An Audience of Chairs by Joan Clark

An Audience of Chairs

byJoan Clark

Kobo ebook | February 12, 2010

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Joan Clark’s An Audience of Chairs opens with Moranna MacKenzie living alone in her ancestral Cape Breton farmhouse, waging a war with the symptoms of bipolar disorder and grieving the loss of her two daughters, taken from her over thirty years previously. There are few people remaining in her life, as Moranna cannot help but tax the patience of nearly everyone she encounters. Her long-suffering brother Murdoch has her best interests at heart, though he is fatigued by her enormous needs and pressured by his ambitious wife to invest less time in her. Pastor Andy politely sloughs off the peculiarly intelligent yet unpalatable sermons Moranna pens for him. Her neighbour Lottie knows what it is to be an eccentric and can be counted on to come through in a pinch. The local RCMP constabulary smooths over her legal scrapes. And her lover Bun, who lives with her when not working on the ferries between Cape Breton and Newfoundland, knows how to give her a wide berth on her “foul weather” days. Thanks to the assistance of these sometimes reluctant guardian angels, as well as to the carefully planned inheritance left by her father (not to mention her own sheer ingenuity), Moranna has managed to get by all these years despite small-town gossips and tormenting youths.

Through a series of flashbacks, we learn more about the devastating effects of Moranna’ s mental illness on her life and that of her family. But An Audience of Chairs also gives us a glimpse into the mind of a true iconoclast and wild spirit, who has managed despite overwhelming odds to keep hope alive.

Of An Audience of Chairs, Quill and Quire said: “Elegantly written and deeply grounded in place, this moving, compassionate novel is far more than a story of mental illness. Moranna’s quest is for peace, joy, and connection–the same yearnings that drive us all.”

Title:An Audience of ChairsFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:February 12, 2010Publisher:Knopf CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307375366

ISBN - 13:9780307375360

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Delusion to reality A riveting exploration of madness. Moranna is frustrating, hilarious and brave. A real wild child. Her quest to rid heself of her demons makes for a facinating read. And a great ending
Date published: 2015-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Once in a Very Long Time Once in a very long time comes a book that penetrates our consciousness - Moranna MacKenzie lives in her crumbling ancestral farmhouse on Cape Breton Island. Plagued with mental illness Moranna has woven her way through the pitfalls of losing her two daughters thirty years ago and stitched together an existence that works for both her and her lover "Bun" --a solitary man--that works the ferry from Cape Breton to Newfoundland for part of the year and then lives with Moranns the other part. For years Moranna's days have consisted of playing her soundless piano board to An Audience of Chairs , living with her memories, and carving her Scottish ancestors out of wood to sell to the tourists. Though the locals from the small village refer to her as "Mad Mory" there is still an acceptance from them toward Moranna. After no contact from her daughters in over 30 years Moranna discovers that her older daughter is to be married in Halifax. Moranna is determined to be there but will her daughters recognize her, and what will happen if they do? But, most importantly will this be too much for Moranna and the sheltered life she has created? Author Joan Clark is a master at the straight forward crisp and often lyrical word. An Audience of Chairs is told in both present tense and through the memories of the protagonist Moranna. Though soul cutting at times, the author writes in such a way that the story is filled with both sadness and humour. Definately not an action packed book but a superb bitter sweet journey through the eyes of a spirited woman. Author Joan Clark was born and raised inLiverpool and Sidney Mines, Nova Scotia, and has lived for the past twenty years in St. John's Newfoundland. She is the author of four novels as well as a couple short stories and several novels for young adults. I feel this author is sadly one of Canada's hidden Gems.
Date published: 2012-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Canadian gem! This novel was recommended to me by one of my cousins. As children, we spent every summer in Baddeck and Middle River in Cape Breton so the thrill for us was reading about places in town that we know and have frequented. In addition to the familiar geographical setting, this book was a pleasure to read. Moranna is such a memorable character and, as a reader, I felt such sympathy for her as her life unravelled. This is an unforgettable story about love, the ties that bind and finally, redemption. I will be recommending this book to my friends, family and fellow book club members. I look forward to reading more of Joan Clark's work.
Date published: 2010-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stunning and Beautiful I had the opportunity to meet Joan Clark one fine day in the book store, and she was so lovely I made it a point to read one of her books. Well! How surprised was I to discover that this much praised novel was eloquent, well written, mysterious, and thought provoking. Joan Clark has painted a picture of a troubled woman with such a great deal of empathy, that even at the heights of Moranna's madness, we feel for her. We never look down on her , though sometimes we are appalled at her actions. This is a well told tale that deserves to be read!
Date published: 2008-01-26