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Urquhart, Jane

painter story

(Canadian, 1949– )

Urquhart is a novelist, short-story writer, and poet. She won the Governor General's award for fiction in 1997 with The Under-painter. The story is told from the perspective of the American Austin Fraser, a celebrated modernist painter. His voice is disturbingly narcissistic. He appropriates the body of Sara, his model and lover, and the stories of his friends, and uses their richer emotional lives in an attempt to fill the moral emptiness at the centre of his own. His vanity allows him to claim credit for the deaths of his friend George and his companion Augusta. In Away (1994) the narrative follows Mary, a young Irishwoman, to Canada after a strange encounter with a dying sailor on the west coast of Ireland. The novel picks up Urquhart's themes of memory, history, and abandonment.

Anne Michaels, Margaret Atwood. See CANADA  TO

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