Monday, April 14, 2008

1924: The Able Mclaughlins by Margaret Wilson

The story of a Scottish community in Ohio, it is mainly the story of Wullie and Chirstie, two young people who fall in love and get married—but not before Chirstie suffers a scarring experience that affects her marriage.

It’s a simple story and it’s told in simple prose. I’ve read reviews that compare Wilson to Cather, but as far as I am concerned, Cather’s prose is far more sophisticated and flows more easily. Still, Wilson tells her story of the Scottish community with great effect. Her dialogue feels authentic and the characters, while uncomplicated, are warmly drawn.

While the story is ostensibly about Wullie and Chirstie, Wullie’s mother Isobel is a powerful figure—a tower of strength with a vast capacity for compassion.

The resolution of the story is the weakest part, but it still leaves the reader more or less satisfied with its resonance to Wullie’s experiences during the Civil War.

A good book that illuminates the lives of hard-working Scots immigrant farmers in the 19th century.

1 comment:

Bybee said...

Thanks for your review...I'm really curious about the older, slightly more obscure winners, and can't wait to get to them!