The Stone Carvers
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In 1867 a good-natured Bavarian priest, is sent by God and mad King Ludwig to the wilds of North America. Soon the backwoods are transformed into a parish and the settlers into a congregation, and Joseph Becker, a woodcarver, meets his future wife. Several decades later, Joseph Becker teaches his astounding carving skills to his grandchildren. One of them, Klara, shows exceptional talent and has a surfeit of what the local nuns call "a fondness for men's work." Untamed, she falls in love with an Irish boy, Eamon O'Sullivan, only to have him leave to fight in the Great War . . .
he had participated until he was wounded out. It was being fought on all levels, he told her, under the ground, on the surface, and in the air. It was the craziest thing, he said, pure bedlam. And the casualties were huge, overwhelming, though in the end the Canadians had taken the ridge. Afterwards hardly anyone who had participated and survived could remember anything about it, except chaos. “Which battle was it?” Klara wanted to know. “Vimy,” said her brother. “Vimy Ridge.” When Tilman
pleased to have almost completed the garment that lay draped across her lap, the arms hanging languidly down from the edge of the table. People up and die, she thought, they up and die before they have their fill of the impossible. Her grandfather had died before Tilman’s much-longed-for return. Father Gstir had died before the bell for his illogical church was blessed. Eamon, without ever laying a hand on a military aircraft. They all had approached their desires naked, simple and glowing,
now. “A long time ago. But I did it all wrong. I said things, things I was never able to take back. And now he hasn’t even a grave. This Vimy seemed so … I’ve been foolish, I suppose.” “Not foolish,” said Tilman. “You had a love, is all. I’ve never had a love … don’t suppose any woman would have an old one-legged ‘bo like me anyways.” Klara didn’t respond. After a few moments she rose to her feet and said, “I’m going to lie down. There’s soup on the stove if you want something to eat.” She felt
colour, and more interest in pencil and charcoal when the opportunity to sample paint was given to him. His father, a carpenter, taught him the mechanics of wood construction: the care and use of tools, the importance of measurement, plumb bobs, and spirit levels. Indeed, some of his earliest memories concerned the trapped, quivering bubble of the latter instrument. He might have become a carpenter like his father, but his need, his desire, to control what should be built (and what should not)
without the hat. They were alone in the Quonset hut, but Tilman was at first concerned that, because of the activity outside the walls, they might be discovered. “Why this?” he asked his friend. The large bulk of Recouvrir was silhouetted against the open window near the foot of the bed on which Tilman lay. The chef moved to one side to allow Tilman to look out at the world filled with singing birds and a multitude of trees in full leaf. He gestured toward the verdant, musical landscape that held