The Stone Carvers
By Jane Urquhart
(Viking Adult, Hardcover, 9780670030446, 392pp.)
Publication Date: May 13, 2002
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When the world was still reeling from the staggering losses incurred in the First World War, an unknown Canadian sculptor was raising a colossal monument in France, where so many of his countrymen had fought and died. Unveiled in 1936, the Memorial at Vimy Ridge still stands as a stark reminder of the more than 11,000 Canadians who gave their lives in France-and as a testament to the vision and single-minded obsession of its now-forgotten architect, Walter Allward.
It is against the backdrop of this incredible achievement that Jane Urquhart sets her intricately woven new novel. At the center of the story is Klara Becker, the granddaughter of a master woodcarver, who spends her childhood in a German-settled community in southwestern Ontario in the years leading up to the war. It is a childhood punctuated by tremendous losses: her mother dies of cancer when she is a teenager; her older brother disappears; and her brief but passionate love affair with Eamon O'Sullivan is cut short when he is killed in action. But Klara's inherited gift for carving will reunite her with her brother and bring her unexpected happiness.
In the tradition of Sebastian Faulks's Birdsong and Pat Barker's Regeneration, The Stone Carvers is vintage Jane Urquhart writing at the height of her powers.
Jane Urquhart is the bestselling author of five internationally acclaimed, award-winning novels. She is also the author of a collection of short fiction, Storm Glass, and three books of poetry. She lives in Southwestern Ontario. She is the winner of numerous awards and has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize for The Stone Carvers and the International IMPAC award.