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category: History
published: Oct 2016
ISBN:9781443432085

A Number of Things

Stories of Canada Told Through Fifty Objects

by Jane Urquhart, illustrated by Scott McKowen

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0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $11.99
edition:eBook
also available: Hardcover Paperback
category: History
published: Oct 2016
ISBN:9781443432085
Description

From one of our nation’s most beloved and iconic authors comes a lyrical 150th birthday gift to Canada. Jane Urquhart chooses 50 Canadian objects and weaves a rich and surprising narrative that speaks to our collective experience as a nation.

Each object is beautifully illustrated by the noted artist Scott McKowen, with Jane Urquhart conjuring and distilling meaning and magic from these unexpected facets of our history.

The fifty artifacts range from a Nobel Peace Prize medal, a literary cherry tree, a royal cowcatcher, a Beothuk legging, a famous skull and an iconic artist’s shoe, as well as an Innu tea doll, a Sikh RCMP turban, a Cree basket, a Massey-Harris tractor and a hanging rope, among an array of unexpected and intriguing objects.

Bringing the curiosity of the novelist and the eloquence of the poet to her task, Jane Urquhart composes a symphonic memory bank with objects that resonate with symbolic significance. In this compelling portrait of a completely original country called Canada, a master novelist has given all of us a national birthday bouquet like no other.

About the Authors

Jane Urquhart

JANE URQUHART was born in the far north of Ontario. She is the author of eight internationally acclaimed novels, among them The Underpainter, winner of the Governor General’s Award and a finalist for the Orange Prize; Away, winner of the Trillium Book Award; and The Stone Carvers, a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Award and the Man Booker Prize. Her work, which is published in many countries, has been translated into numerous languages. Urquhart has received the Marian Engel Award and the Harbourfront Festival Prize. She is a chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. Her most recent novel, The Night Stages, was published in 2015. Urquhart lives in southeastern Ontario with her husband, artist Tony Urquhart.

SCOTT MCKOWEN is an award-winning illustrator and graphic designer. He works in scratchboard, an engraving medium in which white lines are carved into a black surface with a sharp blade. McKowen has illustrated a number of titles for a wide range of publishers. Based in Stratford, Ontario, he operates the design studio Punch & Judy Inc., which creates theatre posters and graphics for leading performance art companies across North America.

 

 

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Scott McKowen

SCOTT MCKOWEN is an award-winning illustrator and graphic designer. He works in scratchboard, an engraving medium in which white lines are carved into a black surface with a sharp blade. McKowen has illustrated a number of titles for a wide range of publishers. Based in Stratford, Ontario, he operates the design studio Punch & Judy Inc., which creates theatre posters and graphics for leading performance art companies across North America.

Author profile page >
Awards
  • , Walrus Best Book of the Year
Editorial Reviews

“Urquhart’s eerie, intense meditations about damaged seekers tracking salvation balance personal chaos with wider reflections on life and loss achieving an odd beauty and unsettling urgency.”

— The Irish Times

“Urquhart’s skill with words provides some wonderful imagery [in A Number of Things].”

— Quill & Quire

“Richly textured prose, and an intricate, many-layered structure.”

— Sunday Times (UK)

“Urquhart has a great gift for the historical novel, for the melding of ideas, events and individuals into a significant whole. Hugely compelling and illuminating.”

— Claire Messud, author of The Emperor’s Children

“Urquhart excels at making 100 years ago feel as vibrant as yesterday. ”

— The Christian Science Monitor

“The most compelling depiction of the sense of place in human lives.”

— Alice Munro

“Urquhart shares Davies’ fascination with the roots of creativity and Carol Shields’ bent for tracing the long arc of character’s fateful transit through time. But she possessed a tartly distinctive voice of her own. It is poetic but not self-indulgent, ironic but not arch.”

— New York Newsday

“Poignant, lilting, and emotionally true . . . Urquhart creates her own spell with language.”

— Chicago Tribune

“Urquhart’s prose is pure gold, the kind that inspires. It has stunning imagery that revitalizes the familiar or illuminates what’s often overlooked.”

— The Winnipeg Free Press

“Measured, dignified, calm on the surface, but containing as much thematic richness and pure literary pleasure as a reader could care to dig for . . .”

— Montreal Gazette

“Urquhart is a writer of great intelligence.”

— Scotland on Sunday

“[Urquhart] writes with an ethereal, emotional tangibility that is both nostalgic and energetic.”

— The Globe and Mail

“Urquhart writes with a clear, sensuous poetry, locating her imagery in the watery Irish coastline, the wilderness forests of Upper Canada, and a developing urban sprawl on the banks of Lake Ontario.”

— The Times Literary Supplement

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