The Night Stages: A Novel, by Jane Urquhmart
Hardcover in Very Good Condition
Set mainly in a remote westerly tip of Ireland in the 1940s and '50s, this stunning new novel from one of Canada's bestselling authors is at once intimate and epic in scope.
Tam, an Englishwoman, has been living in this harshly beautiful region since shortly after World War II, in which she served as an auxiliary pilot. She is now leaving her lover, Niall, who, like his father before him, is a meteorologist. On her way to New York, the airliner she is traveling on becomes grounded by heavy fog at Gander Airport in Newfoundland. As she waits for the fog to clear, she notices an enigmatic mural that moves her to revisit not only the circumstances that brought her to Ireland but her intense relationship with Niall and his growing despondency over the disappearance of his younger brother, Kieran.
We learn of Kieran's troubled childhood and of the tragedy that caused him as a boy to be separated from his family and taken in by a widowed countrywoman who lives in the mountains. There he comes to know the local people, among them a tailor, a fisherman-teacher, and a sheep farmer who is an astonishing philosopher. There is also the jeweler's daughter, a young woman who will come to change the course of several lives.
Running parallel is the story of the painter Kenneth Lochhead and his creation of the mural at Gander that is Tam's only companion through three long days and nights.
An elegiac novel of unusual emotional depth, The Night Stages explores the meaning of separation, the sorrows of fractured families, and the profound effect of Ireland's wild and elemental landscape on lives shaped by its beauty. It is Jane Urquhart's richest, most rewarding novel to date.