NOW A PENGUIN MODERN CLASSIC: In this celebrated novel, Margaret Laurence writes with grace, power, and deep compassion about Rachel Cameron, a woman struggling to come to terms with love, with death, with herself and her world.
Living alone with only her aging mother for company, thirty-something retiring schoolteacher Rachel Cameron feels trapped in a milieu of deceit and pettiness--her own and that of others. She longs for love and contact with another human being who shares her rebellious spirit, and when she has a summer affair with former schoolmate Nick Kazlik, she learns at last to reach out to another person and to make herself vulnerable. Poignant and singular, A Jest of God is an enduring work by one of the world's most distinguished authors.
MARGARET LAURENCE was born in Neepawa, Manitoba, in 1926. From 1950 until 1957 Laurence lived in Africa, the first two years in Somalia, the next five in Ghana, where her husband, a civil engineer, was working. She translated Somali poetry and prose during this time, and began her career as a fiction writer with stories set in Africa. When Laurence returned to Canada in 1957, she settled in Vancouver, where she devoted herself to fiction with a Ghanaian setting: in her first novel,This Side Jordan, and in her first collection of short fiction,The Tomorrow-Tamer. Her two years in Somalia were the subject of her memoir,The Prophet's Camel Bell. Separating from her husband in 1962, Laurence moved to England, which became her home for a decade, the time she devoted to the creation of five books about the fictional town of Manawaka, patterned after her birthplace, and its people: The Stone Angel, A Jest of God, The Fire-Dwellers, A Bird in the House, and The Diviners. In 1974, Laurence settled in Lakefield, Ontario. She complemented her fiction with essays, book reviews, and four children's books. Her many honours include two Governor General's Awards for Fiction and more than a dozen honorary degrees. Margaret Laurence died in Lakefield, Ontario, in 1987.
“Fresh and arresting…unforgettably good and nothing less than brilliant.”
“Superb and movingly human.”