A Bird in the House: Stories

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University of Chicago Press, Jun 15, 1993 - Fiction - 192 pages
5 Reviews
A Bird in the House is a series of eight interconnected short stories narrated by Vanessa MacLeod as she matures from a child at age ten into a young woman at age twenty. Wise for her years, Vanessa reveals much about the adult world in which she lives.

"Vanessa rebels against the dominance of age; she watches [her grandfather] imitate her aunt Edna; and her rage at times is such that she would gladly kick him. It takes great skill to keep this story within the expanding horizon of this young girl and yet make it so revealing of the adult world."—Atlantic

"A Bird in the House achieves the breadth of scope which we usually associate with the novel (and thereby is as psychologically valid as a good novel), and at the same time uses the techniques of the short story form to reveal the different aspects of the young Vanessa." —Kent Thompson, The Fiddlehead

"I am haunted by the women in Laurence's novels as if they really were alive—and not as women I've known, but as women I've been."—Joan Larkin, Ms. Magazine

"Not since . . . To Kill a Mockingbird has there been a novel like this. It should not be missed by anyone who has a child or was a child."—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

One of Canada's most accomplished writers, Margaret Laurence (1926-87) was the recipient of many awards including Canada's prestigious Governor General's Literary Award on two separate occasions, once for The Diviners.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gypsysmom - LibraryThing

This is a small book of short stories. But, like The Stone Angel and A Jest of God, they all take place in the fictional town of Manawaka which is a thinly disguised Neepawa, MB where Laurence grew up ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - oldblack - LibraryThing

Ooh yes, this is a goodie! I've never been overly fond of short stories because I felt that I didn't get to know the characters well enough. This series of stories, however, features the same main ... Read full review

Contents

The Sound of the Singing
ii
To Set Our House in Order
43
The Mask of the Bear
62
A Bird in the House
87
The Loons
108
Horses of the Night
121
The HalfHusky
145
Jerichos Brick Battlements
161
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About the author (1993)

Canadian author Margaret Laurence was born Jean Margaret Wemyss in Neepawa, Manitoba, Canada, on July 18, 1926. She attended United College (now the University of Winnipeg), receiving her B.A. in 1947. Shortly after graduation, she married Jack Laurence, a hydraulic engineer whose job would often take them overseas; the Laurences lived in England for a year, moved to British Somaliland in 1950, and then to Ghana in 1952. It was in Africa that Laurence wrote her first book, A Tree for Poverty, which was a translation of Somali poetry and stories. She also wrote about her experiences in Somaliland in a travel memoir, The Prophet's Camel Bell, and used Africa as a setting for her first fictional work, a novel called This Side Jordan, and a collection of short stories, The Tomorrow Tamers. This Side Jordan received the 1961 Beta Sigma Phi Award for the best first novel by a Canadian. Laurence is best known, however, for her Manawaka books, which are set in Canada. They include The Stone Angel, The Fire Dwellers House, A Bird in the House, A Jest of God, and The Diviners. The latter two books both received the Governor General's Award, in 1967 and 1975, respectively. After living in Africa, England, and several other countries for many years, Laurence returned to Canada in 1974, settling in Lakefield, Ontario, where she remained until her death in 1987. The Energy Probe Research Foundation, an environmental organization for which she served as one of the directors, now sponsors the Margaret Laurence Fund for projects related to the environment and peace, areas in which Laurence was very active during the last decade of her life.

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