Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Bird in the House by Margaret Laurence

That house in Manawaka is the one which, more than any other, I carry with me. Known to the rest of the town as "the old Connor place" and to the family as the Brick House, it was plain as the winter turnips in its root cellar, sparsely windowed as some crusader's embattled fortress in a heathen wilderness, its rooms in a perpetual gloom except in the brief height of summer.

Title: A Bird in the House
Author: Margaret Laurence
ISBN: 0771099851
Publisher: M&S/1970
Pages: 191

A Bird in the House can be read both as short story collection or a novel as the short stories are interconnected and yet stand alone. The stories speak of childhood, and girlhood very beautifully, depicting, pathos, wonder and also the joys of growing up.

The protagonist Vanessa MacLeod, is a keen observer and she is attuned to everything that is connected to her. This books speaks of family love, duty and the pain of death too. The conflict too is shown in a very fine way. When Vanessa's father dies suddenly due to flu, she misses him terribly and doesn't know how to cope with her grief. Her relationship with her Grandfather Connor is interesting. He is forceful, dominating yet a steady force. No one expects him to die all of a sudden although he is ninety-four.

With plenty of interesting observations, Vanessa manages to tell us so much about Manakawa. Despite liking the book, I find it hard to review it. Each and every character has a place in the book and are necessary for Vanessa's growing up phase. This book starts when she is 9 years old and finishes when she is around 40 years of age. Vanessa's narration is filled with interesting snippets and beautuful poignant emotions.

Book 1 of The Canadian Book Challenge 3


tea said...

I love Canadian authors. This Margaret Laurence book sounds wonderful. Thanks for a great review.

JoAnn said...

The connected short story concept is one I've been enjoying this year...will have to look for this!

Anonymous said...

I like the idea if interconnected short stories making a novel. This sounds like a good one.

John Mutford said...

"Loons" in that collection is one of my favourites-- so beautiful.

I left you a note back on my blog, btw.

Also, I've got your prize books in the mail. They said it could take 2-3 months! But at least you'll still have 9 months to read them for the Challenge!

Yvonne said...

This sounds interesting. Good luck with the challenge.

bermudaonion said...

Some books are easier to review than others, so I know exactly what you mean. The book does sound good.

Staci said...

I like how you get to follow her from 9 to 40 and the stories are interconnected..sounds like a winner!

teabird said...

I enjoy novels structured as connected stories, but I know what you mean: they can be hard to review because there's no narrative thread, only a point-of-view thread -- I like this review, and certainly will read the book !

Toni said...

Good Luck on your challenge..... I agree with Stacybuckeye... interconnected short stories making a novel sounds cool.

ibeeeg said...

This book sounds very interesting. I am going to add it to my TBR pile.

avisannschild said...

I love Margaret Laurence; she's one of my favourite writers. I need to reread her!