Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Winter Vault-Anne Michaels

The Winter Vault
Anne Michaels
Knopf, Apr 21 2009, $25.00
ISBN: 9780307270825

Avery and Jean met near the St. Lawrence River. The engineer and botanist are attracted to one another, fall in love and marry. In 1964 he is assigned as part of a team dismantling, relocating, and reconstructing the Great Temple. Traumatized with the loss of their child that leaves both heartbroken, their relationship becomes a victim too as they go back to Toronto separately.

Avery returns to school as an architectural student and Jean meets Polish artist Lucjan, a Polish immigrant. However, Lucjan proves errant when it comes to relationships; as if he is unable to relax perhaps from his time in Warsaw when the Red Army more than just threatened everyone. Jean has her baggage too as she has not forgotten Avery and their history together that included two watery destructions of the past.

This is a profound tale that looks deep into the debate between historical heritage and modern day progress as Avery and Jean participate in the development of two watery graveyards that on the one hand provided great economic growth to the respective regions. The story line is character driven with the action somewhat muted to the support role as THE WINTER VAULT is more cerebrally poetically passive than active.

Harriet Klausner

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