Jane Urquhart’s enchanting novel, Away, is a touching tale of love and abandonment that spans four generations and covers two continents. Esther, an elderly woman narrates her great-grandmother Mary’s poor beginnings on the northern Irish coastline and her desperate move across the Atlantic to the unforgiving shores of the Canadian Great Lakes.
Her description of the suffering and terrible injustices experienced by the victims of the Irish potato famine was heart wrenching, as was the crude and poor conditions of the Irish settlers living in Montreal’s Griffintown. Not much, unfortunately, was mentioned of the horrors of Grosse-Ile where so many Irish immigrants perished
The writing is lyrical and well-crafted, blending the magical and the political with the stark realism of each generation.