With stunning virtuosity, the stories in Jane Urquhart’s dazzling first book of fiction unearth universal truths as they reach across countries and eras. A woman runs away to a cottage in the English moors to escape a love affair; shards of glass reconcile a middle-aged wife to her husband’s estrangement; a grandmother makes a startling confession from her youth; a young woman discovers herself through the life of an Italian saint; and, in a spellbinding story of artistic jealousy, we enter the mind of poet Robert Browning at the end of his life. In these beautifully crafted stories, ordinary objects brim with meaning and memories radiate with significance as Jane Urquhart illuminates the things that lie just beneath the surface of our lives.
Jane Urquhart is the author of five internationally acclaimed novels: The Whirlpool, which received Le prix du meilleur livre étranger (Best Foreign Book Award) in France; Changing Heaven; Away, which won the Trillium Award and was a finalist for the prestigious International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; The Underpainter, which won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and was a finalist for the Rogers Communications Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize; and The Stone Carvers, a finalist for the 2001 Giller Prize and for the Governor General's Award for Fiction. She is also the author of a collection of short fiction, Storm Glass, and three books of poetry, I Am Walking in the Garden of His Imaginary Palace, False Shuffles, and The Little Flowers of Madame de Montespan (I Am Walking in the Garden of His Imaginary Palace and The Little Flowers of Madame de Montespan were published together in 2000 in a one-volume collector’s edition entitled Some Other Garden). Urquhart has received the Marian Engel Award, and has been named a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France. She was also the 2003 recipient of Alberta's Bob Edwards Award.
Urquhart has received numerous honorary doctorates from Canadian universities and has been writer-in-residence at the University of Ottawa and at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and, during the winter and spring of 1997, she held the Presidential Writer-in-Residence Fellowship at the University of Toronto. She has also given readings and lectures in Canada, Britain, Europe, the U.S.A., and Australia.
Jane Urquhart was born in Little Long Lac, Ontario, and grew up in Toronto. She now lives outside of Toronto.
“Urquhart combines the poet’s passionate feeling for language and the material world with nearly a classicist’s sense of form.…A lavishness of imagination is brought to bear on small moments, and the writing is of such intensity that a character is often revealed in one expression, a way of life disclosed in a single scene.…”
–Ken Adachi, Toronto Star
“A collection of mythic, dreamlike stories.…Description of her tales belittles their strength and cannot convey the elegance of her prose.”
“Urquhart has impressive talent. There’s nothing simple and obvious here; concentric circles of meaning ripple out from the stories, and the prose shimmers like reflections in a deep pool.…”
–Globe and Mail