What the Stones Remember

What the Stones Remember Cover

What the Stones Remember

A Life Rediscovered

By Patrick Lane

Trumpeter, Paperback, 9781590303894, 259pp.

Publication Date: December 12, 2006


In this exquisitely written memoir, poet Patrick Lane describes his raw and tender emergence at age sixty from a lifetime of alcohol and drug addiction. He spent the first year of his sobriety close to home, tending his garden, where he cast his mind back over his life, searching for the memories he'd tried to drown in vodka. Lane has gardened for as long as he can remember, and his garden's life has become inseparable from his own. A new bloom on a plant, a skirmish among the birds, the way a tree bends in the wind, and the slow, measured change of seasons invariably bring to his mind an episode from his eventful past. What the Stones Remember is the emerging chronicle of Lane's attempt to face those memories, as well as his new self—to rediscover his life. In this powerful and beautifully written book, Lane offers readers an unflinching and unsentimental account of coming to one's senses in the presence of nature.

About the Author
Patrick Lane, considered by most writers and critics to be one of Canada's finest poets, was born in 1939 in Nelson, BC. He grew up in the Okanagan region of the BC interior, primarily in Vernon. He came to Vancouver and co-founded a small press, Very Stone House with bill bissett and Seymour Mayne. He then drifted extensively throughout North and South America. He has worked at a variety of jobs from labourer to industrial accountant, but much of his life has been spent as a poet, having produced twenty-four books of poetry to date. He is also the father of five children and grandfather of five. He has won nearly every literary prize in Canada, from the Governor General's Award to the Canadian Authors Association Award to the Dorothy Livesay Prize. His poetry and fiction have been widely anthologized and have been translated into many languages. Lane now makes his home in Victoria, BC, with his companion, the poet Lorna Crozier.

Praise For What the Stones Remember

“In the sure and steady hands of a writer at the peak of his power, it is an achingly beautiful journey. There is a sorrowful beauty to the strong, poetic language. Despite the savage reality of the revelations, there is a peacefulness, a maturity of vision that is a pure gift to the reader.”—The Washington Post

“It is clear that in these vivid, intersecting worlds of nature and language, Lane has found true self-expression and a certain transcendence from the pain he seems destined to carry with him always.”—Seattle Times

What the Stones Remember is a dark and beautiful memoir. Lane, ever the poet, exudes an elegance in his writing even when describing brutality.”—Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“At once courageous, honest, and uplifting, this book of wisdom and wonder should be savored.”—Library Journal

"The sort of memoir you will leave open beside a favorite chair, and you will read it, I think, with long pauses to savor the beauty of the language and to reflect on its relevance for your own journey."—The Globe and Mail 

“To read this book is to enter a state of enchantment.”—Alice Munro

“Patrick Lane has written a memoir of heartbreaking struggle that manages to be beautiful and encouraging, finding anchorage in what was once called Creation, the natural world and its unstinting promise of renewal.”—Thomas McGuane

“A tough, lovely book.”—Margaret Atwood

“There are scenes in this book so terrifyingly beautiful they take your breath away. Patrick Lane guides us across a grueling landscape with a steady hand. This is a tremendous contribution by an author at the peak of his power.”—Alistair MacLeod

“This is the best book I’ve read in a decade. Here is a classic memoir, wrought in prose as beautiful as the natural world that is his obsession and salvation.”—Guy Vanderhaeghe

“This is a record of recovery. Of a life, nearly lost, out of the dark into memory; of spiritual wholeness through a poet’s attentiveness, season after season, to his garden—a real one. Only a writer of Patrick Lane’s savage but forgiving vision could accomplish both in the same breath, and with such breathtaking beauty and power.”—David Malouf