Tuesday 3 December 2013

The Whirlpool

Finished December 3
The Whirlpool by Jane Urquhart

This is a novel with many layers, complex and slow. The novel takes place in the summer of 1889.
Patrick works for the government in Ottawa, but has been having issues and has come to stay with his aunt and uncle in Niagara Falls. He is also a published poet and his interest in nature has him wandering in the forest, staring at the river, and interested in a woman he sees on his forest wanderings.
Fleda is the woman in the forest. Fleda's husband David McDougal is fascinated by the War of 1812 and even confesses to Patrick that he married Fleda because of her resemblance to Laura Secord. Fleda is not happen in the town and begins to live in a tent in a forest clearing, and David plans a house for the same location.When Fleda begins to realize that Patrick is watching her, she is both unnerved and flattered and wants to increase the connection with him, but her need has an outcome she didn't envision.
In town, Maud is the widow of the undertaker, still in charge of the funeral home despite her husband's death. Maud keeps a cupboard of the belongings of the floaters, the drowned people from the river and its famous falls. Maud has a young son, seemingly autistic whose behaviour connects these characters, and opens them to new experiences and ways of looking at things.
This is a novel that examines how we respond to how others view us. And how that response changes their perception of us further.


  1. I don't know? I just finished a Jane Urquhart, and I must say it took me until page 165 to even begin to understand what the heck she was talking about, boring to that point, predictable after that. All in all a disappointment. Slow doesn't begin to describe her books. I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks so. I stuck with it, because she was a Canadian, and I wanted to see what all the awards were for.

  2. I read this book ages ago and really enjoyed it. I admit I might have been influenced by having grown up nearby the setting. It's the undertaker's wife and her keeping the effects of those who drowned.

  3. It wasn't my favourite Jane Urquhart book, and her books do tend to have less action and more things to think about.

  4. Heather, I liked that aspect and her son and his issues with talking