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They Shall Inherit the Earth [Paperback]

Morley Callaghan , Ray Ellenwood

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Book Description

Jan. 6 2009 0771093632 978-0771093630
First published in 1935, this novel is a penetrating study of a father and son caught in the moral and economic undertow of the Great Depression. The action hinges upon a sudden mischance in which accident and intention tragically coincide. Swept along by the inexorable logic of events, Callaghan’s protagonists are forced to re-examine the nature of individual conscience and responsibility. In their personal struggle is expressed the mood of the age, its cynicism and anger, its desperate idealism, and its agonized longing for redemption.


From the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: New Canadian Library (Jan. 6 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771093632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771093630
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 12.4 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #442,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

They Shall Inherit the Earth is among the most ambitious of Morley Callaghan's early novels. Its concerns are vast: Callaghan attempts, through a few entirely ordinary characters, to encapsulate as many of the crises of Depression-era Canada as he can, from economic hard times to religious doubt and familial collapse. Callaghan's protagonist, Michael Aikenhead, is the unemployed and estranged son of Andrew Aikenhead, a wealthy advertising magnate. In an earnest attempt at familial reconciliation, Andrew invites his son to join the family for a week's vacation at their country house. There are hints of promise at first, but the holiday quickly turns sour when Michael becomes implicated in the drowning of his half-brother, a spoiled and repellent young man named Dave Choate. Andrew Aikenhead becomes publicly associated with the drowning, and the Aikenhead family begins to plummet to their ruin. Michael's moral progress in the wake of this disaster takes up of the bulk of the novel--a long hard push toward reconciliation, renewal, and grace.

This is serious territory, and Callaghan's attention to moral subtleties is reminiscent of Turgenev or Dostoyevsky. Unfortunately, Callaghan's craft is not up to the standards of his forebears (or of his cosmopolitan friends Hemingway and Fitzgerald); his dialogue is generally stilted, his characters are stock, and his plot meanders far more than is necessary. They Shall Inherit the Earth is among the most insightful accounts of Ontario during the Depression, but Callaghan's gifts are far more apparent in his short stories. --Jack Illingworth --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

Morley Callaghan’s literary circle included Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Joyce. In a career spanning more than six decades, he published sixteen novels and more than one hundred works of short fiction.

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