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As For Me and My House (1941)

af Sinclair Ross

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Serier: Canadian Fiction Studies

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4261057,981 (3.67)50
“It’s an immense night out there, wheeling and windy. The lights on the street and in the houses against the black wetness, little unilluminating glints that might be painted on it. The town seems huddled together, cowering on a high tiny perch, afraid to move lest it topple into the wind.” The town is Horizon, the setting of Sinclair Ross’ brilliant classic study of life in the Depression era. Hailed by critics as one of Canada’s great novels,As For Me and My Housetakes the form of a journal. The unnamed diarist, one of the most complex and arresting characters in contemporary fiction, explores the bittersweet nature of human relationships, of the unspoken bonds that tie people together, and the undercurrents of feeling that often tear them apart. Her chronicle creates an intense atmosphere, rich with observed detail and natural imagery. As For Me and My Houseis a landmark work. It is essential reading for anyone who seeks to understand the scope and power of the Canadian novel.… (mere)
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Viser 1-5 af 10 (næste | vis alle)
sunday morning new Canadian library-4
a strange book ( )
1 stem mahallett | Jun 10, 2019 |
I loved this seemingly quiet book...a book which packs a lot of powerful emotions and life challenges. This is the story of Mrs. Bentley, told through her diary entries spanning just over a year. Her husband, Philip, is a minister in a small prairie town. He struggles with his faith, with his artistic dreams; she struggles with him...to be a better wife. Her whole purpose in life is him, while he treats her largely with indifference. This story shows how lonely life can be, how hard it can be to communicate honestly with someone else, or even with yourself. The imagery is beautifully written. Mrs. Bentley is a strong character whom we come to know well despite the detachment she tries to maintain in her journal entries. Amazing book. ( )
1 stem LynnB | Jul 4, 2017 |
McClelland and Stewart contributed a lot to the literary landscape of Canada before they were bought out by Penguin. The New Canadian Library (NCL) was just one way that they kept great Canadian writing in print at affordable prices. Between 1958 and 1978 M & S published 152 titles in the NCL line but more were added after that. Now there is no mention of the New Canadian Library on the Penguin Random House website and, as far as I know, the only way to pick up NCL titles is at used book sales. This book was No. 4 in the New Canadian Library.

This book chronicles one year in the life of a minister and his wife. Reverend and Mrs. Bentley came to Horizon (a fictitious town in Saskatchewan) on April 8 in the 1930s. The Bentleys do not have any children although they have been married twelve years. There is mention of a still birth early in the marriage but no further details of pregnancies. Horizon is right in the middle of the Dust Bowl and the church seldom gets enough offerings to pay the minister his proper salary. The Bentleys have to scrimp and save and make do. If that wasn't enough hardship Reverend Bentley, who wanted to be an artist, doesn't believe what he preaches and he resents his wife for steering him into the ministry. Mrs. Bentley, an accomplished pianist, doesn't like to play the piano for fear of disturbing her husband. So each partner has given up what they love best and their marriage suffers. Then their quiet life is turned upside down by a series of events which could be the undoing of the marriage or could breathe new life into it.

The false fronts of the Main Street stores represent the lives of the Bentleys. They pretend to be devout, god-fearing people but have no belief in the preachings of the Bible. Reverend Bentley never indicates to his wife how much he resents being forced into the ministry or even how much he misses having children. Mrs. Bentley wears old clothes and deprives herself of her music and never tells her husband how much it bothers her.

I grew up with stories of what Saskatchewan was like during "The Dirty Thirties" but Ross's portrayal of the heat and the dust almost had me choking in sympathy. Equally his descriptions of the cold and snow of winter had me shivering in my boots. This book deserves to be read by every Canadian. ( )
1 stem gypsysmom | Feb 14, 2017 |
A book that will forever be dear to my prairie heart, but it can be gloomy and stark. About sticking it out, making it work, surviving. ( )
1 stem Muzzorola | Nov 24, 2015 |
I have never read a book written by a man from a woman's perspective written as convincing as this one. In fact, I don't believe he wrote it without help from his wife. In a sense it's more accurate expression of a woman than many books written by women.

This book is not for the plot-based, cliff-hanger types. It's for those who enjoy dwelving deep into the hidden sorrows, struggles and perceptions that go on behind the facade of human beings as we try to understand each other and bridge our silent conflicts. ( )
1 stem Debjani_Ray | Apr 30, 2014 |
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“It’s an immense night out there, wheeling and windy. The lights on the street and in the houses against the black wetness, little unilluminating glints that might be painted on it. The town seems huddled together, cowering on a high tiny perch, afraid to move lest it topple into the wind.” The town is Horizon, the setting of Sinclair Ross’ brilliant classic study of life in the Depression era. Hailed by critics as one of Canada’s great novels,As For Me and My Housetakes the form of a journal. The unnamed diarist, one of the most complex and arresting characters in contemporary fiction, explores the bittersweet nature of human relationships, of the unspoken bonds that tie people together, and the undercurrents of feeling that often tear them apart. Her chronicle creates an intense atmosphere, rich with observed detail and natural imagery. As For Me and My Houseis a landmark work. It is essential reading for anyone who seeks to understand the scope and power of the Canadian novel.

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