Quarry won The Miramichi Reader’s 2018"The Very Best!" Book Award for Best Fiction. And well deserved too! Graham writes beautifully and creates a great sense of place and time in this coming-of-age story. The characters, setting and story all felt very real, and reminded me of Alice Munro’s writing, in the ability to "embed more than announce, reveal more than parade." There are unexpected plot twists, and the pacing was great too, right to the end.
Quarry is a deftly written coming-of-age tale that flows like a strong current from the first page to the last. Its protagonist comes to see her world with a fierce compassion for its flaws and beauties, bringing the reader through a landscape of unexpected turns. Highly recommended.
I read this book in one sitting and have been thinking about it ever since. The book is beautifully crafted, the prose so lush. The quarry, and Caitlin's relationship with it, exerted a powerful draw and I felt anxious when Caitlin was away from the Quarry. This is a must-read, a powerful novel by a well-known poet and now novelist. Brava, Catherine Graham!
Graham’s poetry writing is evident in her spare prose. Lots of space for the reader to use their imagination to flesh out a scene, feel an emotion. Graham doesn’t spoon feed the reader, so unlike some novels where your mind can wander and still keep up with the details, you have to give your full attention to this book. Blink and you will miss something important that you didn’t see coming. The plot is most definitely not typical but the way it unfolds and all the characters in it feel very authentic.
An unexpected bonus, the novel is set in southern Ontario primarily in 2 small towns, Ridgeway and Grimsby. My husband grew up in Ridgeway, which I now know well from visiting his family, and both of us had vivid images of all the places Graham mentioned. He has very fond memories of swimming in Sherkston Quarry.
Beautifully told and heart wrenching. Catherine’s poetic sensibilities weave into a story of profound grief while coming of age. Elegantly developed characters so dimensional they felt familiar. The quarry itself was richly characterized. I wanted to read it slowly but I just couldn’t. So I’ll have to read it again just to enjoy the language. Very highly recommended.
After taking a wonderful 5-day intensive Creative Writing workshop with Catherine Graham, "Quarry" was on my must-read pile of books. Very quickly once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. This is an excellent book, clearly written by a poet who understands the beauty of language, and is a wonderful telling of an engaging story. Thank you Catherine –– I have now passed it on to Victoria Cowan's book pile.
I started Quarry and couldn't put it down. At times so hilarious I couldn't stop laughing to turn the page, then turns tenderly poignant. The narrator, Caitlin Marhag lives beside a water filled Quarry and the landscape plays an important role in the novel. Caitlin searches for her sense of self, and belonging as she moves from her teenage years into young adulthood. She is a relate able character and her interactions with a diverse group of characters are vibrantly portrayed. The section on her crazy summer job is something that everyone who has been a teenager can relate to. On the cusp of adulthood, Caitlin rolls with what life serves up, and it makes for a very funny read. The novel is moving, compelling, funny and sad; like life is for all of us. I loved this book.
In Quarry, Catherine Graham deftly plumbs the depths of longing, love and grief through the eyes of young Caitlin Maharg and her parents. The locus of this compelling debut novel is the family's home at an abandoned limestone quarry set on the Niagara Escarpment in Southern Ontario but the universalities and quirks of the human psyche and its quarry are vividly sketched and textured here - as you would expect by an accomplished poet in deep imagery and language that is both muscular and musical. Graham's quarry is a central character is this stunning book that shows her as a gifted novelist of people and place. Highly-recommended.