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The Stone Carvers Paperback – Import, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Random House of Canada, Ltd. (2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771086857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771086854
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,759,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

A great history lesson and in a sense, history within history.
Michael Younder
The third section of the novel draws the different threads of the story together and moves it to a different, yet intensely compelling level.
Friederike Knabe
At a recent reading I attended, the author was asked what this book was about.
Cipriano

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Bennett on July 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book was the first I've read of Jane Urquhart's novels. I read reviews about it here on Amazon before I read the book, and I was worried that I would find it too long as some reviews suggested, but I loved it. I didn't find it long at all. In fact I couldn't put it down! I took it with me everywhere, even to the golf course! Ha. The descriptions of the work that went into the stone and wood carving performed in the book made me want to go out and buy a set of carving tools. Today I went out and bought two more of her books; Away and The Underpainter. I'm hoping I will enjoy them as much as I enjoyed this one.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
As historical fiction, Jane Urquhart's new book "The Stone Carvers" had the same immense impact for me that Taylor Caldwell's "Dear and Glorious Physician" did many years ago. There are several good summaries of the plot above, so I won't go into that here. (I will say that the character of Tilman reminded me so much of Mary in Urquhart's "Away", though!) I've been fortunate to read lots of good Canadian literature recently such as "From Bruised Fell" by Jane Finlay-Young and "A Good House" by Bonnie Burnard. Although I was given "The Stone Carvers" as a gift in November, it was only recently, after finishing "What's Bred in the Bone" by Robertson Davies and wanting more good Canadian literature, that it felt like the time to read this. And it was. Once begun, I could not bear to put this book down each night. The characters' humanness and deeply felt emotions, like those in Urquhart's "Away", got under my skin and I could not wait to find out what happened as the story moved along. This book is intelligent in a way not many are these days, directly addressing the longings of the heart. In my estimation, you can't go wrong reading this book. After reading "Away", I had a deep longing to visit Ireland and Wales; now, having just read "The Stone Carvers", a visit to the monument at Vimy seems inevitable too. I love the quote from the review above about the redemptive nature of art - this book itself proves that to be true. Enjoy!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael Younder on June 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Jane carved this book, as it builds towards its moving climax slowly - very slowly at times. A great history lesson and in a sense, history within history. The Stone Carvers reveals one of what surely are a thousand small but significant tales woven deeply within the larger conflict of World War One. Very satisfying.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed reading this book. It brought back memories of my family's experience as immigrants to Canada and the culture we brought with us as artists and art lovers. The story of Vimy Ridge was extraordinary and in my opinioin was one of the most significant parts of the book. Most Canadians know little if anything about this WW1 historic event. This book would be an excellent read for all high school English and History students. As an artist I found the text revealing and meaningful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Friederike Knabe VINE VOICE on February 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
Klara Becker had decided to live like a spinster. Although still young, she doesn't expect any more from life: tending the animals on her inherited farm, sewing clothes for the villagers to earn a little extra money, and burying the memories of love and loss, until... She is unquestionably Jane Urquhart's heroine in this wonderfully rich and absorbing novel about deep emotions, drive and determination. Set in the nineteen thirties, against the continuing aftermath of the most devastating historical event of the early twentieth century, World War I, the author by concentrating on intimate portraits of her protagonists brings to life the personal challenges ordinary people faced during these difficult times.

The novel is structured into three distinct sections, focusing in turn on Klara, her brother Tilman and the construction of the Canadian War Memorial in Vimy, northern France. Klara's character comes to life primarily through her own observations and inner reflections. The depth of her emotional being that stands in sharp contrast to her external "spinster" persona, is exquisitely evoked in Urquhart's lyrical language. The following quote gives a taste of it: "When one embraces a moment of rapture from the past, either by trying to reclaim it or by refusing to let it go, how can its brightness not tarnish, turn grey with longing and sorrow, until the wild spell of the remembered interlude is lost altogether and the memory of sadness claims its rightful place in the mind?..."

In this section, the narrative moves easily between the thirties and the late eighteen eighties when Klara's grandfather, master woodcarver Joseph Becker, immigrated from Bavaria to southwestern Ontario in search for a new life.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Gifford on January 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed much of this novel, but I have not been swayed either in finishing the book or by the lofty reviews that this is a great book. It's a good book -- it's solid, but not spectacular. Tilman is a fine character, a young man who knows from a very young age that his role is not to live in one place, but to roam. His sister Klara absorbs the family's obsession with carving in his absence. She falls for the silent Irishman, Eamon, and watches him go off to war.
Eventually a few of these characters make their way to Vimy to participate in the completion of the memorial -- an insufferable pilgrimage that to me does not work at all. I understand that Vimy is the crescendo of the novel, but to me it's an unlikely and uninteresting finale.
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