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.
illiterate – it would make no difference to her. If ever he decides he doesn’t want to follow his father in the garage business, she’ll stare at him with total blankness. If he’s in a silver ship that one day lands on the moon, she’ll write him off sorrowfully as a boy who didn’t turn out well. Unless he gets in the papers or on TV for it. Then she would know it was all right to be approving. How shall I handle this? “I’ll have to tell you frankly. On two occasions, when he was supposed to be
myself. I’ll just slip into my housecoat, and make some coffee, and have a nice quiet evening. I’ll be just dandy. Don’t you worry about me a speck. I’ll be perfectly all right. If you’d just reach down my pills for me from the medicine cabinet. As long as they’re where I can get them handily, in case anything happens. I’m sure I’ll be fine. You go ahead and enjoy yourself, Rachel.” I can never handle this kind of thing properly. What’s behind it can never be brought out. She’d only deny, and be
sleep and leave me alone? Or die. Why can’t she die and leave me alone? And if she did, it would leave me alone, all right, completely. Would that be any better? I don’t mean it, anyway. I couldn’t really mean that. Of course we have our ups and downs, she and I. But as for wishing anything bad to happen – You mean it all right, Rachel. Not every minute, not every day, even. But right now, you mean it. Mean. I am. I never knew it, not really. Is everyone? Probably, but what possible difference
mown, and where a few bootleggers drive new Chevrolets on the strength of home-made red biddy. No – that’s as it used to be when I was a kid, and I would go with Stacey sometimes, because she was never afraid. I don’t know what it’s like now. Half my children live at that end of town. I never go there, and know it only from hearsay, distorted local legend, or the occasional glimpse from a child’s words. How cold the wind is becoming. I should have worn a scarf and my woollen gloves. I’ve just
stability. “How’s school, Rachel?” Fine, thank you. “I guess they must keep you pretty busy, all those youngsters.” Yes, they certainly do. “Well, I think it’s marvellous, the way you manage – I always think that anyone who’s a teacher is marvellous to take on a job like that.” Oh, I enjoy it. “Well, that’s marvellous – don’t you think so, May?” And Mother nods and says yes it certainly is marvellous and Rachel is a born teacher. My God. How can I stand – Stop. Stop it, Rachel. Steady. Get a