Thursday, January 31
Book Review: Two Solitudes
Author: Hugh MacLennan
Pages: EBook 431
Summary: “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 aristocratic 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.
My Rating: 7.25/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: For the most part, it was an enjoyable read, a book that wasn't my favourite, but still worth reading.
There were times I felt the book moved slowly and felt that some of these parts were a bit stretched out. Not a lot happens in the book, but it does do an excellent job at examining its characters, and while I enjoyed this aspect of the book, some parts were very slow to move through. I also found a lot of the characters hard to like, well written, and they did have a good development throughout the book, I didn't like any of them, I think for some of those characters I did disliked, was possibly the intention of the author to help highlight the "tension" between the French and English. However, it I think my dislike for most of the characters made the book from a great read to a good read.
The writing of the book made it well worth reading. I really enjoyed the author's style and narrative throughout the book. Even in the slower parts the author managed to keep my attention and made me want to keep reading. I also enjoyed how he wrote a book that spanned through a long period of time as well as he did. He managed to write each section and move toward the next very well. It being a story over a span of time (1917-1939), I was worried there might be big gaps in the character development and natural flow of the story, but I didn't find that with this book.
I may not have read this book if it weren't for Canada Reads, but now I'm, glad I did as in the end it was a good read. Would I recommend it to read: I would, not a favourite, but well written and the story wasn't bad. I don't think it's a book for everyone, but it's worth reading.
What to read next: The other Canada Reads 2013 contenders - Age of Hope, Away February, Indian Horse, and the author's other works too.
Challenges: 100 Book Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge, EBook Challenge, New Authors Challenge, Read-a-latte Challenge