Charlotte Gray defends Away by Jane Urquhart


Charlotte Gray is one of Canada's best-known biographers and historians and has written eight critically acclaimed books of literary non-fiction.

Jane Urquhart is a bestselling novelist, well known for her evocative blending of history with the present day.

An epic family saga spread across multiple decades and countries, Away details the history of an Irish family in Canada. Esther O'Malley Robertson is the last occupant of her family's homestead in Ontario, where she is being forced out by an encroaching limestone quarry. Esther relates the 140-year history that brought her family from the inhospitable shores of Ireland during the potato famine to the challenging realities of the Canadian Shield. Shot through with Irish mythology, Away also vividly depicts the 19th-century pioneer life in settlements in Ontario at the time of Canadian Confederation.

Away is Jane Urquhart's third novel. It was first published in 1993 by McClelland & Stewart, and won Ontario's Trillium Award in 1994.

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