The Winter Vault Hardcover – Mar 31 2009
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"Profound loss, desolation and rebuilding are the literal and metaphoric themes of Michaels's exquisite second novel (after Fugitive Pieces)…. A tender love story set against an intriguing bit of history is handled with uncommon skill."
— Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Has it been worth the wait? It has. . . . Anne Michaels, in short, is back. "
— Globe and Mail
"A tender love story set against an intriguing bit of history is handled with uncommon skill."
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A major achievement. . . . "
— NOW magazine (Four Ns)
"Literature is all the better for it."
— The New York Times
"The anticipation, more than a decade in the building, has been eager, the recent buzz intense. And if McClelland & Stewart sees The Winter Vault, its new novel from Anne Michaels, as the publishing event of the season, there is vibrant and compelling justification. . . . "
— Ottawa Citizen
About the Author
Anne Michaels’s first novel was the award-winning, internationally bestselling Fugitive Pieces. Its prizes include a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Guardian Fiction Award, and the Orange Prize for Fiction. She is also the author of three highly acclaimed poetry collections. She lives in Toronto.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
But in the second half of the book, too many characters are introduced and the flowery text is hard to follow and frustrating. I slogged through the second half of the book. Overall, disappointing due to the book's annoying second half.
The story is set in the 1960‘s during the building of the St. Lawrence Seaway and later the Aswan dam in Egypt. One of the lead characters, Avery, is a civil engineer working on dismantling the sacred architecture of the Abu Simbel temple and moving it to higher ground. His new wife Jean accompanies him.
In a memorable passage, Avery paints watercolour landscapes on the bare white skin of Jean’s back on board the deck of a houseboat on the Nile. The image echoes the opening sentence of the book: “Perhaps we painted on our own skin, with ochre and charcoal, long before we painted on stone.”
The Winter Vault is a book about loss and dispossession and the inevitable loneliness of the human condition. But it’s also about individuals finding each other against all odds.
The book is in 3 sections which have little to do with each other so it could possibly have been split into 3 short stories.
Didn't see much of the male character Avery who as an engineer in crisis could have been extremely interesting.
If you want a long slow summer read, then enjoy this book
The story begins in 1964 when the ancient Abu Simbel temple complex in Upper Egypt needed to be carved up and moved block by block, through a complicated process, to higher ground, to protect it from the impending flood waters of the dam. Avery Escher, a British engineer, is overseeing this delicate operation. His relevant experience stems from his training through his father during the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Avery is a practical, forward looking man, who can only imagine positive change emerging from such major redesigning efforts. His young wife Jean, having grown up in this region of Canada, had a different perspective on the project, and as a result is less convinced of the potential benefits of change for the affected people. She is also concerned with the need to preserve what was there, such as the local flora and fauna.
What brought those two very different people together, other than some parallel aspects in their personal lives?Read more ›
Although, the novel is somewhat reminiscent of her other fictional masterpiece, 'The Winter Vault' is interwoven in such eloquent, passionate, and beautiful language that reading it almost seems like an intrusion to the melancholic, isolated, and beautifully flawed characters.
Due to a move, this book took its sweet time to get to me, but the wait was well worth it. Michaels' voice is ebullient, richly evocative, and still manages to be self-deprecating at times.
Most recent customer reviews
when I finished this book I wanted to start it all over again. Beautiful and intelligentPublished 5 months ago by Janet
I chose this because of the Lost Villages/St. Lawrence Seaway project content as I live in the Lost Viilages area. I began to read it twice the first time only a few chapters. Read morePublished on Dec 29 2012 by oldgirl
Do not waste your time. Its very boring. I could only get throught 1/3 of the book.Published on May 21 2010 by Tracy
I love Fugitive Pieces and was so looking forward to Anne Michaels' next book. In the event I am sad to say that I found it barely readable. Read morePublished on May 17 2010 by Katy Jurado