The Stubborn Season

The Stubborn Season

Book - 2002
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Where does one person end and the other begin? That's the question that haunts Irene, a girl growing up in Toronto during the Great Depression. Living with her father, a pharmacist who finds comfort in the bottle, and her mother, a woman teetering on the edge of her own depression, Irene's crumbling family situation mirrors the economic and social turmoil just beyond the front door of their respectable, working class neighborhood.As she grows into a young woman, Irene finds herself consumed by her mother's increasingly erratic moods and isolated from a world where unemployment, poverty and bigotry have taken firm root in the water-starved soil of town and country. Yet in the midst of lives that seem lost, Irene finds strength in the unlikely form of David, a young man from the Jewish farming community of Sonnerfeld, Alberta, who is fighting his own battle for dignity, hope and a place in the world.

The Stubborn Season is an utterly compelling first novel, peopled with vivid characters and set against an era that emanates magically from every page. This is a story alive with the claustrophobic darkness of a Victorian row house; the icy loneliness of life riding the rails as a "box car cowboy"; the languid feel of a steamy Sunday afternoon when respectable people closed their stores, and their lives, against intrusion; and the stench of fear in a jail cell packed with communist agitators desperate to change a broken system. It is a story that is hard to put down, intimate in its knowledge of human struggles and strengths, wonderfully written, and altogether satisfying.
Publisher: Toronto : HarperPerennial, ©2002.
Edition: 1st paperback edition.
ISBN: 9780006391869
Characteristics: 341 pages ;,21 cm


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Jun 22, 2019


Jul 23, 2015

Very intriguing book. The story was set mainly in Toronto so it was great to imagine what certain areas would have looked like during the depression.

Sep 09, 2014

A great snapshot of conditions during the Great Depression in Canada. The majority of the story takes place in Toronto in the 30's and there are lots of references to specific neighbourhoods and communities. A well researched and enjoyable story.

Jul 25, 2014

An interesting story set in the 1930's with great character development. Margaret was tedious to read about at times, but overall I enjoyed this book and Irene's journey.

Feb 06, 2012

This story was based in 30s mainly in Toronto, where Irene is growing up with a mother, Margaret, who has some form of mental illness and a father, Douglas, who becoming a heavier drinker each day. Irene struggles to breathe while living at home with her mother's condition and distance from her father, with tension between her parents. All the while, David leaves his family's farm in Saskatchewan to ensure survival of his dad and brothers. Follow these two on their life's journey, see what they can do to help each other and what hope lies for them in the future.

Catharine A. Bushe
Sep 13, 2011

Wonderful read.

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