The Stone Angel

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The Stone Angel

by Margaret Laurence

McClelland & Stewart | March 2, 2004 | Trade Paperback

The Stone Angel is rated 4 out of 5 by 21.
The film adaptation of Margaret Laurence''s The Stone Angel, starring acclaimed actresses Ellen Burstyn and Ellen Page, and introducing Christine Horne, opens in theatres May 9, 2008.

This special fortieth-anniversary edition of Margaret Laurence’s most celebrated novel will introduce readers again to one of the most memorable characters in Canadian fiction. Hagar Shipley is stubborn, querulous, self-reliant, and, at ninety, with her life nearly behind her, she makes a bold last step towards freedom and independence.

As her story unfolds, we are drawn into her past. We meet Hagar as a young girl growing up in a black prairie town; as the wife of a virile but unsuccessful farmer with whom her marriage was stormy; as a mother who dominates her younger son; and, finally, as an old woman isolated by an uncompromising pride and by the stern virtues she has inherited from her pioneer ancestors.

Vivid, evocative, moving, The Stone Angel celebrates the triumph of the spirit, and reveals Margaret Laurence at the height of her powers as a writer of extraordinary craft and profound insight into the workings of the human heart.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 344 pages, 7.97 × 5.17 × 0.87 in

Published: March 2, 2004

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0771047088

ISBN - 13: 9780771047084

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Pretty good message Not one of my favorite books to read, but it is written very beautifully with a great message. I recommend it to people who have ever dealt with a family member in their old age who are suffering in any sort of way.
Date published: 2011-04-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Hagar is a B!tch, but it's not her fault. Margaret Laurence gives a big shout out to psychology and sociology in this book, but doesn't give the art of story telling as much of a nod as she does to the sciences. It took a long time for me to get through this small book. It did get me to realize one of my biggest fears: reflecting on my life when I'm old and finally realizing all my mistakes and their effects on me and others.
Date published: 2010-05-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Lasting Tedious to read ~ very detailed... but a book that I have not forgotten since reading it in highschool... have recently picked it back up and reread it. There's a little Hagar Shipley in all of us. This one will stick with you long after you've read it. Classic.
Date published: 2009-08-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Stone Cold Boring I really disliked this novel. I may not have been in the right mood but I would not recommend this novel to anyone. It’s a hard read to get through (and I've read 900 page novels). I couldn't relate to the main character and had no sympathy for the main character.
Date published: 2009-06-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Great Read! I just finished this book and really liked it. Margaret Laurence truly brought the character Hagar to life. At first, just a cantankerous old woman and then as you progress through the book, I actually liked her! Heartfelt, humorous and enlightening.
Date published: 2008-08-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Truly A Canadian Classic! Utterly Amazing! There are some books that people tell you are life changing, beautiful and heart felt. This is not one of those books. The Stone Angel is one of the most heart-wrenching and totally cantankerous books I have ever read. The heroine Hagar Shipley is incredibly unlikeable and is proud of it. In her memoirs, she transports you to rural Canada, on a ranch so out of time and place with the world that the entire earth is encompassed by the farmhouse and its oilcloth table. This novel is perhaps best at creating a sense of age, of oldness. Hagar has lived for almost a century and has remained relatively unchanged throughout the generations. Truly an amazing novel and a must read for anyone who considers themselves a Canadian.
Date published: 2008-07-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The greatest Canadian novel ever written The Stone Angel by Margret Lawerance is my favourite book just for the simple fact that after I read it, it lingered in my mind for days and days. A story of a old woman how she reflects on her life of sin and death. It's theme talks of how as people, we want to have honour and respect in our community, even when we don't deserve it. Also that we do not hold the right to tell someone what they can and cannot do and just because someone lives like a hobo doesn't give us a right to crush them and control their lives. An excellent book for discussion groups, school reading, anything. Arguably the greatest Canadian novel, with its contender more than likely being Life Of Pi by Yann Martel, but this novel offers something that everyone can relate too. Not the best novel I have ever read, but my favourite (along with Lord Jim by Joesph Conrad and The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald).
Date published: 2005-12-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from reread with a twist this book should be read with attention paid to the biblical allusions so that the reader can better understand the depth that margret laurence has given to the hagar character. when her relationship to bram is compared to the biblical relationship of abraham, sarah, and hagar, one can see how there is a depth to the novel that is unappreciated. there are more than a dozen allusions in this book that add to the flavour of the mix and are emotive of the author's excellent style of writing that carries the reader through emotions with the characters.
Date published: 2005-10-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Worth Reading! I took an English class when I was in high school, anticipating that it was another boring book I was not looking forward to reading it. Nonetheless I read it and I was surprised how this story made me feel. It is worth the read, and one you will want to read time and time again.
Date published: 2002-06-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Interesting Read Although today most would not be interested in reading about a 90-year old woman's struggles with walking and unsuppressed flatulence, this story is still very gripping, interesting and emotional. We are taken through the long life of Hagar Currie Shipley, her trials and tribulations throughout her childhood, when she was a teenager and then becoming a mature woman. The main theme of this novel is regret, which Margaret Laurence makes apparent through the use of limited omniscient perspective. A very interesting read, but not for people looking for a lot of action or romance, instead looking for a story about a woman who has been through more in her life than many people combined.
Date published: 2001-01-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Stone Angel I read this book in school and at that time it was super analyzed. Even then I liked it! I have just read it again and found it to be extremely interesting! It's like reading a biograghy of a person while the events are happening. At times I could relate with character and at others I could think of someone similar! Great book!
Date published: 2000-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One to reflect on An insightful reflection of a life lived, from the perspective of central character Hagar Shipley. The Stone Angel is a brilliantly written description of the events and emotions that a fictional average woman in the Canadian prairies endures through a life that unwinds in regret. Very real and extraordinarily inspirational, a "how-not-to ..." manual for living life.
Date published: 2000-10-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from good book It was a great book. I was asigned this book for a independant study. I really enjoyed the book but when it came to looking for reviews for other people i couln't find any. I was not impressed.
Date published: 1999-10-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great This book was a great book to read. I have to say I did read it in high school and hated it. But I have a feeling that I just hated it because I had to do homework on it. But after reading for the second time without homework, it was great. And has anybody else noticed the only people who didn't like the book were guys!
Date published: 1999-09-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Stone Angel What a wonderful book for those with a sense of strength and individualism. We follow a woman named Hagar Shipley from childhood to womanhood, and then to her demise. Throughout her life, she encounters many trials and tribulations that make our character the strong-willed woman that she is. A story about true human determination and strength.
Date published: 1999-06-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Truly Gifted Writer. This is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. If you read it expecting a typical story you will be sorely disappointed, but if you read it with an open mind and realize that it is one woman's life story and how she comes to terms with her past and her present you realize that this novel is very powerful. One of the truly amazing things is that Margaret Laurence wrote this novel when she was only in her early to mid 40's but you would swear the woman writing it had actually experienced old age. Definitely my favorite book.
Date published: 1999-06-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully written I first read The Stone Angel when I was in high school, years ago. I remember that out of all of the books that we had to read, I enjoyed it the most. I picked it up again recently to see if I still felt the same as I had back then. I wasn't dissappointed. It is truly one of the best written books I have ever read. You feel as if you are seeing things through Hagar Shipley's eyes. As an avid reader, I have come across only a few characters in literature to which I have had such a strong connection. Margaret Laurence's writing style is exquisite. She writes with such clean precision; no need for flowery words to enhance or convey the story. I suggest to anyone who picks up this book to read it slowly. Savour every word and Laurence's gift of sharing Hagar Shipley with us. This book is truly a gem!
Date published: 1999-05-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from This book is horrible! The single most boring book on earth. Guarenteed to put ANYONE to sleep! The author's not stop description of EVERYTHING drags the reader ever so slowly through a void. No plot, no characthers, difficult to understand what is going on. Horrible, horrible, boring, save your money and give it to charity instead.
Date published: 1999-05-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from This book sucks! This book sucks! Hagar Shipley is old and boring and we are dragged through her life. Hagara Shipley is the most miserable character you'll ever encounter. The biggest relief is when she dies in the end!
Date published: 1999-05-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stone Angel Laurence is considered one of the greatest Canadian novelists, and with this book it's easy to see why. Hagar Shipley is one of the most prideful, stubborn and egotistical characters around, and will definitely remind readers of someone they know (for me, my mother). Even though it was originally written in 1964, it isn't outdated at all. There's no bombs, CIA operatives or sexy romance in this novel, just one woman and all she has endured in her lifetime, and the family that has to deal with her in semi-senility. An excellent and absorbing read, despite the absence of a lot of action.
Date published: 1999-03-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Stone Angel Told from the point of view of an elderly lady, this novel allows you to experience life in old age. Margaret Laurence succeeds at clarifying the fear of growing old and dependent with her powerful female protagonist, written in a metaphorical and detailed manner. It is an aspect of life which is sometimes ignored and this novel does an outstanding job of forcing us to understand the reality and dignity of growing old.
Date published: 1998-12-14

– More About This Product –

The Stone Angel

by Margaret Laurence

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 344 pages, 7.97 × 5.17 × 0.87 in

Published: March 2, 2004

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0771047088

ISBN - 13: 9780771047084

Read from the Book

Above the town, on the hill brow, the stone angel used to stand. I wonder if she stands there yet, in memory of her who relinquished her feeble ghost as I gained my stubborn one, my mother’s angel that my father bought in pride to mark her bones and proclaim his dynasty, as he fancied, forever and a day. Summer and winter she viewed the town with sightless eyes. She was doubly blind, not only stone but unendowed with even a pretense of sight. Whoever carved her had left the eyeballs blank. It seemed strange to me that she should stand above the town, harking us all to heaven without knowing who we were at all. But I was too young then to know her purpose, although my father often told me she had been brought from Italy at a terrible expense and was pure white marble. I think now she must have been carved in that distant sun by stone masons who were the cynical descendants of Bernini, gouging out her like by the score, gauging with admirable accuracy the needs of fledgling pharaohs in an uncouth land. Her wings in winter were pitted by the snow and in summer by the blown grit. She was not the only angel in the Manawaka cemetery, but she was the first, the largest, and certainly the costliest. The others, as I recall, were a lesser breed entirely, petty angels, cherubim with pouting stone mouths, one holding aloft a stone heart, another strumming in eternal silence upon a small stone stringless harp, and yet another pointing with ecstatic leer to an inscription. I remembe
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From the Publisher

The film adaptation of Margaret Laurence''s The Stone Angel, starring acclaimed actresses Ellen Burstyn and Ellen Page, and introducing Christine Horne, opens in theatres May 9, 2008.

This special fortieth-anniversary edition of Margaret Laurence’s most celebrated novel will introduce readers again to one of the most memorable characters in Canadian fiction. Hagar Shipley is stubborn, querulous, self-reliant, and, at ninety, with her life nearly behind her, she makes a bold last step towards freedom and independence.

As her story unfolds, we are drawn into her past. We meet Hagar as a young girl growing up in a black prairie town; as the wife of a virile but unsuccessful farmer with whom her marriage was stormy; as a mother who dominates her younger son; and, finally, as an old woman isolated by an uncompromising pride and by the stern virtues she has inherited from her pioneer ancestors.

Vivid, evocative, moving, The Stone Angel celebrates the triumph of the spirit, and reveals Margaret Laurence at the height of her powers as a writer of extraordinary craft and profound insight into the workings of the human heart.

From the Jacket

"One of the most convincing – and the most touching – portraits of an unregenerate sinner."
—Time

About the Author

Margaret Laurence was born in Neepawa, Manitoba, in 1926. Upon graduation from Winnipeg’s United College in 1947, she took a job as a reporter for the Winnipeg Citizen.

From 1950 until 1957 Laurence lived in Africa, the first two years in Somalia, the next five in Ghana, where her husband, a civil engineer, was working. She translated Somali poetry and prose during this time, and began her career as a fiction writer with stories set in Africa.

When Laurence returned to Canada in 1957, she settled in Vancouver, where she devoted herself to fiction with a Ghanaian setting: in her first novel, This Side Jordan, and in her first collection of short fiction, The Tomorrow-Tamer. Her two years in Somalia were the subject of her memoir, The Prophet’s Camel Bell.

Separating from her husband in 1962, Laurence moved to England, which became her home for a decade, the time she devoted to the creation of five books about the fictional town of Manawaka, patterned after her birthplace, and its people: The Stone Angel, A Jest of God, The Fire-Dwellers, A Bird in the House, and The Diviners.

Laurence settled in Lakefield, Ontario, in 1974. She complemented her fiction with essays, book reviews, and four children’s books. Her many honours include two Governor General’s Awards for Fiction and more than a dozen honorary degrees.

Margaret Laurence died in Lakefield, Ontario, in 1987.


From the Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

"One of the most convincing – and the most touching – portraits of an unregenerate sinner."
—Time