Thus, the typescript constitutes a shadow text, haunting the published novel. The second typescript was pages, however, and Laurence intended to reduce it by another hundred pages. Chesterton but by Hilaire Belloc. Jones has Laurence omit several passages where Morag agonizes about being unable to write. Knowing Morag is shut out of her wellspring of creativity makes sense of her neuroses throughout the entire narrative.
Putting the photographs in order suggests putting her life in order in preparation for death—as Laurence did in writing The Diviners, a rich tapestry interweaving strands of her life and art. Like Stacey, Morag contemplates her middle-aged self in the mirror, reflecting on age and death, indulging in Pre-Mourning Fire And like Laurence, she prophesies that The Diviners will be her last novel. Jones has Laurence omit this verisimilar vehicle. Ironically, this evasion initiates the narrative of the novel. Two of the six Snapshots are omitted and then reinstated in the typescript.
Appalled, she fears that she has destroyed her past, but realizes that she carries her past like unclaimed baggage forever circling the carousel in her skull. She must re-member her past, now that the tangible evidence has gone up in smoke. The six Snapshots in River of Now and Then take Morag to the traumatic turning point in her life, the death of her parents. Next, The Nuisance Grounds recreates her past. In a passage excised from the novel, Morag reflects on memory, realizing that we fabricate our past.
First, she employs a tripartite educational model of reading, critiquing, and writing. Rosa Picardy. Cowboy Joke. Blue-Sky Mother. Barnstable Father.
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In the embedded kunstlerroman she answers this question, recreating her creative development. Morag, as an orphan, is a nuisance, and so it is logical that she is collected by the Scavenger, who tends the Nuisance Grounds, as Manawaka terms its garbage dump, the graveyard where the townsfolk consign their bottles of spirits and aborted babies—the refuse they refuse to acknowledge.
Christie and Prin provide Morag with a room of her own where she can write herself to sleep when attacked by a spell of the Hill Street blues, because Christie teaches her how to transform garbage into gold. Morag weaves Christie into her saga as Clowny Macpherson, an apt pseudonym for Christie, that archetypal jester or wise fool who wears a loony mask to protect his true self from scorn. In the typescript, Morag gives Clowny an axe named for Bonnie Prince Charlie, incorporating history and myth.
Summary good. Morag learns to contain her emotions, like her precious bodily fluids, spilling them onto the orderly lines of a scribbler. I wandered lonely as a cloud. This Wordsworth, now, he was a pansy, girl, or no, maybe a daffodil? Any man daft enough to write a line like that, he wanted his head looked at, if you ask me.
And he reads her a poem about the Celtic warrior Cuchullin by the Gaelic poet Ossian from two of his favourite tomes, introducing her to the oral tradition. Strong and friendly. Maybe all that about the wild roses is overdone? Perhaps Jones was right, for the story is sentimental and the style adolescent.
Morag reports for the Manawaka Banner, recalling the Neepawa Banner, where Laurence worked before she ultimately graduated to the Winnipeg Citizen. And she does, though not to him. Enough to give a sense of what attracted Brooke. Discovering her own voice as a woman writer is the process Laurence recreates in The Diviners. Can the story child really exist separately? Can it be both her and not her? Pygmalion becomes Frankenstein, however, when Morag becomes a feminist.
But she continues to write, progressing from stories to novels, as she searches for her own voice through ventriloquism via her heroines. Laurence notes:. Plots of her novels have been cut entirely. Instead, I have tried to work into the central narrative some idea of what she is writing about, without breaking the narrative flow by telling plots. This first novel proves pivotal when Morag realizes she has outgrown Brooke and his condescending critiques.
An Ariel figure, she is aided in her escape by Jules, a Caliban perhaps, the shaman who performs the magic rough magic? In the manuscript, Morag wonders whether she did it just to get the plot for a new novel. Odd—the tales Christie used to tell of Piper Gunn and the Sutherlanders, and now this book deals with the same period. The novel follows them on the sea journey to Hudson Bay, through that winter at Churchill and then on the long walk to York Factory in the spring The man who led them on that march, and on the trip by water to Red River, was young Archie Macdonald, but in my mind the piper who played them on will always be that giant of a man, Piper Gunn, who probably never lived in so-called real life but who lives forever.
Christie knew things about inner truths that I am only just beginning to understand. The Diviners is indeed a hall of mirrors, and Shadow of Eden may be the missing reflection. Certainly the excision of over one hundred passages achieved comparative concision and saved the novel from becoming an unwieldy monster, but at what cost?
These missing links are revealed by the typescript of the novel, however, which consequently constitutes a shadow text, haunting The Diviners. Carrington, Ildiko de Papp.
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