Friday, 29 July 2016

The Corrigan Women

M.T. Dohaney

 M.T. Dohaney wrote a series of three novels about life in Newfoundland in 1988.  They were reprinted in 2004, and I bought them when I was travelling in Newfoundland.  I found these in my stack of unread books.

Book One:  "The Corrigan Women"
   This novel follows three generations of Corrigan women.
   Bertha Ryan , the grandmother, came to the cove to work for the Corrigans, was raped by the son Vince, and gave birth to Carmel.      When Vince was killed in the war, Bertha had an affair with his brother Ned and gave birth to Martin.
   When Carmel grew up, she married a construction worker, but discovered that he was already married.  She moved to New York and left her daughter, Tessie, with grandmother Bertha.
I enjoyed reading about life in Newfoundland.

Book Two: "To Scatter Stones"
 Very well-written book about Tessie, the youngest of the three generations of Corrigan women.  She had been married but divorced and moved back to the cove, where she became the nominee for the Liberal party in the local by-election.
  Complicating the plot, is the return of her childhood sweetheart, who is now a priest.  Forbidden love- what an interesting theme!
"Sometimes, our need to touch, to embrace, to kiss, is so present that its scent hovers in the air as sweet and as heady as the blooms of the lilac trees, and we have difficulty manoeuvring ordinary conversation in and around this neediness."
  The title comes from a Biblical quote: "for everything there is a season, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to gather stones and a time to scatter stones....."

Book three: A Fit Month for Dying"
  Another book about Tessie who is re-married with a young son. Her father-in-law dies at the beginning of the book.  
Her mother-in-law Philomena is such an interesting character.  I think she may be typical of Newfoundland women of her era.  When Tessie and her husband suggest that Philomena move to St. John's to live near them, this is her response: "Never!  Here I can breathe.  Here I can have a clothesline stretching halfway across the meadow if I wants to.  I can let me drawers flap in the wind fer days on end.  Can't do that in St. John's, certainly not on those lots as small as a postage stamp.  Yer drawers would be flapping up against yer neighbour's window".
   Love Philomena!  Love reading about Newfoundland!
   This novel was lacking in plot but overflowing with description.

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