Cover image for The diviners.
Title:
The diviners.
Author:
Laurence, Margaret.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Knopf, 1974.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780394491561
Format :
Book

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Summary

Author Notes

Canadian author Margaret Laurence was born Jean Margaret Wemyss in Neepawa, Manitoba, Canada, on July 18, 1926. She attended United College (now the University of Winnipeg), receiving her B.A. in 1947. Shortly after graduation, she married Jack Laurence, a hydraulic engineer whose job would often take them overseas; the Laurences lived in England for a year, moved to British Somaliland in 1950, and then to Ghana in 1952.

It was in Africa that Laurence wrote her first book, A Tree for Poverty, which was a translation of Somali poetry and stories. She also wrote about her experiences in Somaliland in a travel memoir, The Prophet's Camel Bell, and used Africa as a setting for her first fictional work, a novel called This Side Jordan, and a collection of short stories, The Tomorrow Tamers. This Side Jordan received the 1961 Beta Sigma Phi Award for the best first novel by a Canadian.

Laurence is best known, however, for her Manawaka books, which are set in Canada. They include The Stone Angel, The Fire Dwellers House, A Bird in the House, A Jest of God, and The Diviners. The latter two books both received the Governor General's Award, in 1967 and 1975, respectively.

After living in Africa, England, and several other countries for many years, Laurence returned to Canada in 1974, settling in Lakefield, Ontario, where she remained until her death in 1987. The Energy Probe Research Foundation, an environmental organization for which she served as one of the directors, now sponsors the Margaret Laurence Fund for projects related to the environment and peace, areas in which Laurence was very active during the last decade of her life.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Excerpts

Excerpts

The river flowed both ways. The current moved from north to south, but the wind usually came from the south, rippling the bronze-green water in the opposite direction. This apparently impossible contradiction, made apparent and possible, still fascinated Morag, even after the years of river-watching. The dawn mist had lifted, and the morning air was filled with swallows, darting so low over the river that their wings sometimes brushed the water, then spiralling and pirouetting upward again. Morag watched, trying to avoid thought, but this ploy was not successful. Pique had gone away. She must have left during the night. She had left a note on the kitchen table, which also served as Morag's desk, and had stuck the sheet of paper into the typewriter, where Morag would be certain to find it. Now please do not get all uptight, Ma. I can look after myself. Am going west. Alone, at least for now. If Gord phones, tell him I've drowned and gone floating down the river, crowned with algae and dead minnows, like Ophelia. Well, you had to give the girl some marks for style of writing. Slightly derivative, perhaps, but let it pass. Oh jesus, it was not funny. Pique was eighteen. Only. Not dry behind the ears. Yes, she was, though. If only there hadn't been that other time when Pique took off, that really bad time. That wouldn't happen again, not like before. Morag was pretty sure it wouldn't. Not sure enough, probably. I've got too damn much work in hand to fret over Pique. Lucky me. I've got my work to take my mind off my life. At forty-seven that's not such a terrible state of affairs. If I hadn't been a writer, I might've been a first-rate mess at this point. Don't knock the trade. Morag read Pique's letter again, made coffee and sat looking out at the river, which was moving quietly, its surface wrinkled by the breeze, each crease of water outlined by the sun. Naturally, the river wasn't wrinkled or creased at all -- wrong words, implying something unfluid like skin, something unenduring, prey to age. Left to itself, the river would probably go on like this, flowing deep, for another million or so years. That would not be allowed to happen. In bygone days, Morag had once believed that nothing could be worse than killing a person. Now she perceived river-slaying as something worse. No wonder the kids felt themselves to be children of the apocalypse. No boats today. Yes, one. Royland was out, fishing for muskie. Seventy-four years old this year, Royland. Eyesight terrible, but he was too stubborn to wear glasses. A marvel that he could go on working. Of course, his work did not depend upon eyesight. Some other kind of sight. A water diviner. Morag always felt she was about to learn something of great significance from him, something which would explain everything. But things remained mysterious, his work, her own, the generations, the river. Excerpted from The Diviners by Margaret Laurence All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

I River of Now and then
II The Nuisance Grounds
III Halls of Sion
IV Rites of Passage
V The Diviners Album
Afterword

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