Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Corrigan Women by MT Dohaney (1988)

You know there is not much demand for Can Lit when you can buy a signed copy of a Canadian novel for a mere $1.00. Let's be realistic.... who ever heard of MT Dohaney (that's "Jean" to her friends... whom I would be one of, if my name were "Betty") anyways?

Can't believe Betty let this gem slip away...

Dohaney explores the subject of shame... not shame that you bring upon yourself, but the shame
the clings to your family name. A shame that defines, limits and shapes three generation of Corrigan women - Bertha, who was sent away to serve the Corrigan mother and sons, her daughter Carmel who is haunted by her shell-shocked father and Tessie, who struggles to come to terms with her family legacy of rape, bigamy, abandonment and illness.

This book is so Canadian... and I love that about it!
  • nature as an adversary... when the rugged features of a rural NFL appear in this book, they are hostile forces - like the blizzard that roars its way through the opening funeral scene
  • pessimistic view of life... CanLit is not sunshine and roses, and Dohaney writes bad news like the best of them.
  • survival...And yet, you keep routing for her characters.. not that sunshine and roses will appear because that seems unattainable, but that they will simply survive. Because that's enough, isn't it?
  • rejoicing in the glimmers of happiness that appear... If life is 5 months of blizzards, 3 months of wind & rain and 4 months of mosquitos, you'd best enjoy the wonder of frost on the window pane, the glory of temporary rainbows and miracle of a cold lake on a blistering hot day. And that's enough to get us through, isn't it?
  • reliance on community... Despite the fact that the Corrigan woman are largely outcasts in their little village, Dohaney sings that song of community with the character of Millie who lives next door. Millie is the refuge from the storms that help all three women survive.

Thanks, MT "Jean" Dohaney... my fellow Canadian!

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