NCL 29 – Swamp Angel by Ethel Wilson


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Swamp Angel by Ethel Wilson (New Canadian Library N29)Series One

From the Back Cover:

Swamp Angel was the fourth od Ethel Wilson’s novels to be published. In this book we are introduced to the central character, Maggie Vardoe, at a point when, having made an unfortunate second marriage, she is striking out to make a life of her own. We also meet Mrs. Severance, a lazy, self-indulgent old woman whose happiest memories are of her days as a female juggler; the lonely withdrawn Hilda Severance; and the neurotically jealous Vera Gunnarsen. These are some of the characters who move through this powerful yet quiet, symbolic novel, by one of Canada’s foremost living writers.


Swamp Angel by Ethel Wilson (New Canadian Library N29)

Series Two

From the Back Cover:

Maggie Vardoe, the central character in Swamp Angel, is a woman of exceptional character and charm. We are introduced to her at a point when, after having made an unfortunate second marriage, she is striking out to discover a new life for herself. We also meet Mrs. Severance, a colourful self-indulgent old woman, whose happiest memories are of her days as a female juggler; the lonely, withdrawn Hilda Severance; and the neurotically jealous Vera Gunnarsen. These are just some of characters who move through this powerful and richly symbolic novel by one of Canada’s foremost writers. [Ethel Wilson]


Swamp Angel by Ethel Wilson (New Canadian Library N29)Series Three

From the Back Cover:

Compassionate and generous-spirited, this novel is often considered to be Ethel Wilson’s finest work.

Trying to find some certainty in a world that has just deprived her of all her family, Maggie Lloyd moves hopefully into a second marriage–and soon realizes that she has made a terrible mistake. The only thing she can depend on from her new husband is pettiness–and one spring evening she walks out, leaving him and her old life behind her forever.

Maggie thinks she has found the peace she needs when she gets a job as a cook at a fishing lodge. But neither independence nor the healing, natural environment is protection against further pain. As the jealousy of the lodge-owner’s wife threatens to destroy Maggie’s new world, she must struggle to discover yet another source of strength.

The title of the books refers to the name of a gun; the one remaining revolver which wise and sprightly Nell Severance retains from her useful days as a circus gun-juggler. It is Nell who helps Maggie learn reconciliation–and it is the Swamp Angel which ultimately becomes a symbol of the ambivalence of life and of the acceptance with which that ambivalence must be faced. [Ethel Wilson]


Swamp Angel by Ethel Wilson (New Canadian Library) front coverSeries Four

From the Back Cover:

Walking out on a demoralizing second marriage, Maggie Lloyd leaves Vancouver to work at a fishing lodge in the interior of British Columbia. But the serenity of Maggie’s new surroundings is soon disturbed by the irrational jealousy of the lodge-keeper’s wife. Restoring her own broken spirit, Maggie must also become a healer to others. In this she is supported by her eccentric friend, Nell Severance, whose pearl-handled revolver – the Swamp Anger – becomes Maggie’s ambiguous talisman and the novel’s symbolic core.

Ethel Wilson’s best-loved novel, SWAMP ANGEL, first appeared in 1954. It remains an astute and powerful study of one woman’s integrity and of the redemptive power of compassion.


Swamp Angel by Ethel Wilson (New Canadian Library) front coverSeries Five

From the Back Cover:

Walking out on a demoralizing second marriage, Maggie Lloyd leaves Vancouver to work at a fishing lodge in the interior of British Columbia. But the serenity of Maggie’s new surroundings is soon disturbed by the irrational jealousy of the lodge-keeper’s wife. Restoring her own broken spirit, Maggie must also become a healer to others. In this she is supported by her eccentric friend, Nell Severance, whose pearl-handled revolver – the Swamp Anger – becomes Maggie’s ambiguous talisman and the novel’s symbolic core.

Ethel Wilson’s best-loved novel, Swamp Angel, first appeared in 1954. It remains an astute and powerful study of one woman’s integrity and of the redemptive power of compassion.


Swamp Angel by Ethel Wilson (New Canadian Library) front coverSeries Six

From the Back Cover:

Walking out on a demoralizing second marriage, Maggie Lloyd leaves Vancouver to work at a fishing lodge in the interior of British Columbia. But the serenity of Maggie’s new surroundings is soon disturbed by the irrational jealousy of the lodge-keeper’s wife. Restoring her own broken spirit, Maggie must also become a healer to others. In this she is supported by her eccentric friend, Nell Severance, whose pearl-handled revolver – the Swamp Anger – becomes Maggie’s ambiguous talisman and the novel’s symbolic core.

Ethel Wilson’s best-loved novel, Swamp Angel, first appeared in 1954. It remains an astute and powerful study of one woman’s integrity and of the redemptive power of compassion.

Ethel Wilson loved the physicality of British Columbia, and used her great sentences to make it brightly visible.” – George Bowering


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