The Night Stages

The Night Stages

Book - 2015
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Random House, Inc.

Set mainly in a remote area of County Kerry in the ’40s and ’50s, Jane Urquhart’s stunning new novel is at once intimate and epic in scope.
Tam, an English woman in her thirties, has been living in this harshly beautiful region since shortly after the war, in which she served as an auxiliary pilot. She is now leaving her lover, Niall, who, like his father before him, is a meteorologist.

The airliner she is travelling on becomes grounded by fog at Gander Airport, Newfoundland. As she waits, she regards an enigmatic mural, and revisits not only the circumstances that brought her to Ireland but her intense relationship with Niall and his growing despondency over his younger brother Kieran’s disappearance years before.

We learn of Kieran’s troubled childhood and the tragedy that caused him as a boy to be separated from home and taken in by a widowed countrywoman who lives in the mountains behind the town. He comes to know the local people, among them a tailor, a fisherman-teacher, and a sheep farmer who is a great philosopher.  There is also the jeweller’s daughter, a young woman who will come to change the course of several lives. 

Running parallel is the story of Canadian artist Kenneth Lochhead and how he created the mural that is Tam’s only companion through three long days and nights. 
An elegiac novel of emotional depth that vividly evokes a time and a place, The Night Stages explores the meaning of separation, the sorrows of fractured families, and the profound effect of home in a world where a way of life is changing. It is Jane Urquhart’s richest, most rewarding novel to date.

Publisher: Toronto :, McClelland & Stewart,, 2015, ©2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780771094422
Characteristics: 396 pages ; 22 cm


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Feb 02, 2019

This was not a good read and is not characteristic of Jane Urquhart (who in the past has produced marvellous reads). It wandered all over the place, with seemingly random twists and turns that either didn't go anyway or were unsatisfactorily resolved. The only redeeming elements of the book are its descriptions of place.

Apr 29, 2016

I just put this down. Loved it. As I have been to that part of Ireland, perhaps that helped me relate to the book better than some of those who have been less than complimentary. The writing is like a flowing stream somehow, the narrative relaxing yet loaded with mystery. I really enjoyed this book. The part describing the race was particularly gripping and one felt "right there".

brianreynolds Dec 19, 2015

Perhaps on the heels of Enright's amazing The Green Road, I'd overdosed on enviable writing or Ireland itself. I may have under-appreciated both. Or I may have simply been underwhelmed by the rather long and unrelated pean to artist Kennth Lockheed, the less than sympathetic narrator/ POV characters (Tam and Niall) and their situation, and the seemingly never-ending journey to a bit of plot or compelling narrative. Not my fav Urquhart novel. But who am I to say? A different appetizer, a change in weather? It might well have been a hit.

Nov 21, 2015

I generally love Jane's books but I had difficulty with this novel. I got to page 35 and gave up - too sad/too depressing, etc. Not a fun read!

Oct 29, 2015

While I enjoyed this book, I was disappointed that the ending left the story without a conclusion as to what happens with the main characters. Does Tamara find Kieran? What does she do when she finds him? Will Niall look for Tamara or even notice that she left for a few days? Will Kieran seek out Niall's wife and will their romance be re-kindled?

May 07, 2015

this goes on my shelf right next to The Stone Carvers - loved them both. my favourites from Urquhart.

often I have difficulty relating to books that take place in Ireland but this one sang to me all the way through.

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