4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Great writing....enthralling characters and psychology...., July 28 2004
I really enjoyed this book and would have to recommend it. The characters are enthralling, the pyschological undertones which serve the motives for their actions are interesting to decipher. What happened 10 years and 100 pages ago, or perhaps a generation ago creates an underlying motive to act out in the way the character does in the present. This aspect is truly fascinating. As is the mysteries always lying present to be discovered around the corner.
The writing is excellent, different from your typical novel, and I felt it almost had a slight touch of James Joyce in it, with Ms. MacDonald's ability to mix nursery rhymes, child's poems, and church hymns into the literature in a meaningful manner that contributes to the story.
What I didn't like was two aspects. One was Ginger. I admire Ginger for all his morals, hard work, and his "goodness". And then to break down in a single moment like that....while it doesn't make sense....as a man I have to say in respone to a previous reviewer... yes ladies there is actually indeed a lot of thought and second guessing that goes on between the process of getting excited and then suddenly deciding to enter somebody....Ginger would not have done such. As well I questioned Frances sudden desire to get pregnant and to get pregnant by ginger...why Ginger?....maybe I missed something with regards to that aspect.
My only other complaint was that looking back on it, it reads like it was partially funded by the Federal Ministry for Multiculturalism (yes there is such a thing in Canada) : Scots, Whites, Blacks, Catholics, Arabs, Protestants, Baptists, Homosexuals, Transgenders, Cripples, Child Prostitues, Spinsters, Single Mothers, Drug Addicts, Social Strife among workers, War hero's, incest,(...)...have I mentioned them all? All in one book relating to three generations of one family on little old Cape Breton Island...at the end of the day it seemed a little over the top and I question whether Ms. MacDonald was not trying to squeeze in a group for everybody...a sort of panacea of North America social groups all in one novel relating to one another so that everyone and every possible group may be included.....seemed a little unrealistic in that aspect.
However, the novel should not be missed. It will leave you thinking about it for days on end, especially the Frances character, as well as Theresa, Ginger, and Adelaide....I wish Ms. MacDonald had dove more into them...they were great characters who could have used even more developing. Perhaps if she ran a novel with a parallel comparison of these two families generational experiences in this one island and how they intertwined......now that would make an amazing novel!!!
Overall, do not miss this. The writing is magnificent and comes to you at a much differnt angle than most, she uses analogies and symbolic imagery in her descriptions to make you think about what is truly happening and the result is almost a poetic narrative.
If you like books that after reading, you are still thinking about while trying to sleep weeks later then this is for you. Do not be put off by the reviews saying it is so depressing....expect that going in and you will be fine!!!!