Tuesday, 24 November 2009

A Map of Glass by Jane Urquhart

This is a wonderful novel, set on an island in Lake Ontario, Canada. It follows the story of Sylvia (a woman with what is described as a 'condition' but either is a form of autism or just a personality trait that has been labelled by others to control her) as she aims to find out what happened to her lover, Andrew, who was found dead in the Lake. Sylvia meets with Jerome the young man who found Andrew and together they delve into the past.

Jane Urquhart beautifully evokes the landscape of the area round the lake and the tragic loss of the once vast woodlands that fuelled a huge timber trade until the trees disappeared and barley was planted until the land was robbed of its fertility.

The novel also beautifully studies artistic practice, Jerome's own work as an earth artist, his partner Mira, who is a performance artist and the tactile maps Sylvia makes for Julia, her friend who is blind.

It's a beautiful, rich book and as its that time of the year it may well be one of my books of the year!

A Map of Glass by Jane Urquhart, published by Bloomsbury

11 comments:

Paz said...

Very nice review.

Paz

Elizabeth M Rimmer said...

It is a brilliant book, very haunting

PurestGreen said...

I have this book on my shelf as a potential read for my grandmother. I read books onto tape and send them to her to listen to (she is blind). I haven't read it yet - is it terribly sad? I don't want to read her anything that is terribly sad.

Michelle Johnson said...

i've seen this book somewhere in passing. now i'm wishing i might cross paths with this book again. it sounds like a good one. have a great day.

Melissa B. said...

As the holidays approach, I'll have more time on my hands, and am looking for more reading material. Thanks for the rec...I'll check it out!

Deb G said...

That one sounds good! I'll have to keep an eye out for it.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Thanks for all your comments!

PurestGreen - yes it is sad, very moving,

Howard BME said...

By coincidence I also read this book recently (also from a charity shop in Edinburgh) and enjoyed it. I highly recommend The Underpainter, too, although it’s quite bleak. I haven’t read any other Jane Urquhart books, but she’s definitely a quality writer and one to look out for, even though she seems little known in the UK.

fourwindsphotojournal said...

I sure hope our library has this one. It sound really good.ro

Jenn Jilks said...

This is the one you told me about! I have to write this down somewhere!!!
Thanks for writing about it.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Howard - yes i really enjoyed the Underpainter too, also the Stone Carvers. She's one of those writers who isn't as well known as she should be here, but having said that I know a fair number of people who've read some of her work!

Fourwinds - hope you library has a copy!

jenn - yes this is the book I told you about!