A Book About A WomanMarch 7, 2012 No Comments
Margaret Laurence’s last novel, The Diviners, provoked controversy amongst advocates of censorship when it first hit the shelves.
In 1976 religious leaders attempting to have it removed from schools and libraries said that it “reeked of sordidness.”
What higher acclaim can a novel have? Morag Gunn, Laurence’s protagonist, is a woman. You know what that means. A human. She’s an imperfect mother, lover, everything. Her career isn’t amazing. She moves back and forth through her life, rather than forward only.
I didn’t understand this novel when I was young, but I do now. And when I re-read it as an old woman I’ll understand something entirely different.
If anything lets the story down it’s the almost too perfect embodiment of the times in the characters, in stiff suit-wearing men and vague hippies. But it isn’t enough of a disappointment to hurt the novel, only to make it imperfect.
A sordid book. It is, and that’s why it endures, and why we celebrate this author who grasps womanhood and humanity in much the same way as she grasps the rhythm of her country.
The Diviners is a good old feminist fable which gives nothing to romance or coyness.
This is a book about a woman.
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