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Two Solitudes (1945)

de Hugh MacLennan

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410948,074 (3.72)50
Winner of the Governor General's Award for Fiction Canada Reads Selection (CBC), 2013 A landmark of nationalist fiction, Hugh MacLennan's Two Solitudes is the story of two peoples within one nation, each with its own legend and ideas of what a nation should be. In his vivid portrayals of human drama in First World War-era Quebec, MacLennan focuses on two individuals whose love increases the prejudices that surround them until they discover that "love consists in this, that two solitudes protect, and touch and greet each other." The novel centres around Paul Tallard and his struggles in reconciling the differences between the English identity of his love Heather Methuen and her family, and the French identity of his father. Against this backdrop the country is forming, the chasm between French and English communities growing deeper. Published in 1945, the novel popularized the use of "two solitudes" as referring to a perceived lack of communication between English- and French-speaking Canadians.… (mais)
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    Canadien : a study of the French Canadians de Wilfrid Bovey (RedEyedNerd)
    RedEyedNerd: The French - English dualism of Canada is at the centre of MacLennan's novel which covers the years from 1917 to 1939. Bovey's study of French Canada appeared in 1933. Thus it provides contemporary background information to the world of Two Solitudes.… (mais)
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His books start off well and then get lost. ( )
  mahallett | Aug 2, 2020 |
Warning: This review contains spoilers

****

Hugh MacLennan’s best-known (by reputation, if not by content) novel covers the first three decades of the twentieth century, from the First World War to the Second World War, and follows the lives of one French-Canadian and one English-Canadian family. The stories of the two families combine with Paul Tallard, son of a French father and an English mother, who must learn how to find a place for himself in a society that seems to be split in two.

Overall, this was not a terrible book. This sounds like faint praise for a book from one of my favourite authors (mainly on the strength of two of his other books, The Watch that Ends the Night and Barometer Rising), but I had a hard time rating this one. The story itself sweeps the reader right along, and it covers a lot of interesting historical ground.

However, to a 21st-century female reader, more than a few men don’t come off very well. Athanase Tallard causes his family huge upheavals without consulting them, Huntly McQueen is a symbol of Anglo dominance in French Canada, Marius Tallard is a whiny self-absorbed prick, and even Paul has a moment where he seems to be questioning whether marital rape is physically possible. (I’m still in shock about that. WHY did he have to ask that? He wasn’t doing it, he was wondering it about somebody else, but URGH.)

But it’s not just the men who are capable of being jerks. Janet Methuen absolutely infuriated me with her martyrdom and guilt-tripping of her daughter, Heather, who ends up marrying Paul. Janet doesn’t want Heather marrying him because he’s French, and also he doesn’t have a job. Never mind that it’s the Depression and work is hard to come by.

Of course, I could be disproportionately angry with Janet because her guilt-tripping reminded me SO MUCH of my own parents giving me a hard time when my boyfriend had a hard time finding a job after getting his master’s degree. He graduated at exactly the wrong time; the government had a hiring freeze, and the private companies that would normally have hired him were busy going bankrupt or getting creditor protection. So I could sympathize with Heather when Janet was giving her trouble.

Fortunately, John Yardley the sea captain was a bright spot in this book, as were the descriptions of Montreal, Lake Memphramagog, and Halifax. And I certainly don’t regret reading a Canadian classic. But I’d probably suggest that you read Barometer Rising or The Watch that Ends the Night first, if you haven’t tried MacLennan yet. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jul 28, 2017 |
This book written by the marvellous Hugh MacLennan and was originally released in 1945. It’s a novel that has been on my “to read” list for a long time and it is a “must-read” classic for all Canadians. The novel revolves around the city of Montreal and the province of Quebec from just before the beginning of World War I and ends just as World War II begins in 1939. There are so many layers and so many intricacies in this book and it is defined by two solitudes as the title suggests. The two solitudes are varied. There are the solitudes of the English-speaking Canadians and the French-speaking Canadians, and the book depicts so clearly why there has been so much discord between the two nationalities in Canada. It depicts the solitudes of the Canadian way and Canada and our nearest neighbours the United States of America, and how and why there are such differences between the two countries. The most glaring thing is that Canadians really never considered themselves a separate country until after the second World War. We came into our own after that war, mostly because of the bravery and valour of the soldiers who fought and died in that war. Canada took it’s rightful place on the world stage after that war. There are the two solitudes of the fictional characters in the book. Young French-Canadian Paul Tallard, the son of a fading French Canadian aristocrat, is the soldering iron that connects the old French Canadian families to the English-speaking proletariat characters who controlled the money and affairs of Canada and its destiny. As Paul struggles with his English and French Canadian identities, he goes through many epiphanies that enable him to understand the solitudes and why they are there. When the book opens, the world and Canada are on the brink of war (WWI), but the world is also on the brink of enormous change and Canada is on the precipice of taking the leap forward or not - forever remaining a little country outpost in the British empire. As we all know we took the leap and became the Canada we are today. The main characters in the book are wonderfully drawn, but what really drew me in to the book is MacLennan’s love for Canada and for our vast and beautiful country. It was humbling to realize just how important and wonderful my country is. It’s one of those things that I’ve always known, but never really took the time to really examine. It’s the best place on earth and Mr. MacLennan makes that abundantly clear throughout this wonderful book. “O Canada, we stand on guard for thee”. ( )
  Romonko | Jun 9, 2015 |
what a dense, wonderful important novel. this was a re-read for me but i had lost so many details over the years it was like a new experience, this time through. following the strands of story arcs concerning 'two solitudes', through this novel, was amazing. maclennan wrote about so many important issues and brought heart and humanity to the telling. certainly a canadian classic and a book that should continue to resonate for generations to come. ( )
1 vote JooniperD | Apr 5, 2013 |
People mention this book often, as a political metaphor. But this book is such a loving and clear portrait of the times, people, and ideas that I fell in love with it. We've been happily married for over a year.
When I visited Montreal this summer I couldn't help but remember different scenes from the book, they are so full of place. ( )
  funfunyay | Aug 15, 2009 |
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Love consists in this,

that two solitudes protect,

and touch, and greet each other.

--Rainer Maria Rilke
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Northwest of Montreal, through a valley always in sight of the low mountains of the Laurentian Shield, the Ottawa River flows out of Protestant Ontario into Catholic Quebec.
Because this is a story, I dislike having to burden it with a foreword, but something of the kind is necessary, for it is a novel of Canada. (from the foreword)
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Winner of the Governor General's Award for Fiction Canada Reads Selection (CBC), 2013 A landmark of nationalist fiction, Hugh MacLennan's Two Solitudes is the story of two peoples within one nation, each with its own legend and ideas of what a nation should be. In his vivid portrayals of human drama in First World War-era Quebec, MacLennan focuses on two individuals whose love increases the prejudices that surround them until they discover that "love consists in this, that two solitudes protect, and touch and greet each other." The novel centres around Paul Tallard and his struggles in reconciling the differences between the English identity of his love Heather Methuen and her family, and the French identity of his father. Against this backdrop the country is forming, the chasm between French and English communities growing deeper. Published in 1945, the novel popularized the use of "two solitudes" as referring to a perceived lack of communication between English- and French-speaking Canadians.

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813.54 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999

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McGill-Queen's University Press

2 edições deste livro foram publicadas por McGill-Queen's University Press.

Edições: 0773524932, 0773524924

 

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