22 October 2019

Let the Margaret Murray Robertson Revival Begin!

Christie Redfern’s Troubles
by the author of “Mark Wedgewood’s Wooing,” etc. [Margaret Murray Robertson]
London: The Religious Tract Society, [c. 1866]
384 pages

Christie Redfern’s troubles are so many that they spill over into her backstory. Poor girl, she began life as the fourth child of a Scottish businessman and his loving, fertile wife. Mrs Redfern died, but not before giving birth to four more children. The role of family matriarch was then taken up by Mr Redfern’s stern spinster sister Elsie, but the aunt’s firm, yet helpful hand was not enough to prevent the decline of Mr Redfern’s enterprise. What was that enterprise? Doesn’t matter. What’s important is that it failed, causing Mr Redfern to move the family to the New World and a farm in Canada West’s Glengarry County. That Mr Redfern knew little about agriculture suggests something about his failure as a businessman. To make matters worse:
Soon after their arrival in their new home, Aunt Elsie was seized with an illness which lingered long, and left her a cripple when it went away; and her temper was not of the kind which suffering and helplessness are said sometimes to improve. It was a trying time to all.
No doubt.

So begins my latest Dusty Bookcase review for Canadian Notes & Queries. The issue in which it appears – number 105 – arrived in yesterday's post. I poured over it last night, between peeks at election coverage.

"Grand Theft Bibio," Michael Melgaard's excellent piece on book thieves, was the first to distract my troubled mind.

Ray Fawkes' adaptation of Pattern Recognition by William Gibson was a visual feast.

I couldn't have agreed more with Rod Moody-Corbett's essay on Saul Bellow.

All, as always, is wrapped in covers by Seth. Lord knows, this snap doesn't do it justice.

I ask you, how many magazines have French flaps?

Other contributors include:
Jeremiah Bartram
Jeff Bursey
Andreae Callanan
Paige Cooper
Candace de Taeye
Emily Donaldson
Deborah Dundas
Carey Fagan
Stephen Fowler
Alex Good
Brett Josef Grubisic
David Huebert
David Mason
Edward O'Connor
Rudrapriya Rathore
Yusuf Saadi
Nathan Whitlock
the late David Helwig
Christie Redfern's Troubles is just about the most depressing thing I've ever read.

Does that not make it a novel for our time?

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