distance while savouring a particularly astute observation or turn of phrase, I stayed up until 3 30 am to finish A good thing to experience, this A human thing.