They Shall Inherit the Earth

by Morley Callaghan | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: Global Overview for this book
Registered by winggypsysmomwing of Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on 5/3/2009
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by winggypsysmomwing from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Sunday, May 03, 2009
The Children's Hospital Foundation had their annual book sale this past week. Not needing any books to add to my TBR list I stayed away but then yesterday I had to go to St. Vital Mall for another reason and I had to check at least a few tables. The first table I came to was Canadiana and I never got any further. I found 11 books and paid only $10 so it wasn't an expensive indulgence. This was one of the books.

It is No. 33 in McClelland and Stewart's New Canadian Library.

Journal Entry 2 by winggypsysmomwing at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Friday, June 15, 2012
This is the first book by Morley Callaghan that I have read. I know he is considered one of the foremost writers in the first half of the twentieth century. After all he hobnobbed with the likes of Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and Gertrude Stein when he lived in Paris. I have to say, though, that I didn't find this book a work of genius. It was an interesting story but I felt the characters were rather clinically assessed, not made to live and breathe by the author.

NOTE: Spoilers follow
The story in brief is that Michael Aikenhead, son of an advertising executive, is an engineer but since it is the depression of the 1930's he has been unable to find a job. His father invites him for a holiday to the family country home and he goes even though he has been estranged from his family since his father remarried. His sister and her fiance are there as well as the son of his father's second wife. This son, Dave Choate, has continued to live with the Aikenheads even though he is an adult. He has no job but expects Mr. Aikenhead to support him and bail him out when he gets in trouble. Naturally this leads to a certain amount of strife between the stepson and stepfather. Dave is in love with the Aikenhead daughter, Sheila. At the country home he tells Sheila that her mother went crazy before her death and she shouldn't get married to anyone but him who understands this and is willing to risk it. Sheila is devastated and talks to her brother who agrees to tell Dave to leave Sheila alone. Late one night Dave and Michael talk while rowing around the lake. Dave refuses to give Sheila up and when Michael won't return to the dock until he does so Dave jumps off the boat and strikes out for shore. He drowns and, since no-one knew Michael had been out with him, blame is placed on Mr. Aikenhead. This unofficial judgment has long term consequences for Mr. Aikenhead. His second wife leaves him, his partner buys him out of the ad firm, his friends shun him and he loses almost everything material. Michael feels guilty but he thinks his father is really to blame for bringing the second wife and her son onto the scene. Then Michael falls in love, marries and becomes a father himself. He changes and cannot live with the knowledge that he has caused his father's downfall. He goes to see his father to ask for forgiveness and then decides to go to the police. His father is touched by the request and asks him not to go to the police. It seems, at the end, like Mr. Aikenhead may be accepted into Michael's new family which will give him a purpose in life.

I told a friend that I found this book too intellectual for my tastes. She hadn't read this book but she has read other books by Callaghan and she encouraged me to give him another try. So, maybe I will pick up another in the future.

This is my eleventh read for John Mutford's reading challenge. I'll reserve it for the 2012 Canada Days release challenge.

Released 8 yrs ago (7/1/2012 UTC) at Lake Audy Campground in Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba Canada


I left this book on top of a post near the picnic area. This release is for the 2012 Canada Days release challenge.

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