A JEST OF GOD by Margaret Laurence


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The tale of the dutiful daughter who returned home to care for her ailing widowed mother records with appalling accuracy the life of a thirty-four year old spinster schoolmarm, in a small town outside of Winnipeg. The relentless confinement of Rachel Cameron's life is disrupted the summer the milkman's son, now a teacher in a Winnipeg high school, returns to visit his parents. Rachel is an easy mark; her affair with Nick brings out passion after awkwardness, and the yearning for a family of her own. The understanding that Nick is married destroys the affair but not her longing, and when she thinks she is bearing his child she determines to go through with her pregnancy. The prospective infant turns out to be a tumor, benign; Nick turns out to be unmarried and the more inaccessible; but Rachel emerges from her experience with a new conception of herself and her environment. She will no longer be a victim, though she may be a reluctant jester, and she makes the needed move to a place where her old responsibilities and limitations will remain but where there will be a greater freedom. Saved from soap opera by an utter sureness and honesty of vision, from dreariness by the aptitude of its portrayals, this carries a compassionate conviction that will reach a limited but sensitive feminine readership.

Pub Date: Aug. 22nd, 1966
ISBN: 0226469522
Publisher: Knopf