I have not re-read any of these books in the past 16 years, but The Diviners has been on my "to be re-read" list for a while and I finally picked it up this week. And I am glad that I did! Looking back at my 17-year-old self, I'm sure that lots of this book (and probably the others in the series) went right over my head, but I thoroughly enjoyed this re-read.
How to summarize this book in a paragraph? Now there is a challenge. Morag Gunn is born in small-town Manitoba; loses her parents at a young age; is brought up by the town scavenger (garbage collector) and his dim wife; goes to university in Winnipeg vowing to escape the life she has grown up in; marries her professor; becomes a writer; leaves her husband; has a baby with a childhood friend/lover; raises the baby on her own in Vancouver, London (England), and finally McConnell's Landing (rural southern Ontario). It is her search to find herself - where she has come from and where she wants to go.
I found myself really relating to Morag on this re-reading. Loved in her own family but socially awkward outside of home; moving from place to place in search of "home"; introverted and living inside her head. There is a great scene where Morag learns to cry in front of others - that was also a difficult lesson for me to learn. And a time where her daughter tells her, "You're so goddamn proud and so scared of being rejected," that hit home for me as well.
I went looking for an image of the cover of the edition that I was reading (Banatam, 1975 - Mum must have bought it when it first came out in paperback), but couldn't find it. But along the way, I learned a bit about Margaret Laurence, and discovered that a lot of this book was autobiographical - born in small-town Manitoba; loss of parents when young; early writing career; worked at a newspaper; university in Winnipeg; married then separated from her husband; living in Vancouver, England, Toronto, and rural southern Ontario. There is even an element of the predictive in this book as Jules, Morag's sometimes-lover, commits suicide when he has terminal cancer - Margaret Laurence did the same in 1987.
So a good book, yes; but I don't know if that will inspire me to go back and re-read the rest of the series!