« One Guess Where I Won't Live | Main | Blog lack »

Reading Log: The Diviners by Margaret Laurence


The Diviners was published in 1974 and is sort of a Canadian version of Willa Cather's My Antonia. It's not especially plot driven, but rather tells the story of a girl who grows up in Canada in the mid-1900s. The narrative is interesting in that the narrator is primarily talking about her life from an autobiographical perspective, and she switches between the first person voice in the "now" and a third person voice for the "then." Morag Gunn was orphaned at a young age when her parents died of some disease or another. She was raised by Christy and Prin(cess) Logan, friends of her father's. The Logan's live on the outskirts of society; Christy is the resident garbage collector. He learns many secrets of people from all class levels, yet receives their scorn and degradation at the same time. Morag's embarrassment is like that of any child for her guardians, and it becomes a point with which she must come to terms.

Through the course of the story we learn not only about Morag growing up, but also her own daughter. As a newlywed to a college professor, Morag learns about the boredom and routine associated with middle-class families. She cannot find anything to occupy herself except writing, but Brooke refuses to accept that she has talent. Eventually she leaves and divorces her husband. After leaving Brooke, Morag spends some time with Jules, another outcast from her community. While they never officially marry, Morag sees Jules off and on throughout the book. She gets pregnant during her time with Jules, and becomes a single mother, while still pursuing a career in writing.

The novel is pretty difficult to describe. Not much happens that's particularly exciting or thrilling, but it is an interesting look at a woman's life in the mid-twentieth century Canada.