Published by Harper Flamingo Canada
484 pages, 1999
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Reviewed by Monica Stark
What would you think if you met someone who told you they had lived forever? More: if they had evidence on several fronts to back up their claim? This is the dilemma that confronts noted psychiatrist Carl Jung in 1912 when a new patient is brought to the Bürgholzli Clinic in Zürich where Jung is in residence.
Lady Quartermaine had shed her overcoat and could now be seen in a lamplit blue, high-waisted gown with a violet-coloured overlay of lace. Her eyes were a mixture of both these colours, though now, her pupils were so enlarged her eyes seemed almost entirely black. She was toying with her gloves, laid out in her lap like pets she might have brought to soothe her. The veils of her wide-brimmed hat had been drawn aside and rested against her hair, giving the appearance of smoke.
In this description, we not only meet the Lady Quartermaine, we also get a quick view of what has made Timothy Findley one of the best-loved and awarded Canadian writers. Findley has received the Governor General's Award, the Edgar Award, the Chalmers Award, the Canadian Author's Association Award three times, he is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France. And he writes beautiful, lovingly crafted books that -- no matter what story he chooses to share with us -- are a delight to read.
Despite minor quibbles -- I would have preferred the brilliant psychiatrist and his wife to have been wholly fictional, even if based on the Jungs -- Pilgrim is an important work. Wholly engaging, wholly original. Wholly Findley. | September 1999
MONICA STARK is a Vancouver-based freelance writer and editor.
Read more about Timothy Findley.