Tuesday, 9 February 2010
The stone angel (Laurence) 251
"Above the town, on the hill brow, the stone angel used to stand...sumer and winter she viewed the town with sightless eyes. She was doubly blind, not only stone, but unendowed with even a pretence of sight" The stone angel sits on top of the grave of Regina Weese, now forgotten, a fate that seems like to beset the book's narrator.
The stone angel is the wonderful tale narrated by Hagar Shipley. An old lady, living with her son and daughter in law, who wish to put her into a home, she tells us about her life from childhood on the prairie, through marriage, to old age. The people important to Shipley are wonderfully evoked, making for a beautiful read. Astoundingly, although Hagar is 90, Laurence was only in her thirties when she wrote it, which is all the more impressive. I don't want to give too much away about the story, but it is so cleverly constructed, taking the reader between present, and past, and then into the future.
This book is the first book of a trilogy; the remaining titlesJest of God and the Fire-dwellers are also published by Virago, as is another one of her novels. I will be intrigued to read the rest of the trilogy, since apparently the second book has been filmed (and it seems unusual to film the second of three...). Published twice by Virago, my copy has the more recent cover.