The Stone Carvers

Jane Urquhart's book was shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction, and the Giller Prize in 2001.

Jane Urquhart

That rarest of things: a war novel with a happy ending. Though the battlefields only loom in the distance in The Stone Carvers — as, indeed, they did in Urquhart's previous novel, The Underpainter — the shadows they cast are no less powerful. A stone monument to the Canadian soldiers killed at Vimy brings together siblings Klara and Tilman Becker, who were wrenched apart when Tilman ran away from home as a boy and, later, when the events of World War I took very separate tolls on them both. Their handed-down family skill in carving takes them both to Vimy on a mission that ultimately unites them. The book was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award and the Giller Prize.

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From the book

She knew she was a purveyor of costume, of disguise, a fabricator of persona, one who touched only the protective surface, never the skin, the heart. She was beginning, as a consequence, to envy almost everyone she met, to envy their small preoccupations, their carefully kept account books, the way they stood on streetcorners talking about farm machinery, the weather, the price of a bag of oats, fully connected for the moment to these ordinary things. Her connection continually slipped downstream, against the current, toward the swiftly disappearing past. What beyond the most cursory, practical knowledge of fashion, had the present to do with her?

From The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart ©2009. Published by Emblem Editions.

Author interviews