Pub Date 01 Oct 2018
Talking about this book? Be sure to tag it using #TheShiningFragments #NetGalley
The Shining Fragments is a family saga about the Irish in Canada that explores the ramifications of abandonment, obsession, love, memory, and visionary power. Spanning the years 1882-1904, it follows Joseph Conlon from his early childhood in Ulster to his experiences of youth and adulthood as an immigrant. Left behind as a small boy on a Toronto train-station platform like so much forgotten luggage, Joseph grows up in a city bleak with bigotry. He discovers that he has artistic talent and becomes a designer of stained-glass windows. He is haunted by the spirit of his unborn sister, Annie, and the powerful and often conflicting influences of the women in his life. In the end Joseph is given the gift of hope on the same station platform where he was abandoned as a child.
Here is a convincing drama of an Irish boy who, after being abandoned in Union Station, seeks to make himself a life. What appealed to me is that the story is uniquely set in a well-researched, turn-of-the-century Toronto. The struggling characters come from all classes and, most important, their dramatic interactions are told with a gripping, compassionate power.—Wayson Choy