Solitary, nostalgic Liz Crane returns to her family's now-deserted farmhouse - once the setting for countless happy summers spent on the northern shore of Lake Erie - to study the migratory habits of the Monarch butterfly.
Encompassing all the colorful stories and blarney of successful Irish immigrants who have made the most of their relocation to North America, the Cranes' rich family history is now circumscribed by sadness. Liz's beloved cousin Amanda, a gifted military strategist, has been killed in Afghanistan, a loss that had been foreshadowed many years in the past by the disappearance of Amanda's charismatic father.
Reflecting on the fragility and transience of human life and relations - mirrored in the butterflies' restless flight patterns and transcontinental migrations - Liz finds that love is there to be found where, and when, you least expect it.
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"Heavy with literary allusions and overt symbolism, Liz's ruminations make for a ponderously slow if finely tuned read." - Kirkus
"Urquhart handles the layers of narrative with lyrical aplomb." - Financial Times
"Urquhart's writing is poetic, in the sense that it is beautifully compact and restrained when describing the most powerful emotions." - The Times (UK)
"Urquhart's style is reminiscent of that of the Pulitzer-winner Marilynne Robinson." - Irish Times
"In a past tense rich with nostalgia, and a voice filled with regret, Urquhart builds up a picture of a vanished idyll, a thriving fruit farm populated by an extended family sure of its place in the world ... Urquhart's prose brims with ... emotional sensitivity." - The Guardian (UK)
"The importance of place is a strong current in the work of Canadian writer Jane Urquhart. In Sanctuary Line ... she has crafted an austerely graceful, richly symbolic novel." - Metro
"Powered by the dense symbolism, intense emotion and preoccupation with nature that marks the romantics ... Sanctuary Line is a book lover's novel." - Globe and Mail
"Complex and thought-provoking ... Urquhart builds stories like an architect ... and the brilliance of [her] powerful ending is that it makes us want to start again." - Toronto Star
"The most compelling depiction of the sense of place in human lives." - Alice Munro
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Jane Urquhart is the author of seven novels - most recently Sanctuary Line - and four poetry collections. The Stone Carvers was longlisted for the Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Giller Prize. The Whirlpool won France's prestigious Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger; Away won the Trillium Award and was shortlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; and The Underpainter won the Governor General's Award.
Urquhart lives in Ontario, Canada.
Jane Urquhart: We do not know how Jane pronounces her name but in general the name (which originates in Scotland) is pronounced ur-kart
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