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The Shining Fragments
Guernica Editions, Fall 2018
290 pages
Trade Paperback
ISBN13: 9781771832663
ISBN10: 1771832665
$25.00 Canada, $25.00 US

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The Shining Fragments is a family saga about the Irish in Canada that explores the ramifications of abandonment, obsession, love, memory, and visionary power. Spanning the years 1882-1904, it follows Joseph Conlon from his early childhood in Ulster to his experiences of youth and adulthood as an immigrant. Left behind as a small boy on a Toronto train-station platform like so much forgotten luggage, Joseph grows up in a city bleak with bigotry. He discovers that he has artistic talent and becomes a designer of stained-glass windows. He is haunted by the spirit of his unborn sister, Annie, and the powerful and often conflicting influences of the women in his life. In the end Joseph must come to terms on the same ground where he was abandoned as a child.
The boy waited alone on a cold bench beneath a sign's gold letters. People checked the posters nailed on wood, dragged cases across cobble, and called to one another, waving. The day went down; still the boy sat. He'd stopped speaking hours ago. The boy's trousers were damp with urine, his face and fingers filthy; he pulled a primary-school speller from his sack and stared at pictures until the book became a pillow. On the bench in Union Station, eight-year-old Joseph Conlon curled as if to sleep, though he knew he wouldn't. “Annie,” he whispered. “Please come back.”

Books by Robin Blackburn McBride

The Shining Fragments