Monday, April 29, 2019

'Away' by Jane Urquhart

An excerpt. 


“"I'm not going," she said. "Not ever."

Liam shook his ski pole in the air. "You're going," he shouted. "You're going to meet and marry a man who sells furniture, or who takes iron out of the ground, or one who owns a saw mill, a grist mill, a tannery—"

"Butcher, baker, candlestick maker!" chanted Eileen.

"You CANNOT," he roared, "spend the rest of your life in a TREEThis farm will never grow anything but boulders. We live on the Canadian Shield. Everywhere we walk, we're kept out of. You will go to church."

"'Boulders'? What do you mean 'the Canadian Shield'?"

"A blanket of rock! So you're going to make something of yourself. You are going to marry a gentleman. No farmers, no teachers, and no POETS."

"Are there any poets here?"

"No!"

"Then I'm not going to church! YOU get married. I'm never getting married. Last night," she announced, "I dreamed I was a fox in a burrow."

"A fox in a burrow," Liam muttered as he skied towards the cabin. "A fox in a goddamn burrow."

"Don't worry," he heard Eileen shout from behind him. "Everything is going to be alright. The crow told me."

"Jesus Christ," he said, throwing his poles down in the snow. "The crow told her. No one but a goddamn poet would marry her anyway."” ◆ 


Jane Urquhart. Away. 2018 [first published 1993]. Read by Michelle Winters. Audible Inc., Newark. [Audiobook excerpt transcribed by ear]
William Strang. The Meeting Place. 1915. Private collection.

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