Review of "Voyageurs" (Margaret Elphinstone)
Author(s): Liz Niven
Copyright holder(s): Liz Niven
‘Voyageurs’ is Margaret Elphinstone’s seventh novel. It’s a fine story in weel kent classical mode; the quest o a brither seekin his sister in a faur aff and exotic lan, gey different fae his hame.
Mark is a Quaker fae Cumberland whae decides tae gan tae Canada tae fin his sister Rachel. She has merriet a Scotsman, Alan Mackenzie, bit she has suddenly disappearit intae the ‘uncharted wilderness’ in the unsettled regions o North America. The buik opens in the year 1812 an the reader embarks oan a lang journey wi Mark as he tracks across the muckle plains an sails up the rivers wi the canots du maitre.
The buik is a wunnerful portrait o Canada oan the verge o the Wars o Independence and in fact we fin oot as the plot unfolds, that Rachel’s husband is gey deeply involvit in the turmoils o the time.
The landscape and geography o Canada is intricately depictit and the novelist has researched her setting meticulously then portrayed it graphically.Wi a smatterin o the geography o Cumberlan we see the twa societies an landscapes juxtaposed in a nineteenth centurie time o Press Gangs an perilous sea journeys.
Alangside this picter o the fishermen an hunters o the North, trapping bear, dealin in furs, skillfully manouverin thir wey deep intae the territory o the Native Americans an this culture, ither complex themes are explorit.
Mark, the central character, fins himself oan a parallel quest; the exploration o his religious beliefs an cultural prejudices. Comin fae a religion similar in monie weys tae the Free Church o Scotland, nae singin, dauncin or general ‘frivolities’, Mark has tae examine his viewpoints. The adornments o hats o fur and beads an ribbons, the storytelling traditions o the Indians (still called this and no yet intae PC jargon), the smoking o pipes an the physical attractions o wimmen, all these delicht bit present him wi a quandary aboot how he views the world aroon him.
A must read fir awbodie wantin tae ken mair aboot the gowden lan o maple syrup an fearsome bears.
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Review of "Voyageurs" (Margaret Elphinstone). 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 2 March 2024, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=1013.
"Review of "Voyageurs" (Margaret Elphinstone)." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 2 March 2024. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=1013.
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