A Jest of God (Phoenix Fiction)
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Winner of the Governor General's Literary Award, A Jest of God was also the basis of the movie Rachel, Rachel.
"Mrs. Laurence tells [her story] unsparingly, with absolute authority, using her thorough understanding of Rachel to draw us into her anguish. We know Rachel, sympathize with her, and in a sense, become Rachel, so authentic is her voice. . . . A Jest of God has extraordinary clarity, beautiful detail, as well as the emotional impact of honest confession."—Joan J. Hall, Saturday Review
"Laurence's rendition is close to faultless . . . reaffirming her ability to draw, without pathos, life-sized women. . . . Skillfully wrought and eloquently told."—Marilyn Gardner, Christian Science Monitor
One of Canada's most accomplished writers, Margaret Laurence(1926-1987) was the recipient of many awards, including the prestigious Governer General's Litarary Award for The Diviners and A Jest of God.
It’s a little bright, I agree. ” “It’s explosive. All her kids were staring like mad. With admiration, she thought. Well, this is uncharitable and lousy-minded of me. What harm does it do, after all? Brighten the corner where you are, and so on. Maybe I’ll get around to doing my old brogues a pale lilac. ” “Polka-dotted with silver. ” “Sure. Just the job. ” And she chuckles throatily. She would probably do it, too, and find it more amusing than anyone. I envy this quality, but it appals me as well. She is gathering up the tea cups, whistling She’s Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage.
Nick – listen – They troop in, two by two, all the young animals into my Ark. And I must take an interest in them, because I’m the keeper. It wouldn’t be fair to them if I didn’t. They trust me very little, but at least they trust me this much – whatever happens, I will take charge, they believe. They enter sophisticatedly, because this is their second year here and not their first. They nudge and bump one another, daring to cry an astonished Hi! to long-lost comrades last seen yesterday, daring to stash around their persons pieces of noxiously pink bubble gum or black jawbreakers with an unidentified seed at the candied core.
Well, not yet, I thought –” And now I see, startled, that I have been putting it off. The days seem to have gone by so quickly. I can’t explain this negligence, because there is no explanation. “It would be advisable to see her without delay, Rachel. Summer holidays are coming up, and after two months running wild, he is not likely to be improved. It would be just as well to make the situation eminently clear to the boy’s mother right now. Whatever our shortcomings here, I would not want it said that we were a slack school, would you?
What did you think? This interests me. ” “I envied you, I guess. I don’t mean you, especially. People like you. ” “People like me? ” He is grinning now, and I sense that he means to hurt. “There isn’t anybody like me, darling. What you’re trying to say is you envied Ukrainians. What I would like to know is why. ” “Because – I don’t know – in comparison with the kids at my –” “At your end of town. It’s okay. You can say it. It’s not blasphemy. ” “Yes. All right. Well, you – I mean, they – always seemed more resistant, I guess, and more free.
I must have sounded so obsessed that finally she told me, explaining beforehand that patients said some funny things and it made no sense and so one shouldn’t mind. Then she repeated what she’d heard me mumble. I am the mother now. The tumour turned out to be benign. The surgeon told me the next day. “You are a lucky young woman,” he said, and I felt weak-mindedly touched by the adjective, although he was all of sixty and would have thought of me as young no matter how haggard I looked. “You are out of danger,” he said.