Saturday, March 31, 2007

Newfoundland Railway Wake Sale: 40% off Donovan's Station by Robin McGrath


This weekend is the 58th anniversary of the last run of the Newfoundland Railway. Newfoundland became the 10th province of Canada at midnight on March 31, 1949, and at that time the Newfoundland Railway ceased to exist. By April 1, the trains running through Riverhead and Gaff Topsails were part of the Canadian National Railway.

The passing of the Newfoundland Railway may have been in name only, but there are few people who don't remember the Railway with pride and sadness. The Railway was a major achievement for a small nation such as Newfoundland, and it was part of our national identity for decades.

To remember this celebrated part of our heritage, Rattling Books is holding a Wake Sale. From now until midnight on Monday, April 2, 2007, you can save 40% on the audio edition of Robin McGrath's captivating novel Donovan's Station.

Set in Newfoundland throughout the early twentieth century, Donovan's Station perfectly recreates the time when the Newfoundland Railway was at its height.

The sound of the train is so soothing in the evenings. I never guessed when they first put the tracks through that I could feel that way about it. Mr. Reid used to say that before the railway came, travel meant coaxing a jaded nag over the bogs and barrens or tossing about in a fog in a stinking jackboat, with as good a chance of drowning as of reaching your destination. I suppose a great many people agreed with him, which is why they turned out in such numbers for that first run. I know that for the fishermen, who had no work betwen September and Christmas, the work on the railbed was very welcome.
- Donovan's Station by Robin McGrath
"Eighty-four years is time enough for one life," Keziah Donovan muses as she waits for death to re-unite her with her "own sweet man". Stricken down by a paralytic stroke, Keziah's body is immobile but her mind is on a journey through a life that spans two centuries. Carried along by her rich inner narrative, the reader travels through the disease, labour, and progress of tumultuous times and the equally turbulent events of personal history - births, marriages, deaths, and mysteries.Set in rural and urban Newfoundland, this novel is alive with its landscape and language. In Keziah Donovan, award-winning writer Robin McGrath has created an unforgettable story-teller with a voice so authentic and distinctive that it compels the reader to sit and listen, and rings in the ear long after the book is put down.

Read by the following (in order of duration):
Janis Spence as Keziah Donovan
Andy Jones as Father Roche
Elizabeth Pickard as Elizabeth (Lizzie)
Merrill Francis as Dermot

Reviews:

Mesmerizing...Keziah Donovan should take her rightful place beside [Hagar Shipley and Mary Bundle]. - Jodi DeLong, Halifax Herald

Janis Spence, the main narrator, gives both a wistful quality as Keziah Donovan looks back on her life from her deathbed. Other readers portray supporting characters as they write letters or diary entries. These narrators sound as if they're talking to themselves while they write, with pen scratches in the background. The whole cast gives a quietly human performance.
- AudioFile Magazine

Donovan's Station by Robin McGrath was shortlisted for the Caribbean & Canada Region of the Commonwealth Writers Prize 2003.

Listen to a clip from the unabridged audio edition of Donovan's Station narrated by Janis Spence.