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The Night Stages


After a tragic accident leaves Tamara alone on the most westerly tip of Ireland, she begins an affair with a charismatic meteorologist named Niall. It’s the 1950s, and Tamara has settled into civilian life after working as an auxiliary pilot in World War II. At first her romance is filled with passionate secrecy, but when Niall’s younger brother, Kieran, disappears after a bicycle race, Niall, unable to shake the idea that he may be to blame, slowly falls into despondency. Distraught and abandoned after their decade-long relationship, Tamara decides she has no option but to leave.

Jane Urquhart’s mesmerizing novel opens as Tamara makes her way from Ireland to New York. During a layover in Gander, Newfoundland, a fog moves in, grounding her plane and stranding her in front of the airport’s mural. As she gazes at the nutcracker-like children, missile-shaped birds, and fruit blossoms, she revisits the circumstances that brought her to Ireland and the family entanglement that has forced her into exile. Slowly she interweaves her life story with Kieran’s as she searches for the truth about Niall.

  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (July 2, 2015)
  • Length: 416 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781780747804

'Wise and psychologically astute'.

– The Tablet

'A skilful and sophisticated novel, enriched by Urquhart's gift for evoking landscape and by her precise, poetic prose'.

– The Sunday Times (Culture)

‘Urquhart's poetic, almost ethereal writing invites readers to revisit certain passages and marvel. This book about unquenchable longing is a lovely addition to her distinguished, award-filled oeuvre.’

– Library Journal

‘Jane Urquhart’s writing compellingly depicts the sense of place in human lives.’

– Alice Munro

'Urquhart writes forcefully; her imagery is vivid, and her evocation of time and place is accomplished and assured.'

– Times Literary Supplement

‘A rich, lush novel with much to mine … for its language alone, The Night Stages will quickly earn its place among Urquhart's other globally acclaimed and award-winning novels … The Night Stages is another tour de force by this exceptional author.’

– Toronto Star

'Jane Urqhuart charts the restless weather of the human heart in the same observant, inventive way the ancient Greeks mapped the constellations.'

– Washington Post

‘Thoughtful, multifaceted work … Urquhart-whose prose at times flows from the same hand that has written four volumes of poetry-reveals her characters slowly, placing them within or privy to smaller narratives, vignettes, anecdotes that are themselves small marvels of storytelling and serve the several themes of love's pain, family turmoil, and the elusive sense of home and place, especially in light of Ireland's immigrant history … Masterful.

– Kirkus Reviews

‘Urquhart has masterfully captured the thoughts of two damaged young men … a powerful, observant novel that builds quietly to a fever pitch.’

– Vancouver Sun

'‘By the time one finishes reading The Night Stages, all kinds of knowledge will have imperceptively crept up – knowledge about weather, flight and, most of all, the landscape of Ireland's gorgeous, rugged County Kerry … In Urquhart's hands, even the most troubled spaces contain the potential for redemption.'

– Winnipeg Free Press