Cover Image: In Winter I Get Up at Night

In Winter I Get Up at Night

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Member Reviews

In Winter I Get Up at Night is a beautifully considered and composed history of Canada’s expansion west into the “northern Great Plains”. Jane Urquhart’s writing is fluid and reads effortlessly as her main character, Emer McConnell — a middle-aged itinerant teacher of music, and less frequently, art — goes about her business, driving long stretches from rural classroom to rural classroom, and remembers her own time as a student in one-room schoolhouses (and the imperious Inspector of Schools, and sometimes instructor, who followed her family from Ontario to Saskatchewan), the time she was severely injured in a tornado (and the year she spend recovering on a children’s ward with a colourful group of other patients, doctors, and nursing sisters), and the great love of her life: a famous scientist who would meet the permanently disabled Emer at remote hotels along the railway’s spur lines for years, but who would not agree to be seen with her in public. Exploring imperialism, racism, what women will do for love, and the true history of a people who are not as blameless as we may like to think we are, Urquhart forces us to reevaluate the Canada of the twentieth century through the eyes of a good person mulling over terrible events. It takes the entire novel to tie a bunch of threads together, and while I wasn’t exactly surprised by any of the ultimate revelations, everything does conclude on a satisfying note. I’ve been a longtime fan of Urquhart’s work, and this is a tour de force; rounding up to five stars.

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