To Scatter Stones


189 pages
ISBN 0-921556-23-3
DDC C813'.54






Reviewed by R. Gordon Moyles

R.G. Moyles is a professor of English at the University of Alberta.


If I read Ecclesiastes correctly, the title of this novel could just as
appropriately have been To Gather Stones, for though there is much
scattering (challenging and uprooting of tradition), there is also much
gathering (building of inner strength and self-determination).

Tess Corrigan, one of the women so brilliantly brought to life in
Dohaney’s first novel, The Corrigan Women, has now returned to her
native Newfoundland, where she somewhat reluctantly enters politics as a
Liberal candidate—the first female (“petticoat candidate”) to do
so—in the Cove where she grew up. Against powerful odds—the
overwhelmingly Tory complexion of her riding and the narrow-mindedness
of her own party workers (“everything is wrong with running a
woman”)—she wins the election and, in the process, frees herself
from the past, shares unselfish love, and emerges scathed but knowing
that the wounds will heal.

Summed up like that, the novel may seem somewhat Harlequinish: it is
not. The plot is certainly less complex than that of The Corrigan Women,
and the narrative structure is not as internalized, but the same
emotional intensity and integrity govern relationships, and there is
perhaps a greater sense of place than in the first novel. The people of
the Cove are not merely antagonists but take on individualities that
make us consider the fact that they, like Tess Corrigan, are as subject
to their environment (social and geographical) as she is. And like her,
they too have stories that might be the subjects of whole novels. I’m
sure Dohaney is aware of this, and that we will meet the Corrigans


Dohaney, M.T., “To Scatter Stones,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 15, 2024,