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7 of 7 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 10 months ago by Irene


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7 of 7 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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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. 30 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 Margaret Laurence is the mother of Canadian Litature!, March 28 1999
This review is from: The Diviners (Paperback)
My last year of highschool we had to read The Stone Angel, and it was the only book assigned to me in highschool that I managed to finish ahead of sechduel. I have since been out of school for two years and when I found The Diviners I jumped at the chance to read it. And I loved it and everything about it, unlike the other reveiwers I was neither forced to read it nor was I looking for a book about a middle aged women to relate to. I read this book simply because Laurence is a great storyteller. She manages to wave the past and present flawlessly never losing the reader anywhere in between. I fond that the realisionship between Morag and Pique was much like the realisionship between Deliah and Cissy in Dorthy Alison's Cavedweller. So if you like The Cavedweller then you like this book. The same can be said for if you like Laurence's books you will Alison's books because she is the next step for Women's litature in North America!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Novel, but not for required reading, July 12 1998
By 
K. Stiffler "katethegreyt" (NY State) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Diviners (Paperback)
After viewing a film, "Taking Liberties", I decided to read THE DIVINERS because part of the story line involved it being banned from a high school English class. I cannot imagine why anyone would suggest this novel to a high school English class and I am a high school English teacher. The novel centers on a woman in her 40s and I believe that you need to be a mature reader to appreciate this novel. It is marvelous! I highly recommend it (read the other positive reviews for details). But reading reviews of THE DIVINERS and other novels by Laurence here at Amazon leads me to believe that many young Canadians are being turned off by Laurence because they are not ready for the themes and even the subjects of her novels. Some works need to be read later on in life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars To think I almost missed this one, Feb. 19 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Diviners (Paperback)
I had to read this book for an English class and I've read it several times since of my own accord. Full of brilliant symbolism, this book employs some fascinating literary techniques. Laurence's use of Morag's "memorybank movies" is so realistic that you really feel as you read that you are growing up with her. Her discovery of herself and acceptance of her flawed loved ones, such as her adoptive parents and her off-and-on lover Jules, is one of the best aspects of the book. Her realization that not only can she deal with but she is also proud of where she comes from is something I love to read about each time. It's a great book to study carefully, after you've read it once. If you just skim the surface, you miss so much. Great regional flavor.
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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 The Great Canadian Novel, March 16 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Diviners (Paperback)
This book captures it all: the tension between French Canada and English Canada, between the town and the city, between aboriginal and immigrant; Lawrence's work captures the ambiguousness that is Canada. This is also very much a book about women, and women's stuggles in Canada in the twentieth century. Very rich, full of detail, with vibrant characters, Lawrence's masterpiece is a pleasure to read again and again. It was (in my opinion) wrongfully banded from classrooms in Canada when it was published, and, unfortunately, remains largely unread by Canadian students. Note: telefilm Canada has produced a wonderful film version of this novel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, April 30 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Diviners (Paperback)
I'm a high school student in Canada who choose to read this book with the suggestion of my English teacher. I enjoyed the book and and all the different literary techniques used. I however, can see why the book was banned from high school reading lists. There is far too much highly detailed sexual description that 75% of high school students are not mature enough to read. It may be difficult for some of the more mature readers who have read plenty if novels in their lives to understand but most teens just aren't ready for that much detail. All the sex was my only complaint. Other than that, the book is great!
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The Diviners
The Diviners by Margaret Laurence (Paperback - Dec 4 2007)
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