Two Solitudes (New Canadian Library) - Robert Kroetsch, Hugh MacLennan

Considered to be a Canadian classic, Hugh MacLennan’s novel, Two Solitudes, deals with a historic view of Québec’s journey as a French speaking people deeply rooted in the Catholic religion and surrounded by a Protestant English speaking majority. The two solitudes reference is not restricted to a language dichotomy between the French and the English, but the story also presents the division between Catholics and Protestants, between the rich and the poor, between an arranged marriage and one based on love, between creativity and the status quo.

MacLennan’s wordy character and physical descriptions go in hand in hand with the era it was written, which in our modern standards appear a little overdone, but the characters themselves are memorable. The actual story style seems to be divided after Athanase Tallard’s death presenting still another solitude, this time being between father and son—the old and the young, the modern and the traditional.

Certainly an interesting and revealing view of the historic realities of war time Québec.