by Jane Urquhart
Mary embraced the dying sailor she discovered washed up on the rugged Irish coast and was never the same. She was Away, her body there and functioning, but her mind in the otherworld, taken, as some believe, by demon fairies. Marriage and motherhood normalize her for a time, but inevitably she starts dreaming again. And once more she is Away.
This mystical, intricately-plotted novel follows the lives and fortunes of an Irish family from 1840, when they flee the devastating famine, to a young Canada, where they find life on the land can be brutal and unforgiving.
A large cast of memorable characters dream, sing, love, pray, and lead the reader on an engrossing journey of the heart and soul. Along with harrowing scenes showing the harshness of life in Ireland and in the Canadian backwoods, Away also explores familial love, patriotism, earthy passions, and private obsessions. Altogether a sweeping story shaped by the history and politics of the time, told by a true magician with words.
~ Jane Urquhart was born in 1949 in Little Long Lac, Ontario and grew up in Toronto. She lives with her husband, artist Tony Urquhart, in a small town in southwestern Ontario.
~ Canadian author Timothy Findley said of Away: "It is a great romantic tale - rich in imagery and with language worthy of Emily Brontë and Thomas Hardy. Like these writers, she is unafraid of words and spends them fearlessly. The uses to which she puts her command of language are beautiful and breathtaking."
~ “I use my imagination when I write. I think that my work is emotionally true in that in the same way I can't really write about a landscape I've never experienced, I can't write about an emotion I've never experienced. But I like to use my imagination because it gives me an alternative world. If this one gets too horrifying or too boring, I can always just go into the other one.” – from an interview in January Magazine, June 2001
~ Other Novels:
The Whirlpool - 1986
Changing Heaven - 1990
The Underpainter - 1997
The Stone Carvers - 2001
A Map of Glass - 2005