Two Solitudes

ISBN-10: 0771093586

ISBN-13: 9780771093586

Edition: 2008

List price: $22.95
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Description:

First time in the New Canadian Library "Northwest of Montreal, through a valley always in sight of the low mountains of the Laurentian Shield, the Ottawa River flows out of Protestant Ontario into Catholic Quebec. It comes down broad and ale-coloured and joins the Saint Lawrence, the two streams embrace the pan of Montreal Island, the Ottawa merges and loses itself, and the main-stream moves northeastward a thousand miles to sea." With these words Hugh MacLennan begins his powerful saga of Athanase Tallard, the son of an aristo-cratic French-Canadian tradition, of Kathleen, his beautiful Irish wife, and of their son Paul, who struggles to establish a balance in himself and in the country he calls home. First published in 1945, and set mostly in the time of the First World War,Two Solitudesis a classic novel of individuals working out the latest stage in their embroiled history. From the Paperback edition.
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Book details

List price: $22.95
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Publication date: 8/5/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 528
Size: 5.00" wide x 7.50" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.056
Language: English

John Hugh MacLennan was born in Glace Bay, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia on March 20, 1907. He was educated at Dalhousie University, Oxford University, and Princeton University. He taught English at Lower Canada College and McGill University. His first book, Barometer Rising, was published in 1941. His other works included Each Man's Son, Return of the Sphinx, Voices in Time, and The Other Side of Hugh MacLennan. He won the Governor General's Literary Award three times for fiction for Two Solitudes, The Precipice, and The Watch that Ends the Night and twice for nonfiction for Cross-Country and Thirty and Three. He also won a Royal Bank Award in 1984 and in 1987 he became the first Canadian to receive Princeton University's James Madison Medal. He died on November 7, 1990.

Robert Kroetsch was born on June 26, 1927 in Heisler, Alberta, Canada. He received a B.A. from the University of Alberta and a Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Iowa. He taught English at the State University of New York in Binghamton and at the University of Manitoba. His first novel, But We Are Exiles, was published in 1965. During his lifetime, he wrote nine books of fiction, seven books of non-fiction, and fourteen collections of poetry. His works included The Words of My Roaring, Gone Indian, Badlands, Alibi, and Too Bad: Sketches Toward a Self-Portrait. He received several awards including the Governor General's Award for Fiction in 1969 for The Studhorse Man, the Lieutenant Governor's Alberta Distinguished Artist award, and the Golden Pen Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Writers Guild of Alberta. He was named and Officer of the Order of Canada in 2004. He was killed in car accident on June 21, 2011 at the age of 84.

Northwest of Montreal, through a valley always in sight of the low mountains of the Laurentian Shield, the Ottawa River flows out of Protestant Ontario into Catholic Quebec. It comes down broad and ale-coloured and joins the Saint Lawrence, the two streams embrace the pan of Montreal Island, the Ottawa merges and loses itself, and the mainstream moves northeastward a thousand miles to the sea.
Nowhere has nature wasted herself as she has here. There is enough water in the Saint Lawrence alone to irrigate half of Europe, but the river pours right out of the continent into the sea. No amount of water can irrigate stones, and most of Quebec is solid rock. It is as though millions of years back in geologic time a sword had been plunged through the rock from the Atlantic to the Great Lakes and savagely wrenched out again, and the pure water of the continental reservoir, unmuddied and almost useless to farmers, drains untouchably away. In summer the cloud packs pass over it in soft, cumulus, pacific towers, endlessly forming and dissolving to make a welter of movement about the sun. In winter when there is no storm the sky is generally empty, blue and glittering over the ice and snow, and the sun stares out of it like a cyclops' eye.
All the narrow plain between the Saint Lawrence and the hills is worked hard. From the Ontario border down to the beginning of the estuary, the farmland runs in two delicate bands along the shores, with roads like a pair of village main streets a thousand miles long, each parallel to the river. All the good land was broken long ago, occupied and divided among seigneurs and their sons, and then among tenants and their sons. Bleak wooden fences separate each strip of farm from its neighbour, running straight as rulers set at right angles to the river to form long narrow rectangles pointing inland. The ploughed land looks like the course of a gigantic and empty steeplechase where all motion has been frozen. Every inch of it is measured, and brooded over by notaries, and blessed by priests.
You can look north across the plain from the river and see the farms between their fences tilting toward the forest, and beyond them the line of trees crawling shaggily up the slope of the hills. The forest crosses the watershed into an evergreen bush that spreads far to the north, lake-dotted and mostly unknown, until it reaches the tundra. The tundra goes to the lower straits of the Arctic Ocean. Nothing lives on it but a few prospectors and hard- rock miners and Mounted Policemen and animals and the flies that brood over the barrens in summer like haze. Winters make it a universe of snow with a terrible wind keening over it, and beyond its horizons the northern lights flare into walls of shifting electric colours that crack and roar like the gods of a dead planet talking to each other out of the dark.
But down in the angle at Montreal, on the island about which the two rivers join, there is little of this sense of new and endless space. Two old races and religions meet here and live their separate legends, side by side. If this sprawling halfcontinent has a heart, here it is. Its pulse throbs out along the rivers and railroads; slow, reluctant and rarely simple, a double beat, a self-moved reciprocation.
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