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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read the entire Manawaka cycle--it speaks to all women
The Manawaka cycle consists of the following books: "A Bird in the House", "A Jest of God", "The Fire Dwellers" "Stone Angel", and "The Diviners". It is truly a portayal the cycle of life for women.
I discovered Margaret Laurence while living in a log cabin in Canada at the height of my feminist awakening in the...
Published on Sept. 7 2000

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't get into it
Somehow it didn't grab me. I didn't finish it. I was disappointed . Maybe one day I will go back to it and give it another chance.
Published 5 months ago by Irene


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read the entire Manawaka cycle--it speaks to all women, Sept. 7 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Diviners (Paperback)
The Manawaka cycle consists of the following books: "A Bird in the House", "A Jest of God", "The Fire Dwellers" "Stone Angel", and "The Diviners". It is truly a portayal the cycle of life for women.
I discovered Margaret Laurence while living in a log cabin in Canada at the height of my feminist awakening in the 1970's. Although steeped in far more radical authors such as Betty Friedan and Virginia Woolf, Laurence's Manawaka series touched me as no others, perhaps because I identified with each and every woman of her books. The startling part was that none of their lives looked anything like mine--not in the slightest. And yet I felt as if I were each character and came away with a bit more insight into myself. I loved the way she chose women who were unlike each other, but all of whom had contact with each other in some way. One was a main character in one book and a minor one in another book. One was a young girl, another a middle-aged woman, and yet another a dying elderly woman. One was the wealthy daughter of a town leader, the other the daughter of the garbage collector. And each woman learned something about herself and her life through the drama of the story. Laurence's solutions for each woman were far from simplistic, but each woman came to some resolution in her life. To read only one misses the eloquence of the series, the portrait of rural Manitoba and of people who inhabit the imaginary town of Manawaka. I wish that the series were published in one volume so that readers did not risk entering the characters from only one person's perpective. I have not read the books since the 1970's and yet hold them very dear. I am now inspired to reread them from the perspective of a 53-year-old. I have little doubt that they will only be that much more intensely felt. Perhaps I will write another review after my rereading of them.
It is understandable that high school students might be unmoved by her books and I agree with the reviewer who suggested they might not be appropriate for mandatory high school reading. They require a bit more life experience than most adolescents have, but I venture to guess that her message is universally understood by women of all ages who are introspective. I think a good introduction of Laurence for youths might be "A Bird in the House", about a child's perspective on a death in the family.
I cannot think of any books that have had a greater influence on my adult life as a woman. I hope that the entire series is republished.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't get into it, Jan. 30 2014
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This review is from: The Diviners (Kindle Edition)
Somehow it didn't grab me. I didn't finish it. I was disappointed . Maybe one day I will go back to it and give it another chance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating, Dec 26 2009
By 
S. El-Hilo "Adores Books" (Burnaby, BC CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Diviners (Paperback)
An amazing read. The characters are so well developed that you feel the change in the characters as time progresses, and as they grow older. Morag will stay with me for a long time. Very compelling, and moving. Its real, its human.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a Canadian classic, June 5 2004
By 
I ain't no porn writer (author, "Crippled Dreams") - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Diviners (Paperback)
There are some spicy sex scenes, but it's hard to believe that this novel was called pornography when it was first published in 1974. Margaret Laurence got all kinds of praise and hate mail because of it, as well as disapproval from members of her congregation and people who knew her back home for writing "such stuff".
This story is a young prairie girl's search for real love, and in Morag Gunn we have the perfectly well-drawn believable figure of the independent young woman who defeats the odds and achieves the life she wants thanks to her strength of courage and perseverance. (...)
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5.0 out of 5 stars All Canadian Women Should Read This Book, May 17 2003
By 
Melanie (Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Diviners (Paperback)
I've read this book twice and I enjoyed it even more the second time. The characters are complex and interesting and their lives take unexpected twists and turns, making the story very realistic and very fascinating. The development of the storyline is such that you feel as if you are on the same journey as the characters, as the reader can't help to be emotionally connected to the little town and the main characters.
Laurence is a brilliant writer and this is her best work -- which is a big compliment since her other novels are incredible too.
I highly recommend this book, and especially to other Canadian women who will love Morag Gunn and relate to her life as a woman in Canada.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Canadian Literature at its best, Dec 3 2002
By 
Aoife Ruane (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Diviners (Paperback)
The Diviners is one book that I could not put down! The present and past are intermingled in a heart rending story of love, fear, confusion and the struggle to find ones identity. Laurence is a master of protraying the abiguity of Canada. Morag Gunn is herself, a figure of ambiguity, and throughout the novel is faced with the dilemmas af her nation. A true insight into the life of a small town girl, struggling with the limitations forced upon her. An unforgettable piece of literature and one that Canadians should be proud of.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Literary Analysis: The Diviners, May 6 2001
By 
Lisa Poling (Arlington,TX USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Diviners (Paperback)
Margaret Laurence's novel, The Diviners, achieves a stark sense of reality through the use of tone and diction. Margaret Laurence draws from her own background to create the unique sense of style that is perceived when reading her novel. Through the use of her background information, her novel has the impression of being more real, something that one can relate too, much easier than of a novel of pure fiction. Tone and diction play a major role in any writer's novels, but is how they are used that makes the difference. In The Diviners, the tone and diction are satirical, which create the stark sense of reality needed to make this novel work as a whole. For instance, Morag, the main character, who also is a novelist, sets the tone of the novel, by instantly badgering at the way she cannot accurately describe the river, "its surface wrinkled by the breeze. Naturally, the river wasn't wrinkled or creased at all-wrong words, implying something unfluid like skin, something unenduring, prey to age," (4). Satire is chiefly implied by the way Morag immediately contradicts herself. Or though her use of diction, satire can be found in the way Morag depicts a close companion, Maudie, " A wonder she didn't sew by hand with needle, thread and tiny silver thimble. At night. By coal-oil lamp." (45). Morag appears to be mocking Maudie's way of getting things done. The diction in Morag's way of thinking is also satirical, "Women working like horses. Also pregnant most of the time. Baking bread in brick ovens, with a loaf in their own ovens. Looking after broods of chickens and kids. Terrible. Appalling." (77). Morag is reflecting upon the hardships of the women of the pioneer age and how hard their life was compared to hers, and if they could survive all that, then she too can survive. The way she thinks about everything is satirical, which makes the novel and the characters appear so lifelike. Another instance is when Christi, her adoptive father, dies and she is approaching the funeral home and sees the funeral sign that says "Free Parking for Clients", she uses diction in a satirical way to deal with the harsh reality of life and death, "Die now and get free parking forever. Almost worth it." (324). Morag applies humor to deal with the pain of Christi's death. Throughout this novel the use of diction and tone are applied to produce a reality that the reader can identify with.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Literary Analysis: The Diviners, May 6 2001
By 
Lisa Poling (Arlington,TX USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Diviners (Paperback)
Margaret Laurence's novel, The Diviners, achieves a stark sense of reality through the use of tone and diction. Margaret Laurence draws from her own background to create the unique sense of style that is perceived when reading her novel. Through the use of her background information, her novel has the impression of being more real, something that one can relate too, much easier than of a novel of pure fiction. Tone and diction play a major role in any writer's novels, but is how they are used that makes the difference. In The Diviners, the tone and diction are satirical, which create the stark sense of reality needed to make this novel work as a whole. For instance, Morag, the main character, who also is a novelist, sets the tone of the novel, by instantly badgering at the way she cannot accurately describe the river, "its surface wrinkled by the breeze. Naturally, the river wasn't wrinkled or creased at all-wrong words, implying something unfluid like skin, something unenduring, prey to age," (4). Satire is chiefly implied by the way Morag immediately contradicts herself. Or though her use of diction, satire can be found in the way Morag depicts a close companion, Maudie, " A wonder she didn't sew by hand with needle, thread and tiny silver thimble. At night. By coal-oil lamp." (45). Morag appears to be mocking Maudie's way of getting things done. The diction in Morag's way of thinking is also satirical, "Women working like horses. Also pregnant most of the time. Baking bread in brick ovens, with a loaf in their own ovens. Looking after broods of chickens and kids. Terrible. Appalling." (77). Morag is reflecting upon the hardships of the women of the pioneer age and how hard their life was compared to hers, and if they could survive all that, then she too can survive. The way she thinks about everything is satirical, which makes the novel and the characters appear so lifelike. Another instance is when Christi, her adoptive father, dies and she is approaching the funeral home and sees the funeral sign that says "Free Parking for Clients", she uses diction in a satirical way to deal with the harsh reality of life and death, "Die now and get free parking forever. Almost worth it." (324). Morag applies humor to deal with the pain of Christi's death. Throughout this novel the use of diction and tone are applied to produce a reality that the reader can identify with.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great book just like its author, Oct. 31 2000
By 
Mo (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Diviners (Paperback)
Well, this is a great book and you gotta read it to know why. I had to read it in the last year of high school, this year. It started off like a pretty boring book. It is not exciting to talk about a river moving, is it? Then, it got interesting when Morag found out that Pique, her eighteen year old daughter, had left since of Gord, her boyfriend. She doesn't want him but on the other hand doesn't want to hurt his feelings. Morag, 45 years old, is trying to find out more about Pique. Morag starts remembering her past. The days when her parents died and didn't see them before since they didn't want to. The days back in Mananakwa where she had to live with her parent's friends. She remembered her days in school and the embarassment that she faced since her "new" father was a garbage man. Laurence switches between the past and present. In the present, she is trying to write a book since she is a writer. She is talking to her neighbours most of the time. They are almost in their 30's. A way for her to understand Pique. The pain in Morag's life continues till she reaches the present. In tha past, Morag was going to a university and married Brooke, a university professor at the same university and they moved to Toronto; but had an affair with Jules "Skinner". Then Pique was born. She had to leave Brooke and ended up alone with Skinner visiting from time to time. In the present Skinner dies because of throat cancer. All in all this is a great book which I recomend for people to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So good, I've now read it twice, June 11 2000
By 
J. Gifford (Las Vegas NV) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Diviners (Paperback)
This book remains, to me, as one of the top-five books ever written by a Canadian, and probably the most beautiful book written about the prairies. Morag Gunn haunts our memories: she's a stern, creative, strong, industrious woman who survives out west and thrives out east. I can't describe the story to you; you must read it yourself to understand.
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The Diviners
The Diviners by Margaret Laurence (Paperback - Dec 4 2007)
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